As an organization we have always been committed to ongoing training and employee development. In an effort towards maintaining this focus we have introduced High Performance Training, which is a comprehensive service training initiative written by Performance Matters with the help of industry experts across the country, including our seasoned Service Director Tim Uhlmansiek.
Through a combination of on-route application activities, managerial coaching and ongoing education, a Plymate Service Representative will be empowered to provide an unparalleled level of service to his or her customers. Armed with extensive product knowledge and best-practice service standards, our team will create and harbor a trusting, autonomous relationship with each and every customer. Unique to independent laundries such as Plymate, HPT is one of many tools and processes we utilize to ensure our customers receive the expertise and attention they deserve.
“Do it Better” has always been one of Plymate’s Core Values, and we believe the implementation of this training platform encompasses that very commitment to our valued customers.
Like most other companies, we say we are the best and we even have customers who provide rave reviews to back up our claim. But admit it, you still have doubts. We can cherry-pick our very best customers and only provide their opinions. What if we asked a large cross-section of our customer base? What if we had a third-party ask the questions just so people are comfortable being honest? Well, we did. And the results surprised even us.
Market Measurement conducted a customer satisfaction study for us. They compared our results to averages established for more than 450 clients, over the past 40 years to see how we stacked up against other business-to-business companies and other businesses in our industry.
• Plymate achieved 87% “very favorable.” It is the among the highest ever recorded by Market Measurement. The average for our industry is 69%.
Comparison: 55%-75% of companies in business-to-business achieve “very favorable” rankings
• Plymate ranked 66% “above expectations” for responsiveness to a problem or concern.
Comparison: a typical range for this category is 20%-30%.
It is always our goal to improve our results, against both our past rankings and other companies. If you are a current customer, how can we serve you better? Just let us know! If you are a potential customer, we hope to earn the opportunity to demonstrate a higher level of service than you have ever experienced. Call us.
In the Second Quarter 2016 edition of the CSC Network News, Plymate Production Manager Steve Ferguson describes how a careful analysis of the mat wash process helped us improve our product while saving energy. Excerpts from the article:
Mat Drying Time and Energy Consumption
It is an on-going effort at Plymate to look for energy savings and process efficiency without having any negative impact on product quality. At Plymate, floor mat service has been a growing and vital part of our business since 1995. We recently decided to carefully analyse our wash process for floor mat products, in an effort to increase quality and conserve energy. Unlike many of our competitors, Plymate dries our floor mats and we felt there might be an opportunity to improve our energy usage by reducing drying time.
After washing, there is an extraction process to remove excess moisture – like the spin cycle in your washer at home. The conventional thinking is that during the extraction phase, the higher the rotational speed (G’s) produced and the longer the extraction time, the more water will be extracted. While following that practice, we noticed issues with water pockets forming in the mats and wrinkling or rippling of the mats along the bordered edges. In our original formula, 900 lbs of soiled mats were run with an agitated wash, drain, rinse, followed by an 80g low extract, and then a high extract of 180g’s for six minutes.
After some significant testing, we found that we could lower the extraction speed and add a split. The new formula for the same size load is agitated wash, drain, rinse, followed by an 80g low extract, a one-minute shakeout, and second extract again at 80g’s. Using this method eliminated water pockets and reduced the opportunity for the mat to wrinkle or ripple, while doing an even more effective job of extracting excess water, thereby conserving energy by reducing the amount of time needed in the gas-fired dryers.
We found the following measurable improvements and savings with our new process:
1. Eliminate mat wrinkling or rippling by applying less stress and stretching to the mats during the extraction process.
2. Reduce the moisture content of the mats following extraction.
3. Dryer time was decreased by three minutes per load. Our gas consumption was reduced by about 7% from the previous year.
Plymate is one of very few providers of entry mat services to invest in a specialized piece of equipment to roll our mats for storage and delivery. Your first question may be Why roll mats at all? Several reasons, actually:
- Better performing mats – If mats are stacked, the mats on the bottom have the nap crushed resulting in a less effective, less absorbent mat.
- Space Saving – Large mats (we provide mats up to 30 feet long!) would not fit on the delivery truck if shipped flat.
- Ease of handling – Rolled mats can be easily transported on a dolly or cart, making our delivery process smoother.
- Delivery and storage efficiency – Rolled mats are easily grouped by size and color for fast, easy sorting in the plant or on the route.
Our new mat roller has several features designed to ensure smooth production and the best outcome:
- When rolling our longer mats, the top edge is folded over preventing a tight curl on the end of the mat, helping the mat to lie flat on the floor.
- The twin belts adjust to correct uneven feeding.
- As the mat is fed onto the rollers, a visual inspection is performed to identify any needed repairs.
- Most mats are rolled with the nap side out, but longer mats are rolled with the rubber side out so they will unroll easily when delivered.
- The tighter rolling achieved with the new mat roller prevents the middle of the mat from collapsing, resulting is a smoother mat that is easier to carry.
