Production Spotlight: Clothes Barcoding
St Croix | White Way Cleaners does a lot of dry cleaning; 19 stores worth to be exact. With the amount of drycleaning and laundry we do, you may wonder how we keep track of it all.
Some cleaners use permanent marker to write a customer’s name on their clothes; others use less invasive systems like temporary plastic tags or wash resistant paper. While these options “work” they are not ideal, and can easily lead to lost garments, especially when dealing with high volumes.
At St Croix | White Way we’ve gotten keeping track of garments down to a science. Using a sophisticated barcoding system we’re able to keep track of your items no matter where they are in the process.
Barcodes like this one identify store information about your garment in our computer.
The first time you bring in a new garment, a barcode is added to that item. This barcode is then associated with your account and preferences, so that anytime you bring the item in we can instantly see who it belongs too. We can also see your cleaning preferences, such as starch levels or boxes vs. hangers for your dress shirts. It also identifies the garment by color, pattern, fabric and brand label so that we can easily identify which of your garments we have and where they are in our process at any time.
Garments move through many stages to restore them to their optimum condition. Each step of the way we read the barcode and record data about who, how and when it was processed. All of this information is available to us in our computer system. Once your garment is cleaned, pressed and inspected, it is sent to our automatic assembly system. There an employee scans your item’s barcode and places it on a hanging conveyor system attached to the bagging machine.
The computer system is smart enough to read the barcode and group it with your other garments, being careful to never put more than 4 garments inside an order. Once four of your items are on the assembly system, the computer system offloads the garments together with a printed ticket and advances them to the automatic bagger, all without human intervention!!! The bagger then pulls a custom, biodegradable plastic bag over the clothes, careful not to waste any extra plastic.
The barcoding system is extremely useful. It lets us know all the details of your garments very quickly; how many times we have cleaned a garment, who pressed it, who marked it in and where it is stored can all be figured out with one quick scan. There have been many times where we’ve noticed a customer dropped a garment in our parking lot on the way to or home from one of our stores. We give the garment a quick scan and know everything about the garment in an instant. Without our barcode we’d never know whose garment it was, much less who to contact!
Keep watching our blog for more Production Spotlights!