コロラド州の顧客訪問で感じた事 What I felt in visiting customer in CO?


Good afternoon.

先々週、アメリカに行ってきたのですが、コロラド州デンバーにてDependable Cleanersをお邪魔してきました。コロラド州デンバーという街は標高が1600mもある都市でとても湿気のないのが良いです。近くにボルダーという町があって日本のマラソン選手が高地トレーニングとしてよく利用しているのは有名な話ですね。

As you know, I went to USA in two weeks ago, then I visited Dependable Cleaners in Denver. Colorado is very famous city with high altitude. It is about a mile high. In Japan, Colorado is very famous training location for Marathon runner.


Dependable Cleaners is the most successful cleaners in Denver. They have 26 shops and 17 shops with direct operations. According to owner, they make very high profit from the operation. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose the number, but I’m sure that everybody will get surprised about their sales amount and profit ratio. Why can they make so much?

ここの社長であるSteven Toltzさんは常にマーケティングを考えています。実際に何を考えるのか?といえば「ロゴ」「包装」「利便性」です。ここ最近お話ししている事ですが、ロゴへの投資はとても大切です。このお店もボタンのマークをいろいろなところにちりばめております。ドライ機にまでデザインしているのはすごいですね。商品にも同様のデザインをしています。納入業者の都合で現在はフルカラーの材料が用意できないので単色になっていましたが、通常はフルカラーの材料を使ってお店のイメージに合わせておりました。

Mr. Steven Toltz who is owner of Dependable Cleaners always think about marketing. What he thinks are “Company Logo” “Wrapping” and “Convenience”. As I told you recently, the investment to Logo is very important. Their trade mark is “buttons”, and they decorate everywhere. I enjoyed seeing their logo at Dry Cleaning machine. They use same logo for the wrapping, unfortunately I saw single color wrapping material due to supplier’s problem, but they are usually using full color material to match with the shop.


He is thinking to improve more drive thru style shop for customer’s further convenience. In this shop, they are two lanes and divide between first timer and frequent user. In normal cleaners, customer gets off their car, grabs garments, and go into the shop, but if it is rainy, they must get wet. If they have handful garments, it is very hard to get in the shop. But this drive thru style allows shop receptionist to approach to customer’s car, so they don’t have to get off. On the other hand, there are few counters in shop as well. Some customers who want to talk to shop receptionist about their request can go to shop. Thus, this shop can give any type of customers better impression due to their choice of check in. This makes really sense!!


Dependable keeps increasing about 5% every year in about 14 years. But they didn’t increase shirt in last year, then they lost the sales…, which is very interesting. Steven said he will do this year!! He said “Why don’t you increase the price even if they general price is increasing? If you don’t do at all, you will choke up! If you see yourself choked up, you shouldn’t do such business!!” Wao, he is very strong. But this made sense. Why don’t you reconsider about your pricing like him? (lol

ミシガン州のクリーニング店で学んだ事 I learned how to make more business in Michigan


Good afternoon.


I am coming to America. Yesterday. I went to Detroit, where is about 1 hour from Chicago by plane. The reason why I visited was to negotiate about new business to us. Unfortunately, I cannot disclose on the moment, but I hope to do in near future.


I reconfirmed the importance of marketing when I visited them. Actually, the thing is happening in your markets, which is that customers never know how we are cleaning professionally. But is it important for customers to know it? I don’t think so. But they always seek “Who will clean the garment very well?” This is their first priority and we must make more effort to let them think so.


Now, what kind of activity should we take to customers? President of the company I visited mentioned “We will know what to do naturally if we seek the image that customers feel our shop will clean their garments well” For example, please think about the image that “Sankosha is just making and supplying products” and “Sankosha is trying to contribute customers more business with their products and services” Which do you like? Of course, I like later image.