So who cares about mat rollers? People who want a mat that lies flat, absorbs the most dirt and water, and who appreciate a process that is smooth and efficient. If you really care about our mat roller, we would be happy to demonstrate it for you. And if you care about a company who thinks about excellence and efficiency, give us a call.
Every year Plymate launches the new year with a plant-wide kick-off meeting. This began several years back when Plymate started working with Bruce Hodes of CMI Teamwork to implement a structured strategic planning process. The kick-off meeting is the culmination of the planning process and the start of the implementation phase.
The purpose of the meeting is to ensure everyone in the company knows where we are headed and how we are going to get there. But specifically, here are the three most important reasons we feel this is time well spent:
1) Put the past in the past. Moving forward begins when you recognize where you have been. Acknowledge and celebrate the successes and challenges that have come before, so that you can move on and explain how past experiences have helped to mold the plan for the future. This also enhances the credibility of the plan.
2) Relay the vision for the upcoming year. Day-to-day business causes everyone to lose track of the broad, long-term vision of the company and the kick-off is the perfect time to remind everyone about our long-term vision. As an 85-year-old company, we know that adapting to change happens continuously and through careful focus.
3) Build the company culture. These meetings create a growing understanding not just of where we are headed but of who we are as a company. Each department head presents his or her specific action plans. One of our core values is “co-workers make the difference” and we know we can only attain our goals with everyone on board.
As an added bonus, our managers all have increased accountability by getting up in front of our co-workers and committing to the plan!
Steel is up at Plymate!
After several months of excavation and site preparation, the shell for the Plymate expansion is going up! This multi-million-dollar, 7,000 sq. ft. expansion will increase our uniform production area, allowing for more efficient operation and bringing all garment storage under one roof.
This expansion will allow for significant improvement in efficiency now and accommodate our growth for several years. Changes that will take place within the first phase include:
• New water treatment equipment that will significantly decrease solids sent to the local water treatment plant and achieve a 40% reduction in water use.
• Expanded truck bays that will enable several trucks to load simultaneously.
• Additional dryers and other equipment for expanded capacity.
• Expanded storage and operations for our stock room.
The building shell will be complete in February 2016, but the final phase, including additional equipment, is anticipated to be in the fall of 2016. Watch for our progress through the year.
Plymate employees participated in The Salvation Army “Adopt-a-Family” program this year and our co-workers stepped up to provide a generous boost and a happy holiday to a family in need. We are proud of our committed and caring employees.
We wish you all a joyful holiday season.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Floor Safety Institute (NDSI) have banded together to define safety regulations as they pertain to commercial matting. Testing floors, providing measurements and identifying problem areas is important to comply with safety regulations. The standard states that facility managers must provide “careful review of measurement results indicating a hazard potential — specifically due to the involuntary presence of grit, moisture, or dust.” Management must place mats in those areas.
Also defined in the regulation are four distinct areas where mats are recommended, including outdoor areas, vestibules, indoor locations and other specialty areas along with the proper type and combination of mat for these areas. The NFSI has published a series of methods whereby facility managers can test their floors to ensure they are appropriate for use with floor matting. This “Standard Guide For Commercial Entrance Matting In Reducing Slips, Trips And Falls” can be reviewed at: ANSI/NFSI B101.6-2012
Named in honor of the founder of Plymate, the Glenn Plymate award recognizes one co-worker every year for outstanding performance. The honor is based 75% on service excellence and 25% on tenure. Dave Cox, our most recent honoree, certainly qualifies in all categories. Dave joined Plymate in January 1999 as a service representative, the same post he holds today. In surveys of our customers and co-workers Dave consistently earns rave reviews for his dedication, attention to detail and willingness to solve problems.
Dave currently serves over 100 customers on the North and East sides of Indianapolis, from Carmel and Noblesville on the North over into the Pendleton Pike area on the East. He is also a great resource to less-experienced service reps and will take the time to bring them up to a higher level of service.
According to Todd Plymate, who selected the winner along with his sister Terri Plymate Warnecke, Dave is outstanding in taking time with his customers. He will spend as much time as needed to address their concerns. When Dave is performing the more routine tasks though, he is one of the speediest reps we have in the field. Dave appreciates the latitude he has to make decisions on behalf of his customers. In fact, he says what he likes best about his job is “Empowerment! Plymate gives me the tools to take care of our customers…to ‘Do the Right Thing’.”
Plymate is honored to once again achieve the distinction of being an Indianapolis Star “Top Work Place” in 2015. The Top Work Places are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by Workplace Dynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.
Plymate has previously been named a Top Work in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
President Todd Plymate explains that participation is not just to achieve accolades but serves as a planning tool: “Our leadership team finds the survey results incredibly helpful as we strive to improve our status as an employer of choice. Being recognized as a Top Work Place is ‘the icing on the cake’ and provides feedback that shows that we are headed in the right direction. While we are proud of our state-of-the art facility, it is our outstanding co-workers who make the difference at Plymate.”
For more information about the Top Workplaces lists and Workplace Dynamics, please visit www.topworkplaces.com and www.workplacedynamics.com.