Language Barrier Hack

Are you struggling in your plant with so many different languages that no one seems to be able to communicate effectively?  One operator counted the “first” languages spoken in his plant as 17. That must be somewhat of a time waster, and hence a trigger to inefficiency. Imagine how difficult training is. And if there is some sort of emergency, how long will it take to communicate the urgency?

Recently, when American Associated Companies (AACO) visited Jake Olah and the folks at Excel Linen in Kansas City we picked up on their language barrier hack. Instead of their managers learning 15 different languages, they taught all the people on the wash floor their own “Excel Linen” sign language. It is a riff on some of the American Sign language signs that fits the needs of the typical linen service wash floor.

Sign language is great for a noisy laundry. What was once a barrier now becomes a bonding experience. Everyone gets trained in the special “code” and communication is fast and seamless. It takes a little effort, since each employee must learn the sign language, however it is a lot better than expecting people to learn up to fifteen different languages. The sign language is the common denominator.

Do you have a laundry or linen “hack” that others might learn from? Please contact us or reach out to me on LinkedIn (Georgia Rei) so we can share. We all learn and prosper together.

AACO, Linens for Life.


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