New Plan A

Becca Anderson

For the past month we have brought you images and information about the latest in equipment. Some of you were interested. Some of you yawned and said your equipment was just fine, thanks. So why did we do the series?

No matter how good your equipment is — be it a dry cleaning machine, a press, your POS system, a wet cleaning machine or even your delivery vehicle — it is a day older than it was yesterday. It’s had another day of life used up. It’s moving toward becoming obsolete, even while you’re processing your current load.

I’m like you

I tend to keep using things until they fall apart. In that, I am much like many of you. If you look at the keyboard at the top of this image, you can see that it’s… a bit worn. Actually, I’ve rubbed the letters off the keys. I resorted to putting stickers on them at one point and wore through those, too. I don’t need to see the letters when I’m just typing, but when I have to put in a complicated password, it’s a lot harder.

It’s not just the keys. The ergonomic wrist rest has faux leather on it. I’ve worn through that, too. Underneath is an uncomfortable foam pad that makes my skin itch. So, I covered the holes in packing tape. I know, I should have used duct tape! MacGyver would be ashamed of me.

Why do I keep the thing? Well, for one thing, it’s contoured. With arthritis in my hands, a contoured keyboard is a dream come true. I got my first one in the early 2000s, and have never gone back. I have a hard time typing on a ‘straight’ keyboard now. (As a side benefit, other people have trouble typing on mine!)

I’m stubborn. The keyboard is still working. I have to figure out which key is which or make new stickers. My wrists sweat because of the tape on the pad. And golly, a good contoured keyboard costs a few bucks.

Sound like you?

Granted, my keyboard is not comparable to your $30,000 press or your $100,000 dry cleaning machine. However, as a writer, I can’t do my job without it. Period.

So what are you putting up with in your plant just because you’re used to putting up with it? How many man-hours do you lose each week because people have to use the work-around on your equipment? How much gas are you using in your delivery vehicle because it’s running inefficiently? How many customers have quietly slipped away because your quality has dipped over time due to the problems your equipment creates? How many employees went elsewhere to work on good machines?

The showcase of new equipment gave you great reasons to consider upgrading some pieces in your plant. Kevin Marois’ column told you how to afford it. The only thing standing between you and greater productivity is… you.

As for me, I just hit the Buy button online for a new keyboard. It’s contoured. It’s padded. It has great reviews by actual users. It’s backlit — I will be able to choose from seven colours for the backlighting! Most of all, I will be able to use it without a thought for its shortcomings. Sure, I’ll save the old one. It doesn’t take up much space, after all. Occasionally I have a late night when I accidentally spill my glass of iced tea on the keyboard, short it out, and desperately need a replacement.

But it will definitely become Plan B. Isn’t it time you got a new Plan A?

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