Basically, people tend to spend more money willingly to something good to them. But they never know the actual quality if they don’t use it. So, how do you let customers try our service? This is marketing, I think. But unfortunately, so many management people in dry cleaning business don’t invest their power including money to marketing. If they know and improve their marketing, they can make more business…, very sorry…


As long as I see cleaner’s operation, I don’t see any problem. Most of all cleaners are doing really good job!! But you should reconsider why customers never feel your value. In my last column, I introduced Japanese grocery store, and this is exactly same story. You design your company logo, and you do your products. It is basic process. Customers will imagine your quality higher because of your design to shop and products, finally you can show your quality to them. They can listen to your quality, otherwise they never get interested in your quality.


I learned that the profitable company always spend big power to marketing. Why don’t you reconsider about your marketing to increase your value? I hope you will find some idea. Of course, I will do, too!! (lol

テレビを見て驚いたブランディング Great branding when I watched TV


Good afternoon.


Today, I would like to talk about other industry, not dry cleaning business. Last Sunday 9th, Channel 6 broadcasted about a grocery store in Nagano, where is very very local town called “Himawari Ichiba”, translated “Sunflower Market”. Their strong point is to make very unique signage. Most of all visitors read with smile and buy their stuffs, very interesting store.


ちなみにこのYou Tubeは私が見ていたものではありませんが、とても似ています。是非ご覧になってください。

These signage are made by president of this store. His name is Mr. Nawa, and his insight about promotion is great! He is not only making signage by himself but also speaking with microphone to all visitors without any article. This is something special!! I think we dry cleaners should learn about it!! I was so curious and watched all.

This You Tube was not what I saw, but it was similar, please visit this site as follows.



  • 食べて間違いなく「おいしい!」と感じる食材
  • 那波社長がこれを「おいしいよ!」と言うのだから試してみようと感じること
  • ひまわり市場がそもそも出しているものは「おいしい!」と確信していること


If you see this video, you will understand the strong points, but basically what they have are great employees and foods with first quality. That’s why they are popular. Their special employees make great delis and they are really tasty!! By the way, don’t you feel their price pretty expensive? For example, there is fried cake of minced meat. They charge $4.00 per piece in Nagano Prefecture, this is normally very expensive!! But they sold out immediately. Why?

  1. This is absolutely “Tasty!!” if you eat.
  2. Nawa announced “Tasty!!” and visitors believed his statement and try.
  3. Most of all visitors originally trusted this grocery store with great quality.

These are the key factors to brand their store.


In our industry, how many dry cleaners can brand well like this grocery store? Unfortunately, not many… Cleaning business is basically local business, so their business model is great benchmark, and we must be famous in the area. To become famous, we must have the great quality, the people who make it, and eventually great promotion. If you cover everything, you will be successful. Actually, this store already taught us.


To send your value to customer is probably “Passion” not “How to do”… Even if you learn how to do and just do it, you won’t be good. In fact, I have opportunities to visit their locations, so I will definitely visit and see their operation.


香港のランドリー工場で感じたこと What I felt in laundry factory in Hong Kong




I went to Hong Kong about a week ago. I had many reasons to visit there, but one of the biggest reason was to visit Vogue Laundry. This is magnificent size, they have 4 units of Milnor CBW. I guess it is the biggest size in East Asia including Japan. In fact, they take care of 100t per day, what a size!! But I saw their factory and felt really different between flat work and garment work.


The big laundry factories want to wash big volume flats at once. For example, bed sheet is big item, so it is not effective with small washer and extractor, that’s why they need to use CBW. As it is called “Laundry Factory”, their main items are laundry items not dry cleaning items. On the other hand, garment cleaning is various, we must distinguish between dry cleaning and laundry due to types of fabrics and garment. But the general sales share in such big laundry factory is 80% to 85% with flat works, which is a lot!! And 10% and 15% with garment only.


Most of all factory managers pay big attention to manage flat works only, this is the reality. But I am working for garment cleaning, so I have different eye. They tend to take the most reliable machines and solution to take care of items for productivity and quality, but it doesn’t work with big washer extractor. For example, 50kg washer extractor bring more mechanical action value and never be good with garment. Also, garment cleaning needs more man power compared with flat works, it is difficult section to do automatically.


