This large dry cleaning operation had a central production facility that was fed by 7 regional drop-off/pick-up locations. The busy seasons (i.e., spring and fall) resulted in considerable customer dissatisfaction and loss of business as product turnaround went from 4 and 5 days to 8 and 9 days.
This project involved the use of Job Analysis techniques to improve individual productivity, eliminate bottlenecks in the flow of material, assign accountabilities to specific people, and increase throughput.
We worked in small groups with employees and managers to brainstorm problems and methods for meeting customer expectations as we needed employees to fully buy-in to the implementation.
Along with cross training, quality checks at each station rather than at the final station, and proper maintenance techniques that eliminated breakdowns on machines, we were able to implement a production program that guaranteed a 5-day turnaround time throughout the year or the cleaning was free.
Most items were returned to the feeder stores in 3 days and the company was considering an additional advertising program for selected times of the year as a result of this new competitive advantage. We also created a series of flash reports for alerting managers to problems in the workflow.