National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Editorials
Preparing for the unthinkable
Every business suffers minor disasters and setbacks on an regular basis and experienced business owners often become quite capable of managing these instances, sometimes even to the point that it becomes “business as usual.” But what if the Big One hits? Are you prepared?
We have seen two strong drycleaning businesses devastated by fires in recent months — Dependable Cleaners in Massachusetts last summer and The Joseph Krow Co. in Pennsylvania last month. And we watched in horror while Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc with wind and water the East Coast this fall. Plant owners find themselves faced with circumstances they have never dealt with before, trying to put the pieces back together and get up and running again.
But the lack of direct personal experience in dealing with disasters does not mean you have to start at point zero in dealing with the situation. Borrowing from the experiences of others who have been through it before can ease the pain of the process. One such cleaner who survived to tell the tale was Dale Kaplan of Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners in Camp Hill, PA. Two years ago, after dealing with a fire at his plant, he offered advice to cleaners on how to be prepared for catastrophe. To review, he advised the following:
Have a disaster recovery plan in place. Make a list of all the people you would need to call and their phone numbers.
Take pictures of everything in your building. If it is destroyed, you can use the photo to show “this is what I have.”
Make sure you have “replacement value” insurance.
Make sure your insurance will cover the cost of upgrading to meet codes in case you have to rebuild.
Make daily back-ups of your computers and keep the back-up off-site.
Don’t forget to take care of your customers. They will readily go somewhere else if they think you might not be around. Let them know that you will be there to serve them.
Taking these basic steps will at least give you a fighting chance in the event that the unthinkable happens.
For those who plan to stick around
Depending on who you ask, the world is either about to end or it practically already has as we move closer to the end of the year. Politically, the country is more divided than ever. Almost half the country is unhappy with the recent presidential election results and many individuals from various states have signed petitions asking for their state’s secession from America. No doubt, if the election results had been the opposite, there would be just as many similar requests from the opposite side of the political aisle.
Then there is the approaching apocalypse, for those who believe the Mayan calendar brings forth portents of doom for our world. Of course, this is hardly the first time people have vocally believed the end of the world is nigh, but it’s just one more sign that magnifies feelings of uncertainty and insecurity for those prone to look for such things.
Thankfully, all hope is not lost. After all, Americans resumed their normal annual melee of pre-holiday shopping sprees as Black Friday actually started a day early in some retail stores. Though many Americans are quite unhappy and others are expecting to soon depart this plane of existence, they will at least be able to enjoy some amazing savings in the meantime. The more things change… well, you get the idea.
Fortunately, one thing that will inevitably remain unchanged is the dependable coverage of industry news and expert advise offered by your friendly neighborhood National Clothesline. We don’t promise to satisfy your political desires or prevent the end of the world, but we do intend to continue helping cleaners make the most out of their business.
This month, we have a little of everything. Whether you are looking to handle acids safely during the stain removal process (Dan Eisen), utilize new technology at the front counter (Harvey Gershenson), read about some excellent ideas on improving production equipment (Don Desrosiers), prepare for potential labor law changes in the future (Frank Kollman), make smart plans for pickup and delivery routes in 2013 (James Peuster) or elicit honest feedback and testimonials from your customers (Neil Schroeder), we’ve done our best to make sure you’re covered… at least for some of the things you can still control.

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