You know the person who is always in shorts and a t-shirt regardless of the weather. Your current uniform allocation could be wasting money on this individual.
To illustrate this point, let’s examine a company’s old uniform distribution plan. On an employee’s first day, he or she would be provided with a starter set of three short-sleeve shirts, two polo shirts, three long-sleeve shirts, and four pairs of pants. But if that employee never wore the long-sleeve shirts, they were simply collecting dust in their house at your expense. To make matters worse, this organization would re-supply employees with a new set of clothing, including the never-worn long-sleeve shirts, every 1-2 years. Further adding to the waste in your uniform program.
That was before Unitec Distribution Systems. Our Proximity software solution allows you to set very specific allocations based on a variety of criteria that would be too complex to manage manually. Now organizations can allow employees to select the items they want to wear while improving employee morale and reducing waste.
Determining Your Uniform Allocation
Figuring out how to structure your uniform program can be challenging. Different employees have various requirements based on criteria such as their position, location, tenure, employment status, job function and safety requirements. Other factors include the longevity of specific items and personal preferences.
There are three main factors used in uniform allocation:
Budget: Dollar Amount or Item Quantities
Most uniform programs determine their budget based on a specific dollar amount or item quantity by category per employee. For instance, $350 per year or five shirts per year.
Length of Time
While most organizations use an annual uniform allocation based on the calendar year, it could make sense to use a fiscal year or rolling schedule.
Customizing Your Uniform Allocation
Using the main criteria outlined above, you can further customize your uniform allocation to your organization’s unique needs. With countless ways available to customize your uniform program, it’s important to think through your options with budget, safety, and employee satisfaction in mind. Our account managers are trained at helping you figure out the right combination for your organization.
Here are some examples of how you can customize your uniform allocation:
Outfitting employees with a full uniform package prior to them completing their probationary period can be risky. If the employee doesn’t work out and you do get the items back, they are worn or you may never get the items back. Identify the essential items necessary to provide employees during training and limit their allocation throughout their probationary period. Our system can automatically increase the allocation for new employees and expand the available catalog after their probationary period ends.
Once an employee’s probationary period is over and he or she is officially onboarded, you can provide everything needed as a starter pack. Several of our customers start employees with an issuance quantity per category for all of the essential items: short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, pants, coats, coveralls, etc. Then after their first year, these employees move to an allowance program to allow each employee to select the items they need, no matter the category.
Limit High Dollar Value Items
Let’s say your allocation is $500 per year per employee and your catalog as an option for a $175 winter jacket. This heavy-duty jacket is built to last several years even with high use. To prevent your employee from spending their budget on high value items, you can restrict the availability of specific items based on the amount of time since the item was last ordered. So, for this example, the winter jacket would be set to only be available to choose every three years, whereas polo shirts could be ordered every year.
Encourage Replacement of High Use Items
Some positions lead to heavy use of particular uniform items. An employee wearing a polo shirt everyday will see normal wear and tear with regular washing, even for high quality items. Allowing your employees to reorder high use items frequently helps to keep them looking their best.
Reissuance programs clean, repair, and reissue usable uniforms and other uniform gear per client specification. Unitec Distribution Systems may re-issue your custom uniform apparel for emergency or routine use, a less expensive option than issuance of a complement of new uniforms.
Cool and Warm Weather Options
Personal preference and location play a factor in how many of each type of item makes sense for each employee to order (for example, short sleeve versus long sleeve, light-weight jacket versus heavy-weight parka, etc.) A Florida-based employee won’t need as many cold weather items as someone from Minnesota. One way to accommodate this is to do category-based allocations, such as 11 shirts per year. This lets employees choose which combination of shirts makes the most sense for them.
Enough for Weekly Laundry
No one loves to do laundry and washing clothing too frequently can cause damage. Make sure your employees are given enough items so that they don’t have to do laundry every other day. For an employee working five days a week, we encourage six shirts. This allows them one shirt for each day they work with one extra.
Full-time staff require more uniform items than part-time employees. Team members on the road working in the field will likely experience more wear than employees at an office. Make sure your allocations reflect the nature of each position’s daily activities.
Lower Allocation with Tenure
An employee who has been working at your company for ten years probably doesn’t need too many new items each year. They’ve built up a closet of essentials and will only need to replace a few items at a time. To help control your budget, build this expectation into your uniform budget by lowering the allocation of more tenured staff. For instance, you could allocate six shirts in year one, then three shirts for each additional year. This gives an employee a total of nine shirts in year two, twelve shirts by year three and so on. As an added benefit, this also extends the wear life of each shirt.
Making Sure You Meet Union Uniform Requirements
Unitec Distribution Systems can help ensure that your organization is meeting union agreements for uniform requirements. Check your union agreement for specific obligations and work with our team to structure your uniform program accordingly. Our system will provide each employee with the correct allocation and allow you to run reports to guarantee compliance.
Switching to a Managed Uniform Program
If any of these allocation ideas would be helpful for your organization, you need a managed uniform program. Unitec Distribution Systems offers everything you need from product selection and customization to manager approvals and employee distribution. Every process and procedure has been devised, tested, and re-tested in order to simplify and control your uniform program.
Still not sure if a managed uniform program is right for you?
Uniform Program Evaluation Tool
Use this free online evaluation to see how your program is performing and find opportunities for improvement.
See it in Action
We can customize a demo of our Proximity System™ for your team to see how it works and better understand how Unitec can save you time, money, and headaches.