“There is consistent pressure to produce goods at a rapid pace, based on directives to meet certain individual production figures, but I’m concerned that we’re sacrificing quality for quantity. Can you offer suggestions for how we can balance the two?”
Textiles: Elizabeth Easter, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.
Quality means different things to different people, depending on their perception of product value and expectations of performance and durability. A towel issued for use at a hotel pool will probably create a different perception of value and performance expectation than a guestroom towel from a five-star resort.
Quality is the main product ingredient that delights the customer by either meeting or exceeding expectations. Examples could be the down pillows on the bed or house slippers and a terry robe in the guestroom.
From an industry standpoint, quality is a satisfied customer, which is the ultimate goal.
The textile market is characterized by high variability in quantity, mix and quality of products, but everything has a cost.
The level of quality refers to the degree to which each operation of production is carried out correctly. The higher the quality standard, the more difficult it is to reach and maintain.
[NP][/NP]Regardless of the institution, your requirements for product quality must be documented and communicated to the supplier in the form of technical specifications or tolerances, and contained in contractual documents (product specifications). It is your responsibility to not only include the specifications but also indicate the methods of measurement and testing.
Do we sacrifice quality for quantity? The institutional laundry industry operates with lower demands for quality, as its products are not as fashion-driven as apparel and home textiles. It is impacted by the reality that ‘time is money’ and may have a greater tendency to compromise on the level of quality when it will affect delivery or time to deliver.
But as the industry recognizes that more and more consumers demand quality, it is adopting strategies to improve, such as Six Sigma, the highly developed process that helps companies focus on developing and delivering near-perfect products and services.
Equipment Distribution: Bill Blumel, MHS, Reliable Equipment & Engineering, Ogden, Utah
Quality versus productivity is a dynamically changing requirement of laundry management, based on customer specifications and the expected profit or savings generated by each laundry.
But compromising or sacrificing quality for productivity, or vice versa, need not exist if management can optimize for the mutual benefit of customers and the laundry facility team.
The predominant customer with “high-bar” quality expectations usually establishes the level that employees must meet or exceed in their daily processes.
[NP][/NP]There is usually at least one piece of laundry equipment or system available that can increase productivity without compromising quality. There may be times when the new equipment or system requires a change or adjustment in utility support to maximize quality and productivity simultaneously.
An example would be replacing a steam-heated (at 115 psig) 6-roll flatwork ironing system that has a spreader and folder/crossfolder with a new 3- or 4-roll, 32-inch-diameter flatwork ironing system that includes a spreader-feeder, folder-crossfolder, small-piece accumulator, and multiple stackers.
In order to maintain quality expectations, it may be necessary to increase the ironer chest temperature by boosting the boiler output pressure to 125-150 psig.
Additional changes to a laundry can create a new, improved work environment that not only optimizes quality and productivity, but also intensifies management’s desire to increase profits and achieve greater success for customers and the facility.
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