Explainer: What exactly is a Managed Uniform Program? What services does it provide?

A managed uniform program is a service where a custom workwear company like WorkHardDressRight  provides its business or institutional clients with workwear, and takes care of it at all stages of its lifecycle. This means everything from the inception, which includes workwear selection, design, branding, manufacturing, sale and delivery; through the normal process of wear and tear, including laundry services, repair services and other care; and finally, obsolescence and disposal.

Depending on the apparel firm and its clients’ profile, managed uniform programs can either consist of pre-determined services, or have a-la-carte customized aspects that fit the particular needs of the client and its employees.

While this is not always the case, managed uniform providers such as WorkHardDressRight offer the flexibility of allowing employees to make their own apparel selections, manage their purchases and enable companies to manage budgets in several approaches for budget management using systems like online portals and accounting systems.

Understandably, managed uniform programs are particularly in demand in industries that employ large numbers of people who are required to wear standardized uniforms as part of the job, such as in healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, and retail.

WorkHardDressRight has demonstrated significant cost savings and improved efficiency for large, brand-conscious  employers. Talk with us to learn more.

Here are some components of a managed uniform program:

  1. Uniform Selection: The program often involves selecting appropriate uniforms that meet the specific needs of the organization and its employees. This includes choosing the right styles, colors, and materials that align with the company’s branding and industry standards.
  2. Sizing and Fitting: Ensuring that each employee has properly fitting uniforms is crucial for comfort, safety, and a professional appearance. Managed programs typically include processes for measuring and fitting employees to ensure they receive the right sizes.
  3. Ordering and Inventory Management: The program will manage the procurement and inventory of uniforms. This includes placing orders with suppliers, tracking inventory levels, and replenishing uniforms as needed to accommodate new hires or replace damaged garments.
  4. Laundering and Maintenance: Many managed uniform programs provide laundering and maintenance services to keep uniforms clean, presentable, and in good condition. This can involve regular cleaning, repairs, and replacements as necessary.
  5. Distribution, Tracking, and Analytics: Uniforms are distributed to employees as part of the program, and systems are often in place to track which employees receive which garments. This helps with accountability and ensures that everyone has the necessary uniforms.
  6. Compliance and Standards: Depending on the industry, there may be specific regulations or standards that uniforms must meet. A managed uniform program can help ensure that uniforms are compliant with these requirements.
  7. Budgeting and Cost Control: Managed uniform programs often involve budgeting and cost control measures to ensure that uniform expenses are managed effectively and do not exceed allocated budgets.
  8. Employee Support: The program may offer support services to employees, such as handling uniform-related inquiries, providing replacement uniforms, and addressing any concerns or issues.

All of these aspects can be customized to fit the needs of the client. Some, for example, may need a laundering program, while others may leave uniform care to each individual employee.

In our business, we have identified 3 main types.

First, there is the New Buyer . These are companies who are starting from scratch and need to spin up their uniform program quickly, providing consistent uniforms for a large number of employees. This is typically a company or institution that is undergoing rapid growth, or has just acquired another company or franchise and needs to bring all of the new employees into the main company’s branding and workwear standards.

Another such scenario can be a company rebrand, where a large number of assets need to be quickly brought under a new visual standard and kept cohesive across multiple locations.

This type of client is interested in massive, rapid scalability, uniformity, branding compliance and regulatory compliance.

See how WorkHardDressRight gets your business from 0-60:

The second type is the Transactional Buyer – these tend to be scattered and reactive. This could be an established institution that has a long history and has grown in fits and starts, doesn’t have strong centralization to impose unified standards, and has a number of relatively independent departments and subcultures that have been left to procure for themselves and set their own workwear standards. This type of company culture is common in businesses that have a large number of far-flung locations around the world that are separated by geography and language barriers, and where subsidiaries have been acquired at various points in time and haven’t been brought under unified workwear standards.

These customers often have inconsistent styles, colors, fabrics and branding; they tend to buy in smaller batches as need arises.

If you are renting uniforms, you are going to want to read this:

The third type is the Rental Buyer, a company who is probably enrolled in a uniform rental program, is unhappy with it and looking for a change-over to a purchasing program for either cost or accountability reasons.

One good example is a new client of ours that did an audit of their old rental program and discovered to their chagrin that they were paying for over 6000 garments assigned to 300 employees who are no longer with the company. Needless to say, this spurred their decision to abandon the rental program and switch to a WorkHardDressRight direct purchase program.

To a business used to renting workwear, switching from a rental program to a direct purchase managed uniform program has a number of advantages, the chief being accountability. Instead of seeing numbers on an invoice, the client has real employees using the system, buying their own clothes with an allowance, taking care and laundering the uniforms and alerting the company when workwear needs repairs or replacement. There is no issue of phantom employees

Another advantage over rental is uniform care – with rentals, clothes often receive “bowling-alley” care, where they get a basic level of laundering and disinfection, and are passed back into circulation. Rental uniforms are sometimes even recycled from one program to the next. Industrial laundering often leaves clothes feeling stiff and uncomfortable, as well.

With individual employees caring for their own clothes, they can keep them clean and comfortable in a way that a massive industrial laundering program won’t.

The Rental Buyer appreciates WorkHardDressRight’s individualized approach to purchasing, our flexible client portal that lets their employees order and care for their uniforms, and a guarantee that they won’t be charged for the uniforms of phantom workers that are no longer with the company.

Overall, a managed uniform program streamlines the entire uniform process for both employers and employees, ensuring that everyone has the necessary attire while minimizing the administrative burden on the organization. This can lead to improved professionalism, safety, and employee satisfaction in the workplace.