Thus, the key factor of garment cleaning is “knowhow of workers”. Even if you choose best equipment and chemicals, they will be used by people. If they don’t realize how to increase quality and productivity with those equipment and chemicals, they won’t make money with garment cleaning.


My opinion in laundry factory is to distinguish manager of garment cleaning and flat works. If they mix these sections, they won’t make money. By the way, do you realize how to make quality and productivity? I hope you will reconsider your own quality and productivity. Anyway, factory must be profit center!!




Good afternoon. Sorry but it was long time since my last upload. The reason why I couldn’t do was that my PC was broken, and it took really long time to recover. I felt really inconvenient when I couldn’t use PC!!

In my last second column, it was changing to Sankosha style shirt finisher in the general world, so let me tell you actual different points in this time.


First of all, the biggest difference is that there is sleeve press or not. In Japanese market, many cleaners use 3 pieces models (Fuji Style), because there are some very fortunate conditions in Japan. One of the condition is “Japanese have similar body shape each other”. In Europe and America, there are different people between higher and lower, and fatter and thinner. But we don’t have such difference each other.


In this condition, sleeve press was the biggest problem in the operation, because the machine couldn’t cover not only very thick sleeve but also very thin sleeve. Recent models made by YAC and us are improving and much better quality, but still some problems are remaining. Therefore, most of all shirts were touched up unfortunately.


Then, Sankosha style came to the market, when was 1988. Sankosha style introduced not to press sleeve but to blow it, and it was pressed only tucks. Actually, this made sense to them, because they didn’t care about the size of shirt anymore, so they lost the ratio of touch up. Of course, it is very important to control washing program, especially washing temperature. It is NOT possible to get better quality with only switching machines.


There is a problem to Sankosha style, too. It is to blow hot air and steam. This made factory very hot, which was not happy to operators. Especially in summer, it made factory circumstance worst!! In this point, Sankosha style was not really appreciated to factory.


But most of all American cleaners changed to Sankosha style Why do you think they changed even if it was not really appreciated? Because it is “great profitability per hour per person”. This is the great factor for company owners to take. Yes, it makes profit!! We still have great pressers in Japan, but it is getting really hard for American to keep such employees today. As a result of it, Sankosha style was really familier with many cleaners as “the machine which can produce same quality with any people”. It was the story of 90’s.


What is actually different? It is whether one operator to complete or two or more people to complete. Single Buck is such perfect machine to complete by one operator, but Fuji style needs more than 2 operators with very skillful, otherwise they cannot produce more than 100 pieces with 2 persons and 150 pieces with 3 person, this is common sense in the market. Also, if they don’t use machine well, there are some quality problem and will need touch up, this is another point to reduce productivity. Sankosha style covered all points, that’s why they wanted our solution.


It is getting difficult to make profit with volume operation in Japan. Also, their profit ratio is extremely low compared with American cleaners. If Japanese government encourage more “cool biz” project and less dress code by Japanese large companies, they won’t be able to collect volume anymore. I do suggest you to create more profitable factory in case of getting more difficult for sales with volume.

サンフランシスコのAlex’s Cleanersを訪問しました。 We visited Alex’s Cleaners in San Francisco


アメリカの展示会、IDC国際クリーニング会議、そしてポストツアーに参加されたお客様をご案内して帰ってきました。トータルで12日間の旅だったのですが会議やツアーでの通訳をやったり、クリーニング店さんの細かい説明などをして差し上げたりしました。日本からはおおよそ60名の方々に参加していただいたのですが、いや~、疲れましたね!(笑 朝から晩までのお付き合いだったのでこちらのブログをしばらくアップすることができませんでした。

How are you? Long time I didn’t upload my blog.

I was attending Clean Show, IDC International Drycleaners Congress, and its post tour. It was totally 12days trip to me, and my main job was to translate their speech to Japanese and to explain the shop details. We hosted about 60 people from Japan, made me really tired this time!! (lol  Eventually, I took care of them from morning to evening, this is the reason why I couldn’t upload my blog.

