Set Hard-to-Reach Goals This Year

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Eric Frederick |

Push yourself and your organization, says veteran laundry manager

ROANOKE, Va. — It is that time of the year when we look back on all that happened in 2015 and look forward to the new year.

Every year, we set goals for the new year: what we want to accomplish in our personal life and what we want to accomplish as part of our management life. Some goals are easily measured, while others are not.

Too often, we pick out goals that can easily be reached just so we can show our boss that we have accomplished our goals. I would like to suggest this year that you set hard-to-reach goals and really push yourself and your organization.

Education is the key to continued success, both for you as a manager and for your staff. Do you have a college degree? Based on my knowledge of the industry, the answer is most likely no. The best jobs are saved for those who have operational experience and have a college degree. Are you willing to set educational goals for yourself that will stretch your time management skills and most likely take several years to complete?

Have you looked at the educational needs of your staff and have you helped them to set goals to develop new skills? What programs are offered by your organization, your local colleges and your professional associations? The stronger the crew under you becomes, the more that can push you up the ladder.

Have you incorporated team-building skills into your management-training program? Properly coordinating the movement of linen through the laundry is a daily challenge and requires constant teamwork. Have you challenged your staff to constantly look for better ways to produce the daily required textile products?

Have you looked at expanding your laundry operations and determined what niches are available with a minimum of competition? One area that is ripe for the taking is the nursing home industry. Many of these facilities currently run in-house laundries because of the need to process patients’ personal linen. If your staff can determine a cost-effective way to handle the personal linen, then you will have more additional business than you can handle.

Nursing home business is good business, because it is constant and unchanging. Many in-house nursing home laundries do not have the capacity to process reusable incontinent pads and clothing protectors (adult bibs). These items can be quickly added to the mix.        

If this sounds interesting to you, then set a goal to visit a number of nursing homes in your area in order to learn what works best for this segment of our industry. Understanding the needs and challenges facing your customers is the first step in developing an effective product mix and marketing plan for that part of the industry.

Set a goal to examine and incorporate some of the new, 100% polyester linen items into your facility. The longevity and reduced utility costs associated with these items make this a wonderful area for study. (For the past two years, I have used a 100% polyester thermal spread and a 100% polyester contour sheet, with excellent results.)    

Using one of last year’s proposed production-improvement ideas, set a goal to initiate at least one major workflow redesign to reduce labor costs and increase efficiency. This may involve a dramatic change in procedures, changes in the expectations on the part of the end-users and a capital investment in a piece of equipment.

Realize that, every year, we must prove our value to our boss or our customers. Those laundries that simply maintain the status quo will become a footnote in the annals of time—lost to a commercial laundry, taken over by contract management or simply closed because no one sees particular value in what they are doing.

The concept that there is safety in not rocking the boat has been proven wrong time and time again.

Dare to improve your operation. Dare to set goals that are difficult to reach and then stretch to reach them. Then, you will have developed the management skills that will provide you and your staff with job security.

About the author

Eric Frederick

Eric Frederick served 44 years in laundry management before retiring and remains active in the industry as a laundry operations consultant. You can contact him by e-mail at elfrederick@cox.net or by phone at 540-520-6288.

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