Pushing the Envelope with the CITY Quality Management System
Having confidence in your suppliers to provide you with the service you need allows you to focus on what’s more important to you.
The knowledge and trust you have that your supplier will handle your needs comes from a quality management system.
“We hold ourselves to a higher standard than most of our customers require. This ensures a consistent high-quality service,” Colin Wetlaufer, president of CITY, said about the CITY Quality Management (CQM) System.
“For [the system] to be effective, the whole company has to take ownership in it,” Wetlaufer added. “When we really wanted to push the envelope, we looked into the processing of laundry in the healthcare industry and what they’re doing. That’s who we look at as a peer in the quality management world.”
The CQM System is dependent on five main departments to work cohesively.
Our critical control process includes the following:
Soil sort system, which makes sure we have the proper soil and garment classifications.
Wash Room, where formulas are loaded into the machines per the garment classification and the garments are processed.
Steam Tunnel, which has a regulated temperature to kill any bacteria that may be present.
Sort Process, which includes our ultra-high frequency (UHF) tracking tags that are sewn into every garment. This technology allows us to track each individually chipped uniform through every step of the laundering process.
Click here to view the CQM System Flow Chart.
“One of our most important priorities is having a quality management system in place with checkpoints throughout the process,” Operations Manager Jon Cornick said. “It starts from the time the [garments] come in soil-wise, to being processed and prepped for loading back up to service our customers.”
Equipment, grounds, and fleet maintenance are very important for sustaining a quality management system.
““Just like a piano, you have to tune a dryer; it has to spin the right way with the right clothes, and detect moisture the right way. We’re constantly auditing those things,” Wetlaufer said. “Our maintenance manager Jamie Randall has many steps in [the process], making sure everything works correctly, that they’re tuned correctly.”
“The maintenance department is the first one here every single morning,” Maintenance Manager Jamie Randall said. “Throughout the day, we monitor the equipment, grounds, and fleet to make sure things are running smoothly.”
One of the most important aspects of the CQM System is our UHF tracking technology installed by Positek RFID. This technology ensures that all uniforms collected will be cleaned and returned with accurate inventory counts, which guarantees consistent high levels of customer service.
“We track from when the process starts, to when it ends. We can provide anyone with all that reporting on anything that the [UHF] chip records, and we can get as detailed as the customer wants,” Wetlaufer said.
“With [CITY’s] service, customers don’t have to deal with all the shortcomings of not having a precise process. CITY has an advantage over other [industrial laundering] companies,” Tom Abbett, Positek RFID sales representative said.
Another big part of our CQM process includes our partnership with our vendor Norchem Corp. With the UltraPure ceramic filtration system, CITY can recycle 70 percent of its wastewater and be chemical-free.
“If there’s an issue that [they] have with the equipment…I can do a physical check up from start to finish to make sure I can fix the problem,” Leonardo Gastelum, national account manager for Norchem, said.
A successful quality management system stems from the top. If management drives the system, employees will have clear expectations and will understand their responsibilities and how they impact the business’ objectives.
“Everybody in production is really all in. It’s like a football team, if one person screws up, then they don’t win the game,” Wetlaufer said. “Everybody in the company has to be all in on this or otherwise it just doesn’t work.”
“I like to motivate our production employees. They often think it is just laundry that we hang, but it’s more important than that,” Cornick said. “Having a clean, properly fitted uniform is important. Without it, the customer starts their day off on the wrong foot, which impacts their work performance and their relationships with coworkers and family. We affect more lives than just the people who wear a uniform.”
Additionally, our CQM System tracks every metric within production.
“We know that there’s an optimum speed for every job, not just being productive, but so that we don’t have a lower quality as well. Sometimes you can push speed so much that the quality kind of goes out the window. There’s a perfect balance there, so all those jobs are measured,” Wetlaufer said.
Our CQM System relies on professional account management. Our route service representatives are here to serve our clients with a quality service. That means ensuring a quality product is always delivered.
“Ken Schnor, our Service Manager, is looking at how things come out to give feedback on real time what’s happening with the quality of products that we have. That we’re not just looking at what’s coming in, but what’s coming out,” Wetlaufer said.
CITY clients also have the peace-of-mind that they are receiving a service that is completely managed by their uniform supplier.
“When I first met Mark, our sales rep, I told him that I didn’t want to be part of the uniform business, and that I wanted to be in the car business,” Lee Fisher, fixed operations director at Shottenkirk Waukee Chevy, said. “We can actually work on our business rather than work on our vendor’s business.”
It’s More than a Plan
“The CQM System is not just a process for our workflow, but it’s a system for how we’re going to run the operations of our business,” Wetlaufer said. “It’s easy to do the big things right, I think it’s hard to do the little things right, day-in and day-out every day, and that’s what this is all about.”