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Case Study: Preventing Employee Turnover with Longer-Lasting Freezer Wear

Finding the Right Vendor Fit Improves Employee Morale and Performance

The Customer

This RefrigiWear customer is one of the oldest cold storage companies in North America. They have facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast. They offer warehousing, transportation and import/export capabilities to a variety of different food related customers. Employees are using pallet jacks and forklifts to move product in a range of temperatures from 0° F to -30°F, requiring insulated protective clothing. 

The Problems

The company chose a protective clothing vendor new to supplying US companies. Employees were complaining about ill-fitting gear (the clothing sizes were based on European standards, not American) and gear that couldn’t handle the daily duties of the employees and fell apart quickly. The gear was falling apart so quickly, that the company was replacing bibs, jackets and gloves at a more frequent rate than they were expecting to. They also didn’t have a dedicated sales rep or customer service person to discuss these issues with. Employee morale was dropping, frustrations were rising, productivity was falling, and expenses were skyrocketing. Low employee morale was leading to an increase in employee turnover, which was also costing the company money.

As RefrigiWear looked at the issues the customer was experiencing, a few things became apparent:

  1. Employee morale and productivity needed a boost
  2. Employees needed to trust their gear would arrive in the proper size
  3. Employees needed gear that could handle the job without slowing them down and falling apart
  4. The company needed to reduce spending on insulated protective clothing
  5. The company needed a vendor that offered a dedicated sales rep and customer service rep to assist with their needs

The Solutions

The company needed to make a change to improve their bottom line and prevent turnover from getting out of hand. We recommended a standard uniform, to keep the employees looking and feeling like a team. In addition to headwear and gloves, we recommended the Iron-Tuff® Enhanced Visibility Siberian™ jacket, Iron-Tuff® Enhanced Visibility Bib Overalls and the Extreme Hiker boot. Our Iron-Tuff® Collection includes super durable fabric, rivet reinforcements at stress points and heel reinforcement patches to make them last longer no matter how tough the conditions. The Extreme Hiker boots feature the Boa® Fit System, creating a perfect, long-lasting fit on the boot with the turn of a dial. As a RefrigiWear customer, the company was assigned a dedicated sales rep and customer service rep, so they were always talking to the same people when ordering, asking a question or needing assistance. 

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The Results

Though changing to RefrigiWear gear required a higher upfront cost, because they will need to be replaced less frequently, the company will see a savings in the long run. Gear that is designed for the jobs being performed, and the conditions being worked in, means it won’t fall apart from long shifts. Time wasn’t lost from having to exchange ill-fitting jackets, bibs and boots. 

Employees liked the fit better and weren’t slowed down by their gear falling apart on the job. The complaints dropped. With morale and productivity increased, employee turnover decreased.

Between the reduced need for replacement and the reduced employee turnover, the company is already seeing savings and will continue to do so.