Q1 2020

Defend Your Business Through Self-Reinvention

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

Maybe you haven’t realized this yet, but business has an evil, cruel underbelly.  The secret to success in business is to provide quality and service at a palatable price.  This is true regardless of your product. Customers want you to do it right, do it fast, and do it cheap.  Maybe that’s too crude for some, so I led with: they want good quality, good service at a price that they think is affordable.  You can pick any two, and it won’t be so difficult.  Doing three is the challenge.

For most school systems, 65% constitutes a passing grade, just barely.  If doing two out of three is your choice, you pass but just barely with a 66% grade.  As Meatloaf said, “Two outta three ain’t bad.”  But it isn’t great, either. However, three out of three is a Herculean task, let me tell ya!

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Q4 2019

Management Can Drive You Crazy

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

A long time ago, someone probably told you, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”  It’s the kind of wisdom everybody knows, but still you must hear every now and again as sort of a reminder.  It’s true, you know.  Two wrongs, never make a right!  But guess what?  Employees think two wrongs do make a right and they try to get us to believe they are right.  This is one of the reasons why management makes us crazy.  Here are some examples: Continue reading “Management Can Drive You Crazy”

Q3 2019

What If There Were No Clean Show?

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

A decade or two ago, high-level cost groups were more popular than they are now. The highest profile ones were made up of the top tier drycleaners nationwide, even worldwide. They would meet annually at exotic locales such as Sydney and Maui. I knew many of the members. I couldn’t help wondering why groups like this lost their momentum some years ago. Was it a signal indicating the end of the industry?  Was it a way to show apathy on the part of the world’s biggest players?  Or were these big players becoming more reclusive?  Something was changing.

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Q2 2019

Dreaming of Clean in New Orleans

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

I’ll be off to New Orleans for the Clean Show soon.  It’ll be my 16thconsecutive show, dating back to the legendary Dallas snowstorm of 1989.  Too many in the industry opt out of the opportunity to attend the Clean Show.  When I ask why – and I always ask – the answer is almost universally “I don’t need anything.”  Here’s a tip:  The best time to go is when you don’t need anything!  I promise!

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Q1 2019

THINK to Stay on the Strategic Path

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems, Inc.


What are your goals for 2019?  Perhaps you have some resolutions.  It’s the classic thing to do at the start of the new year.  “I resolve to do <this>”!   We often drop the ball.  That is the cruel joke.  When the new year morphs into simply a continuation of the daily grind, we often lose sight of our new goals.

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Q4 2018

Ask. Listen. React. The Art of the Exit Interview

By Don Desrosiers

Many decades ago, I first heard the term “exit interview.”  The context was the voluntary termination of a restaurant manager – a good one – leaving his post, much to the chagrin of his employer.  I was told that an exit interview would take place so that upper management could learn, from the departing employee, how they could improve their retention of quality personnel in the future.  I was impressed.  This type of job separation was certainly the polar opposite of Johnny Paycheck’s famous “Take This Job and Shove It!”  No question.  I sometimes ask when I learn about the departure of an employee I am used to working with, if an exit interview was performed.  “Yes,” is the customary response but I suspect the extent of the “interview” was “so, why are you leaving?”  “My uncle offered me a job,” could have been the answer. That’s the end of it.  Hardly an interview.

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Q3 2018

By the Numbers

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

Sometimes change can cause problems in the workplace. Some people don’t like change and fight it, tooth and nail.  I met a cleaning business owner who made a name for himself as a numbers guy. Outward appearances suggested he ran his company “by the numbers.”  Forget personalities and employees with personal issues. Forget any resistance to change, his company was run by the numbers.  Except it wasn’t.  In a private conversation with this gentleman, coupled with a glance at his labor hours, it was very clear to me that he was wasting labor in his shirt department.  It was a waste of 12 hours per week.  In PiecesPer Labor Hour terms: Three pieces per labor hour (PPLH) wasted.  When I called this to his attention, he was blunt.  “If I make any changes, the presser will quit, so I will forfeit the three pieces per labor hour.”

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May-June 2018

Flying the Unfriendly Skies

Comparing Air Travel and Garment Care Customer Service
By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems, Inc.

I don’t write about customer service too often.  That is mostly because, like quality, I don’t consider it up for discussion.  We are in a customer service business.  That means service the customer.  Even though I wrote about customer service in a recent column, I feel compelled to do so again for a good reason.  I found a foolproof way to ensure you are giving good service!  It’s easy, look at what the airlines do and do the opposite!  Really.

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March-April 2018

Taking Drycleaning from “Good” to “Great”

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems, Inc.

Most of you have heard about Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great.”  A good number of you have read it.  Great companies have, for the most part, always been great, while a vast majority of good companies remain just that: good, but not great. What could merely good companies do to become great? How can their leaders turn long-term weakness into long-term supremacy?  Continue reading “Taking Drycleaning from “Good” to “Great””

March-April 2018

Every Customer is Royalty

By Don Desrosiers

I don’t write about customer service very often.  I don’t talk about it much either.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s important. Quite the contrary, in fact.  It’s just that I don’t think it’s up for discussion.  Garment care is a service business.  That means we need to service our customers.  We take care of their garments and we take care of the people who bring them in.  Making customers feel special, remembered, and important are the things the best cleaners do to raise the bar.

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