Multi-Tasking to Get the Job Done (Conclusion)


(Image credit: Alissa Ausmann)

“A laundry/linen manager’s ‘to-do’ list is seemingly never-ending. How can busy laundry/linen managers keep track of the tasks they have to accomplish in a day, and what tools can help them?”

Equipment/Supply Distribution: Justin Oriel, Garment Machinery Co., Needham, Mass.:

Whether you are running a small business or running a laundry, the way you manage your day is critical to the overall success of the operation.

For starters, making sure you have the right personnel in place will make your day much better. Knowing that you have a team that you can count on and that supports the way you run your business is very important. Creating a work environment where everyone feels good will not only increase the morale in the company, it will also increase your employees’ productivity.

Managing the inventory and supplies that you need to conduct your business is also critical to the overall success of running the laundry room. You can do your part by making sure your team never runs out of supplies or products, and this will ensure the ship keeps moving in the right direction.

Set up contingency plans should the unexpected happen. Cover your bases, whether it be with personnel, inventory or other necessities that help run your operation. Basically, always have an option B and C just in case you need it.

Finally, keep your business well tuned and expect the unexpected. Proper planning will help you and your laundry quickly overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Healthcare Laundry: Michael Kirsch, CLLM, HCSC Laundry, Allentown, Pa.: 

In many professions, a person’s job is done when he can see the final results of his labors. The carpenter’s building project has a final ending, and the finished results are obvious and apparent. The same goes with a painter, and so on.

In the commercial laundry or linen business, our jobs never stop. While order fill rates and serving excellent linens for a client can be accomplished, just like our so-called “to-do” list, the work itself is never-ending. This list represents goals, rather than a finished product in the case of a carpenter or painter.

Managing a productive commercial laundry, OPL, or linen operation takes good leadership skills. Communication, motivation and overall team-building make all the difference. This all starts with creating and promoting strong ethics within your operation.

Whether you manage a large commercial laundry, smaller OPL or linen operation, how you treat the people within your own organization seems to end up being the way you treat your customers.

Managing our to-do list is a constant. Keeping good records and using production or usage data is the key to a well-managed laundry or linen operation. No one man or woman can singlehandedly manage a commercial laundry or linen operation.

A good manager creates a team of responsible individuals who are each accountable for his or her specific operational function. With responsibility comes trust, and that trust must be earned.

Delegating various management duties to those we trust is a necessary aspect of managing our lengthy to-do list. Using laundry and linen management software, data collection devices and usage software helps us to manage our output, usage and customer satisfaction. Excellent communication and use of such industry management tools is essential.

While your laundry or linen management team may be responsible for supplying a separate page in your management portfolio, making sure that everyone on your team is on the same page is the key to managing that never-ending to-do list.   

Commercial Laundry: Richard Warren, Linen King, Conway, Ark.: 

Focus is oftentimes hard to achieve. Managers will overbook their day and have trouble getting everything accomplished. The embarrassing thing is that you won’t remember what you forgot. All too often, it’s the small things that fall through the cracks.

Of course, the “to-do” list is very important, and you probably need one for each of your different roles. But even that can become burdensome, since soon you will need a list of lists so you won’t miss checking one of them.

The best thing is having good people who support you in your work, provided you can delegate to them. Believe it or not, there are tasks that someone else should be doing, and spend more time on, who will probably do a better job than you. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be trying to do it in the first place. You’re just messing it up. A manager should only do what others cannot do.

Managers are their own worst enemies. They will load themselves down with tasks that really aren’t important for them. Managers are not hired to fix equipment, drive trucks, run dryers, iron sheets, make reports, etc. Managers are hired to use their brains, and see that all those other things happen. That usually works better if the manager hires others to do that work.

Managers can easily become bogged down in the minutiae of trying to micro-manage. In reality, managers are the only ones who can fix their problems.

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Scott Delin, Fashion Seal Heathcare, a Brand of Superior Uniform Group, Seminole, Fla.:

In today’s business environment, many companies are downsizing in an effort to become leaner. This has a direct correlation with the ever-growing “to-do” list we are faced with on a daily basis—a list that always seems to get longer rather than shorter.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons the infamous “to-do” list gets longer is because we as managers at times have more piled on our plates than we can handle on any given day, due to pop-up issues and unexpected tasks that are part of the daily life of a laundry/linen manager.

Are you that manager who, during lunch, all of a sudden remembers those few tasks you forgot to deal with earlier, or others that need to be completed by end of business that day? In a panic not to forget to deal with them upon your return to the office, you grab a paper napkin or even tear off a piece of the paper placemat and frantically start to write reminders and hope and pray you don’t lose the scrap notes later in a pile of papers on your desk!

Years ago, before the technology boom, we would print or write our tasks on a legal pad or a document entitled our “to-do” list, or even multiple paper scraps throughout the day like the example above. Luckily for all of us, with the help of today’s technology, we are getting more organized and can reduce the stress level in our daily life as our “to-do” list can become smaller and condensed all in one place.

Thanks to smartphone and tablet technology, there are several free apps we can download on our devices that will make our “to-do” lists more manageable. One app I have found useful is called “Wunderlist.” With this app, I not only can list the tasks that need to be done, but I can also delegate or assign certain tasks to others who might be more qualified to handle them. Once these tasks are completed, I can check them off my electronic list. I have found that since I began using this app, I am more focused on the tasks at hand and getting more accomplished.

For those who, like me, spend their days on the move, you might consider a recorder app. Many smartphones have this built in; a fancier version (not free, however) is Smart Recorder. These are voice-recorder apps that allows you to make voice memos to yourself of items on your “to-do” list.

If you want to make your life easier and your to-do lists easier to handle, forget about writing reminders on the back of business cards, or on paper napkins or paper placements during lunch hour. Take advantage of today’s electronic technology and the apps that are offered, enjoy your lunch and get more accomplished during your day.


Latest Podcast

Guest Terry Slosson, director of human resources for the Northern Pacific Region of Cintas Corp., discusses methods and strategies to best handle conflict in an operation

Want more? Visit the archive »

Digital Edition

Latest Classifieds