Sunday, April 5, 2009

Making Your Cleanroom Garment Program Work For You

An effective cleanroom garment program is a vital component of any successful cleanroom operation, but it can often seem like a necessary evil; an expense item that seems to be forever trending upwards over budget.
The good news is that the costs of cleanroom garments can be reduced to reasonable levels, in many cases by thirty percent or more. The starting point must be with understanding and negotiating the best pricing for your unique requirements. Here are six critical issues to address:
1. Choose The Right SystemDecide whether to purchase your garments or to lease or rent them. When considering purchasing garments, remember that the size distribution of the population wearing the garments will shift over time and you could be left with a large quantity of unneeded garments. Leasing or renting garments comes at a higher price but should include the ability to return unneeded garments and change the size distribution of the inventory.
2. Establish Inventory and Billing LevelsIn the cleanroom laundry industry, inventories drive pricing. If you rent or lease cleanroom garments, understand that the “inventory” is all items that are assigned to your account. Inventory levels dictate your billing charges, so regularly reviewing and adjusting inventory levels to reflect current needs can be your single largest cost-saving step.
3. Select the Best Billing FormatIf you choose to rent garments, determine if the billing is based upon the total inventory of garments in service or on a percentage of that number. If leasing garments, with the billing divided between the cost of providing the garments and the cost of laundering them, understand on what the billing quantities for each are based. Choose and compare quotes based upon the billing format that will most closely match your actual garment use.
4. Minimize Secondary ChargesLost or damaged garment charges can add 8-10% to the cost of a cleanroom garment program, so take internal steps to prevent these potentially expensive liabilities. Address the causes that damage garments. The three most common are equipment snags, inappropriate use, and poor de-gowning habits.
5. Limit Price IncreasesHave you been caught off guard by unannounced price increases? They may seem arbitrary, but you can put yourself in a position to limit their impact. Carefully review price increase language in agreements; it can range from automatic annual increases to increases on an irregular frequency. The rate of increase can similarly vary, from a fixed percentage to an increase tied to an economic indicator. Negotiate what you believe to be a fair and reasonable resolution that meets both parties’ needs.
6. Avoid Long-term LiabilitiesCleanroom laundries depreciate the value of any garments they rent or lease over a set time horizon that typically ranges from three to five years. Ensure that the terms of any agreement and the depreciation schedule for garments are compatible.

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