AOP PodcastUniforms

307: Category Spotlight – Uniforms w/ Rich Ham

By March 23, 2020 No Comments

“When it comes to managing uniform rentals, you just are forced to look for other avenues to pursue cost savings because the market isn’t bearing what it did over the last 20 or 30 years.”

There are some categories of indirect spend – think pest control, waste & recycling, industrial gasses and equipment rental – that cost more to source than they offer in savings. Rich Ham, CEO of Fine Tune, calls those ‘nuisance expenses.’ For a combination of reasons, they take so much time to manage, and result in so little savings (once they have been sourced for the first time), that they serve as little more than a distraction for procurement teams trying to function more strategically. 

The uniform industry is valued at $16B annually, and 3 national players account for 55-60% of the revenue in the United States: Cintas, Aramark, and Unifirst. As regional and ‘mom and pop’ players in this industry are gradually being assimilated into the big three, procurement organizations are going to have to completely overhaul their approach to this category. 

In this interview, Rich provides insight into the unique approaches and opportunities associated with this specific ‘nuisance expense:’

  • The reality that uniform spend is one of the most personal, sensitive categories of spend procurement will ever address, and why a customer service mindset is a MUST
  • Why procurement should incorporate the spend associated with ancillary categories such as health & safety and fire protection that may be offered by uniform service companies
  • What procurement can learn from best practices in managing uniform spend that can be applied to other complex, service-oriented, multi-year contracts

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