CITY’s Quality Management – Quality Through Consistency
CITY prides itself on providing a service that’s structured, accurate and accountable so customers can rely on getting products that are always cleaned to the highest standards.
“It’s always about continuing to get better,” Colin Wetlaufer, CITY’s President said. “Here at CITY, we have a documented process so we can ensure what we are doing is always consistent and we can be the best we can be for our customers.”
The documented process Colin is referring to is called the CITY Quality Management System or CQM. It relies on control points created throughout CITY’s operation. From the time soiled laundry arrives at the plant in Oelwein to the moment Route Service Representatives can pick up a clean batch for our customers, all of it goes through a rigorous checking process to ensure maximum quality.
“The CQM is the base for continuous improvement throughout the plant,” Luis Portillo, CITY’s Director of Operations said. “It’s the foundation and where everything starts. It’s the core of what we do here. It’s a key element of who we are and what we do.”
For Luis, one of the key parts of the quality management process is production. When soiled garments move through the plant the CQM ensures temperatures and formulas for cleaning are chosen the right way based on the needs of products in the process. To him the CQM is a guarantee CITY can always operate on a high level, maintaining high standards set for our customers.
“The last thing you want to worry about at your job are your uniforms,” Luis said. “At CITY we believe in partnerships and relationships, so we are part of their jobs. Following the CQM ensures that we follow best practices every day. We are delivering high-quality products because we constantly check ourselves.”
Because CITY’s operation has so many moving parts Colin wants to make sure everything is done the right way and if it’s not, the CQM helps to get the operation back on track. The system allows CITY’s staff to use detailed analytics like water hardness or chemical mixtures to make sure uniforms are cleaned the right way for each customer. By creating control points and being able to track performance inside the plant, CITY ensures service and quality can continuously improve.
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“For the customer, the CQM allows us to show them proof of what we are doing,” Colin said. “We can see where problems are, identify them, and fix them immediately. We are in the relationship business, and our intent is to make those relationships the best they can be and keep getting better.
The CQM was designed with the customer in mind and several customers had a significant impact on how the system is applied to today’s CITY operation. Colin’s goal is to always learn from mistakes and without constant feedback, mistakes can’t be corrected. As part of the CQM, CITY also implemented ultra-high frequency (UHF) tracking technology, so every single uniform can be tracked throughout the entire laundering process ensuring customers always get what they pay for.
“The UHF technology simplifies the tracking, saves labor but still gives us more information about what’s happening so we can optimize the process for the customer,” Colin said. “Technology makes communication easier and it helps us to prevent mistakes and that’s important for the customer.”
For Colin, the CQM is not just a technicality, it’s a piece of CITY’s philosophy to make sure the customer can rely on quality clean garments every single day. It also ensures CITY employees at the plan always follow best practices and can react to changes quickly and efficiently.
“If you were building a house and you had a contractor if he didn’t have your plans, would you just trust them to build a house that you might not want?” Dakota Gipper, CITY’s plant manager said. “The CQM lays out everything we need to do, from the soil dock, all the way through sorting the clothes. It’s holding ourselves to a standard and it’s an essential part of the operation.”