In my 46 years of experience as a Chemical Engineer in the cleaning and laundry industry, I have always been a strong believer of quality. If you can consistently provide services and products of good quality that make your customers happy (without losing money), then you’ve built a good business model.
There is an art and science to this case called Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM is a management philosophy that looks at a company as a collection of processes (marketing, sales, operations, production, finance, etc.) whose ultimate goal is to meet customer needs and the organization’s objectives.
Sadly, TQM is rarely used used in the industry.
Whether you’re an in-house launderer (hotel, restaurant, power plant, manufacturing, etc.) or an external service provider, it’s important to realize the benefits of adopting this business philosophy.
Here are some reasons why:
1. TQM is about Customer Satisfaction
TQM’s goal is to consistently meet customer needs. All functions of the business must converge and lead to this outcome.
In our industry, this compels launderers to provide services that meet these requirements:
It’s not just the cleanliness of the items, but also the service that should be examined:
Laundry items should be delivered, properly folded (no crumpling) or hung
Reconciliation on losses, shortages, damages and mix-ups with the customers should also be cleared
Small damages and tears must be mended
In case of overage, these must be reported and returned
2. TQM puts emphasis on Continuous Process Improvement
No laundry is perfect, but you’re at least expected to learn and enhance your laundry business’ functions to deliver more superior services and products.
TQM puts emphasis on Continuous Process Improvement. It’s the way companies make an ongoing effort to improve, either incrementally over time or via breakthrough projects at once.
Laundry companies should have “Quality Circles” — an internal group that meets regularly to discuss and improve processes and production in the company.
Quality points should be identified and are functioning. Identification of the process from pick up to delivery
Management also need to regularly revisit the company’s mission and vision. SWOT will be a practical instrument to assess and improve.
3. In TQM, everyone is involved
The top management to the line person are involved in total quality. This means that to maintain competitive advantage, members of the organization must receive regular training.
TQM is not itself a competitive advantage, but it is a tool that can lead your laundry business to differentiate yourself from competition. For laundry businesses, the concluding quality question in every TQM initiative is, “Is it really clean?”