さて、そのツアーの間に合計4件のクリーニング店を訪問してきました。その中で最も印象に残ったのはサンフランシスコ郊外にあるAlex’s Cleanersです。売上など数字についてはわかりませんが、推定10億円くらいのクリーニング店と思います。

In this tour, we visited totally 4 cleaners. Alex’s Cleaners in San Rafael was my best nominated cleaners. I don’t know exactly about their sales and profit, but I guess their sales is about $10M.


There are so many $10M sales cleaners in Japan, but their business model is 100% pick up and delivery service. There is no cleaners to make 100% sales by pick up and delivery service in Japan. 70% of the sales volume is coming from dry cleaning item, and 30% is composed by shirt service, and home linen service such as sheet, pillow case and so on.


Also, there is amazing factor in their customer range. I asked how much their best customer spends in the year, then their answer was over $200K. This is not possible in Japan. Our best customers in Japanese typical shop was probably $1~2K. Furthermore, they have more similar customers in their business in SF. But I am so impressed anyhow they keep such customers in their business.


I was getting understanding about ”Pick up and delivery service” in USA, the customers who spend big money in one year never bring their garment to the nearest shop. The shop already understand this key factor. They think the quality is the most important to their business, and they took care of all garments by hand ironing even if they use automatic finishing equipment. Most of all Japanese visitors said 窶彿t must be good, because they spent so much for touching up!窶・Of course, they charge so much, that’s why they can take care of them.


Even if they want to take care of them, they cannot do if they don’t charge or more cost spending eventually doesn’t match the profit and loss. This model is well considered about the factory location, labor cost and productivity and so on…, but first of all, we must understand they can charge so much.

今回、60名もの皆さんに素晴らしいおもてなしをいただいたAlex’s Cleanersに心から感謝を申し上げたいと思います。

Finally, I deeply appreciate Alex’s Cleaners, it was really good job to arrange for 60 visitors this time.

ワイシャツ仕上げ機の違いから来る利益率とは? The difference of the profitability coming from the shirt press



Hello, how are you?

In my second previous column, I wrote about the difference of profitability between America and Japan, and finally I suggested to cleaners about more expression of their having technology instead of less expensive. In fact, it is not easy to do even if everyone is thinking so…, that’s why we had better think cost reduction by factory operation. “How much can we reduce the cost of factory?” It is the key factor to make more profit.


Shirt is absolutely the most important garment in cleaners. I didn’t bring this topic because we Sankosha is manufacturer of shirt finishing equipment. The reason why people always pay attention is not to charge higher, but cost more than dry cleaning process. If you can reduce the cost of shirt process, you will make more profit. Normally, I don’t explain about my machine so much…, but let me explain with this time and next time.

世界のワイシャツプレス機は完全に三幸社が作ったシングルボディやダブルボディ、いわゆる三幸社型が世界のスタンダードになりました。日本にはワイエイシイが作っているフジ型3点セットがありますね。アメリカでもおおよそ20年前まではProsperityAjaxUnipress, Hoffmanなどそうそうたるメーカーがカラーカフス、スリーブプレス機、ボディプレス機という3点セットを作っておりましたし、富士車両はもともとアメリカの当時の技術からスタートしていたわけです。では何故三幸社型が現在の世界のスタンダードになったのか?というと「人時生産性が高い」からです。人時生産性が高ければワイシャツにかかる人件費は安くなります。ちなみにクリーニング工場では人件費が一番高いのです。多くの人々はエネルギー代などを気にしますが、人件費の削減は他のどのコストよりも大きなものです。コストが安くなれば利益が上がるのは当たり前の話ですね。しかしアメリカやヨーロッパのクリーニング事情はとても厳しく、現在も衰退し続けています。アメリカは高級層を中心にまだまだ力はありますがどちらの地域も幅広い層からボリュームを集めることはできません。ボリュームが限られているから人時生産性の高いモデルを使ってコストを下げるしかないのです。

