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(Photo: Tim Burke)

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Good Old-Fashioned Spotting (Part 1)

Don’t ever forget the priority of supplemental stain removal

CONCORD, N.C. — It may be old-fashioned to you, but some consumers expect to receive their garments stain- and odor-free from a garment care professional.

Where do you rank supplemental stain removal? Think about it for a moment. Do you believe that your customers agree with your ranking of priorities?

Are you imitating the plant down the street? When is the last time you gave some thought to where your business is and where it is headed? It is my intent to motivate you to revisit those priorities.

Is making the effort to gain knowledge of fibers, construction, dyes and trim necessary? Does having a knowledgeable cleaner/spotter contribute to your long-term prosperity? Is the time spent on supplemental stain removal an advantage to protecting your investment?

Does your business model have room for more than “turning pieces?” Are you sure — really sure — that speed and price are more important than stain removal to the consumer?

Those are a lot of questions. But remember, you are betting your future on the answers.

It has become more common for some in the garment care industry to give priority to other areas of customer service and give a lower priority to removing stains that require even the slightest increase in time and effort.

The goal is to process all garments as quickly as possible, many times at the expense of stains like ink, coffee, wine, blood, and albumin.

The first priority, with a 9:30 a.m. cut-off, is to have “all pieces re-racked and delivered by 3:30 p.m.” If that involves travel to and from the dry store, that processing window shrinks even more.

With modern point-of-sale equipment, you can easily determine the percentage of garments that are not picked up after 36 hours. With that information in hand, you can use it to your advantage by considering adjusting your processing window by 12 to 24 hours.

“Same day/one day” can still be provided at a slight premium. The consumer is already used to paying extra for faster than standard delivery for packages and mail.

Employees will still be evaluated by pieces per operator hour. However, a small percentage of the workflow will be subject to additional attention in the cleaning department.

All this will be of little benefit if the cleaner/spotter lacks the knowledge, experience and tools to improve on the items that still need some form of detailed stain removal after being processed through the drycleaning system.

Every cleaning system needs help from time to time. Post-spotting is a necessary part of a modern cleaning operation. Pre-spotting is a time- and labor-saving process, as well as making post-spotting easier.

Having the appropriate chemical tool to treat the specific stain is a simple and economical way to drastically improve the quality of your finished product.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].