The Real Cost of Laundry Production – A Big Picture Perspective

In this blog, I am going to offer a few big-picture perspectives that can help you lower your cost to produce a pound of linen. I assure you these perspectives are nothing new, nor rocket science. The challenge lies in the implementation, of course, but this will hopefully lend some insight and direction.

All too many times have I found laundries struggling to achieve success and they are just not focusing their energies in the correct areas. It is very easy to get wrapped up in daily minutia which will not provide bottom-line success. Of course, all laundry plants have their own unique struggles, but keeping your eyes on the prize is what will help keep the revenue coming in while you address your subsidiary issues.

My first focus of any facility that I assess is the high impact costs. These are costs that account for a major portion of the cost per lb. and can greatly increase, or decrease, your bottom line. The main 3 high impact costs that I start with are what I consider the triad to success. All 3 of these costs rely on each other and can positively or negatively affect your revenue.

They have the power to create a snowball effect for each other as well. Again, both positively or negatively, depending on how well you can control these costs.

High Impact Costs:

  • Productive Labor
  • Utilities
  • Management

Productive labor:

This cost can be rather fickle as its biggest attribute is the human factor. The employees I consider productive labor are; production, management, engineering, and transportation. Basically, anyone who physically touches the linen or the equipment. Having these 4 groups in sync is much easier said than done of course. I will share what I’ve found to be the biggest contenders when trying to improve on this front.

Key Productive Labor Points:

  • Accountability
  • Morale
  • Safety
  • Positive Working Environment
  • Management
  • Training
  • Equipment

Half of these have no real cost other than implementation, so there is no reason that these should be absent in your operations. Yet, somehow or another, they are easily forgotten as companies attempt to “lower costs” to improve revenue. The other points have a cost to them, but if maintained, the cost will be nominal in comparison to the return.

Utilities:

Of the three, you can easily achieve success in this area with the help of a good Chief Engineer or Lead Mechanic. I have even seen the operations manager drive utility savings. All you need is someone ready to do a little research and not afraid to get their hands dirty. Try reaching out to colleagues, your local equipment distributor or even some internet searches. If you turn over enough rocks you will find what you’re looking for and quite possibly make changes in your operations that will increase your revenue significantly.

Heat reclaimers, water recyclers, high-efficient lighting and stack economizers are some of the basic ideas to create savings in your bottom line. If you aren’t investing in utility savings, you are literally throwing your money out the window.

Management:

There are several key points that are essential to creating a productive management team. These points, if implemented correctly, can afford everyone a prosperous workplace. Don’t underestimate the power of both a great or poor manager. Choose your management team wisely by looking for these key attributes in your candidates and team leaders:

  • Team Player
  • Positive Attitude
  • Morale Booster
  • Loyal
  • Accountable

The tides of your productive labor can turn quickly without the correct guidance from your management team. Show your management team that these key points are crucial to everyone’s success. Don’t just read this or some other list to them. Lead by example and show them how it’s done so they can show your productive labor the same efforts. Telling people how to do things from your desk will get you nowhere.

As I said at the start of this blog, none of this is rocket science. Implementation is the key to your success and it must be done correctly. If you can apply all these points you will create a prosperous workplace for everyone and significantly affect your true cost to produce a pound of linen.

Thanks for reading!

By |February 20th, 2018|Laundry & Linens|

About the Author:

Rich Collins has 14 years of experience in healthcare and hospitality laundry operations. He improves plant operations by finding the root cause of deficiencies within the system. With strategies catered to each client, the problems are remedied, with long-lasting improvements put in place. He brings an extensive skill set to the table, which greatly maximizes plant functionality. Having spent many years as a Chief Engineer to a 25-million-pound healthcare facility, Rich understands how to make the best use of current machinery and layout. This is critical to understanding and having realistic goals for your operation. Rich has proven success in the realm of operations on all levels. He increases operation efficiency and reduces costs, which provides for a profitable business model.