Today in the world, the Sankosha style of shirt finishing equipment is world standard such as Single Buck and Double Buck. We have still 3 pieces finishing equipment by YAC, it is called Fuji style in Japan. In about 20 years ago in USA, we had Prosperity, Ajax, Unipress, Hoffman and etc…, they all provided collar cuff press, sleeve press, and body press, it is called 3 pieces model. Japanese Fuji Car actually learned from American technology at the time. Now, why did industry change to Sankosha style? It is really simple answer, because it is better “productivity per person per hour” (later, let me use PPH). If PPH is higher, the labor cost to shirt will get cheaper. For your information, labor cost is the most expensive factor in the factory operation. Some people always ask me about utility cost, but the labor cost is the most effective factor. If you get less cost, you can get more profit!! Unfortunately, the industry situation in Europe and America is tough, and they are still shrinking. In USA, there are high end markets and the power from the markets is still big, this is the only source to make more profit. But they cannot get more volume anymore… Management team of company must consider more PPH solution because volume is already limited.


Fortunately in Japan, we are still having huge volume on the moment, but we are taking same history with America and Europe. Someday, we will face the same situation and getting tough to make more volume with less expensive price. How are you going to meet with the situation? It might be coming the turning point very soon. So let me introduce the difference between Fuji style and Sankosha style in next column. Please look forward to reading next one!!




Good morning. I am coming to Korea from yesterday.

I am happy to upload my article with English from this time, because I got so many requests from overseas readers about English version. There are some incorrect expression, I apologize in advance.  


Korean Dry Cleaning industry is very similar with Japanese industry. I can understand the reason why. First of all, there is no disparity of wealth except giant family concerns, it is almost same in Japan, so most of all people are middle classes. We have so many dry cleaners to charge pretty reasonable price in Japan, and there are big chains such as Cleantopia and World Cleaning doing very similar service in Korean market.  


On the other hand, there is some differences. One of the differences is dress code, which is very strict in Japan. But there is no dress code in Korea except some industries such as bank and local government office. Dress Code is really big factor to make more business in our industry.  


I have been Korea in 1999 as my first trip, and then I have been here regularly. Recently, I am feeling one thing, it is that towns and streets are getting really clean. I am now in Teajung, where is locating very center in Korea, this town is really clean!!



Also, I heard very interesting story. Recently, more young generation people tend to use dry cleaners more. In fact, I visited a cleaners in the morning, and I stayed there about 30 minutes. I saw more than 5 customers and more than half of the customers were young gentlemen. They brought shirt, pants, and jacket, very similar in Japan.


Also, very unique service in Korea is shoe cleaning. Especially, many people bring sports shoes and casual shoes. I like this culture and hope to bring to Japanese market. How do you think for your market? Of course, it is up to the price. For your information, the price in Korea is between $3.50 and $4.00.



Even if there is no dress code, the conscious about cleanliness in young generation will lead this industry bigger in the future. This mentality is necessary to develop our industry.
















さて、今回は洗いと温度、そして仕上げに対する影響などをお話してみたいと思います。先月、アメリカのClassic Cleanersを訪問してきたお話をさせていただきました。その時、彼らはHoffmanの古いワイシャツプレス機(25年前の機械)からの入替をしたのです。昔の機械ですから当然スリーブプレス機も含まれており、いわゆる3ピースモデルからの入替でした。


ここで一番大切なのはやはり洗濯機のプログラムです。我々は昔のワイシャツでは気にならないことがあったのですが、現在のワイシャツでは気にしなければならなくなりました。それは温度コントロールです。なぜならば最近は綿ポリ混紡素材(Poly Cotton)がとても多いからです。







実際にClassic Cleanersさんも洗いにおいては同じ問題を抱えていたのです。温度を下げないでそのまま脱水したワイシャツを弊社の機械で仕上げたら袖にこんなに皺が残ってしまいました。