In today’s tough economic climate, it is especially important to improve operational efficiencies, since cost containment and cost reductions are even more critical when revenues decline. Many of our clients have told us recently that the slowdown in business has brought about reductions in staffing levels across the board. Uniformed employees have been terminated and employees have shifted from full-time to part-time status. Budgets have been cut and management is eager to further lower costs and find new sources of income.
The GIMS™ Uniform System provides the framework to control and reduce your operating expenses associated with providing uniforms to employees and can even turn your uniform department into a profit center!
Below is a review of some of the ways GIMS™ can help.
Proper Termination Process – Terminated employees should be deleted in GIMS™ and their uniforms unassigned. Employees should be held accountable for items on their Outstanding Garments Report. Unreturned garments can be sold to terminated employees and the sales invoice can be emailed to the Payroll Department so that the employee’s final paycheck can be adjusted properly.
Synchronize Employees – In this environment it is not uncommon for the uniform department to be unaware of employee terminations. Updated employee lists should be obtained from Human Resources to make sure the GIMS™ employees match actual employees. All employees no longer working at the property should be deleted and any uniforms unassigned. Keeping employees up to date can be fully automated with the GIMS™ Human Resources Interface.
Managing Employee PAR Levels – As employees shift to part-time status, it would be beneficial to adjust their PAR levels to lower required inventory. Also, some employees have multiple jobs and may require different uniforms for their different jobs. Employees’ secondary jobs should be added to their records in GIMS™ and all PAR levels should be adjusted to reflect multiple jobs. The Assignments Not at Par Report should be run to highlight specific employees who have excess garments assigned to them, and those excesses should be unassigned. This will remove garments from circulation and by so doing will tend to lower cleaning activity and cleaning expenses as well as new purchases.
Control Loaner Activity – Some employees tend to ask for loaner garments more frequently than they should. This involves additional uniform department time to process, more inventory on-hand to accommodate frequent loaners and greater cleaning expense than might otherwise be incurred — all contributing to increased costs. Periodically run the Frequent Loaner Report to identify employees who may be abusing your loaner policy. Supervisors of such employees should be emailed and those employees should be prohibited from obtaining loaners at will.
Evaluate Inventory Needs
Inventory Analysis – With reduced staffing levels it is essential to reestablish appropriate inventory levels. Generate the Inventory Analysis Report to highlight garment types and styles that are in excess of requirements. Perform a physical inventory for such garments to validate your totals.
Transfer/Export Garments – Once excesses of inventory are isolated steps should be taken to eliminate those excesses. Within GIMS™ you can transfer or export garments to other properties. This will automatically reduce your inventory and allow your property to record revenue based upon the value of such garment transfers. At a minimum, excess inventory could be donated to charity to receive a tax benefit. GIMS™ Inventory Status Reports can be used to show the value of such donations.
Optimum Purchases – In difficult economic times, it is even more critical to assure that all unnecessary purchases are done away with. The Optimum Purchases Report in GIMS™ does just that. Based upon the garment sizes and PAR levels for each employee’s job(s), the Report shows exactly what is needed and what is not needed. This Report should be provided as justification for any purchase requisition.
Cleaning Costs & Losses – All cleaning invoices (especially from outside cleaners) should be audited for accuracy. Individual garment cleaning costs should be updated and the Cleaning Expense Report should be matched to the cleaner’s invoice. At the same time, any garments delinquent from the cleaner for an extended period should be deleted and charged back to the cleaner.
Cleaning Turnaround Time – Cleaning costs are often associated with a specified turnaround time from the laundry (usually one day). Actual turnaround time should be monitored periodically by running the Cleaning Turnaround Report. If you are not receiving the expected cleaning response time, you should review the situation with the cleaner and determine if cleaning costs should be reduced given the actual turnaround time.
In any case, you may also want to consider renegotiating your cleaning arrangement to less frequent cleaning deliveries. While this would normally entail maintaining higher PAR levels, this may be appropriate in today’s environment of reduced staffing and a greater number of part-time workers. Increasing turnaround time should lower cleaning costs per item.
Cleaning Activity – Another way to lower cleaning expenses is to assure employees are not over-cleaning their garments. Generate the Cleaning Activity Report to show individuals’ cleaning amounts over time. Those employees abusing the cleaning policies should be identified and prohibited from further abuse – e.g., cleaning their jackets and pants on a daily basis. This action would reduce cleaning expenses and prolong the life of the garments.
Labor Savings with Automation
Laundry Interface – Aside from normal day-to-day efficiencies, the GIMS™ Uniform System can directly interface with the GIMS™ Laundry System. This direct link, among other things, would allow the hotel to receive all items from the cleaners without scanning individual garments. Any discrepancies between the laundry and the property would be eliminated.
RFID – Utilizing RFID chips instead of barcodes would dramatically lower labor now used to scan individual barcodes. RFID laundry drop chutes eliminate scanning soiled garments completely. For other functions, multiple garments can be read at once, reducing processing time by 40-50%. Your barcode GIMS™ system can be easily upgraded to the RFID version that allows for both barcodes and RFID chips to identify garments.
Automatic Garment Storage & Retrieval Systems – GIMS™ interfaces directly to all of the most popular garment storage and retrieval systems, eliminating labor at the uniform issue counter. Employees merely swipe their ID cards and their uniforms automatically come to the issue window. Restocking of garment bags is also performed by the employees rather than the uniform department staff.
Focusing on these aspects of GIMS™ will help our clients get through these tough economic times. InvoTech is dedicated to provide the systems and service needed for you to operate efficiently and effectively. Some of the features discussed are only available in the most recent versions of GIMS™. Contact us to assure you have all the up-to-date capabilities.