Successful Management Strategies 101 (Conclusion)


(Photo: © iStockphoto/digitalgenetics)

Bruce Beggs |

Drycleaning industry consultant fires off bullet points for profitability

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Make no mistake about it, the premise of Diana Vollmer’s Successful Management Strategies 101 presentation during the last South Eastern Fabricare Association conference was based on profitability.

“How many of you do this just for the fun of it?” she quipped, smiling.

Vollmer is managing director of Methods for Management, an independent small-business consulting firm that specializes in serving the laundry and drycleaning industry. The company also coordinates and facilitates management bureaus in which participating companies freely share information, issues and concerns with fellow cleaners.

“We track a lot of dry cleaners, not only in North America but around the world,” says Vollmer. “We get very detailed reports on the profitability of companies, and that is the basis for which I’m going to give you some numbers.”

She broke her presentation into two parts. The opening related to the “front of the house,” or customer contact, while the finish covered the “back of the house,” or production and strategic management.

Key strategy points for production and strategic management include:


“However you track them, whether it’s electronic or manual, it’s very important that your people know what’s expected of them, how much they achieved, and what the impact of that (achievement) is.”

Vollmer’s company has learned over the years that tracking such information will boost productivity by 10%, posting production numbers in real time will boost output by 20%, and incentivizing success will increase production by 30%.


Everyone wants to do a good job, Vollmer says, and everyone is capable of doing a good job “on something.” Social media is a common area of delegation nowadays. “Look for something that (your employees) do well and delegate something that you can take off your plate. It’s a good way to test people’s commitment and potential.”


When giving someone added responsibility, a manager must also delegate authority, because without it, the worker will fail at the task.


Don’t manage the project, Vollmer advises, manage the worker.


Everyone in your entire organization should receive ongoing training. “If you think someone has management potential, send them to a Management 101 class at the local junior college. They will appreciate the acknowledgement that you see their potential.”


Equipment can pay for itself by cutting labor and improving quality. “Don’t delay buying equipment because you don’t have the cash flow. The cash flow it creates can pay for itself.”


Acquire good companies that are temporarily weakened, i.e. the owner is burned out or the local market is in a temporary slump. “It sounds bad to take advantage of someone when they’re down but maybe you could salvage their life. Some of them are so desperate that anything that they can get (for their business) will be better, will be an improvement for them.”

Miss Part One? You can read HERE.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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