Saving what…The 80/20 rule

Saving what …customers want


Since labor constitutes the majority of the cost of sanitation – whether in the dish room, the laundry, guest or patient rooms, focusing on it – and in particular maximizing its’ efficient use is valuable.


But all too often we ignore it and only address the cost of our chemicals. That’s an oversight we make at our peril and financial disadvantage.


Saving labor for our customers will cement our long-term relations, and identifying wasteful effort in that prospect call will add interest well beyond what your products might.


Aside from eliminating obvious situations such as two people doing a one-person task, or one person struggling with what is really a two-party job (like shaking out dirty linen), better task and work flow organization is the best path to minimizing labor.


Delivering that better efficiency generally requires stepping back and closely observing. Carefully watching how tables are bussed, if (or how) presoaking is done, how soiled tableware is delivered to the wash room, how its racked and finally how it’s delivered to the front of the house can be truly instructive. The same process applies to the laundry and housekeeping departments.


More importantly, your close observation can lead to reorganizing that work flow and quite possibly delivering a labor reduction that might be equal to one employee. And with the very tight labor market your customers are operating in today, that can mean big savings and perhaps more to the point of your focus, more interest in your proposal.


The 80/20 rule…How accurate?


You probably heard of the “Rule of 80/20” mentioned even before you started working. It generally goes, “80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers”. While generally overstating the real number (it’s probably closer to 60%), that “rule” is still instructive and a good way to use its’ base idea is to segment our customers into groups.


The first classification should be your top ten customers. In most cases that small group will account for a near majority of your business. At the other end of the spectrum are those smaller customers who all together total roughly a quarter of your total sales volume.  The sheer number of them might surprise you. Moreover, the percentage of your time that you’re spending servicing those smaller customers might be equally surprising.


In the final analysis, what this exercise will expose is that you’re likely spending much more time (per dollar of sales) on those smaller customers than the folks making up the top ten. And while that’s not a reason to give our smaller customers less service than they need, it might be reason to reduce it to what they deserve. Alternatively, an examination of our efforts on behalf or our best customers might just disclose a bit of paucity there.


Next up: That “comfort” customer.