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Nashville-area Cleaners Combatting Labor Shortage with Automation

Lapels locations adding kiosks and automated assembly systems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One of the biggest challenges facing many small businesses today is finding staff and sustaining a high level of service. Lapels Cleaners recently took steps to combat this issue at its Nashville locations with an investment in an automated assembly/bagging system at its local plant, along with the installation of kiosks at select locations.

The Metalprogetti Gullieta features an assembly conveyor and carrying extension arms to transport complete orders to the auto bagger. At the auto bagger, a sticker invoice is applied to the right corner of the package. 

“With the current labor shortage, it can be difficult to find enough help to keep up with demand. The Metalprogetti is a real game-changer as the entire process is automated. This will enable us to process clean items at a faster pace.,” says Chris Cooley, owner of four Lapels Cleaners locations — Lapels Cleaners of Franklin, Lapels Cleaners of Brentwood, and two locations in Nashville.

 “Perhaps even more important is that the equipment will allow us to better utilize the space within the plant so the business can grow without necessitating a move to a bigger location,” Cooley says.

Other innovative steps include the installation of kiosks at Cooley’s Brentwood and Bellevue locations. These kiosks, located within a vestibule inside the store, will provide customers with 24/7 access to pick-up and drop-off items without a staff member present. While this service offers significant customer convenience, it also reduces operating costs. Further, the installation will include automated lockers, providing customers with a way to receive items such as comforters that aren’t normally stored on a conveyor. 

“I always want to make sure that we are being as efficient as we can because this is a high-volume business,” Cooley said. “In dry cleaning, you need a lot of pieces to make a profit. You can process a lot of pieces with a lot of employees or use equipment that enables fewer employees to handle the same volume.”

Nashville-area Cleaners Combatting Labor Shortage with Automation

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