PL 101: Innovative Tools Help Laundry Room Managers

tender-img June 21, 2016

Managing and improving laundry operations through advanced technologies

RIPON, Wis. — With advanced controls, networking capabilities and green technologies, laundry equipment has undergone major improvements in recent years. While all of these cutting-edge advancements work in different ways, they have one thing in common: they aim to reduce the overall operating costs and maximize throughput for on-premises laundry (OPL) facilities.

These innovations allow you to stay constantly connected to your laundry operation through real-time and remote monitoring capabilities.

They also help you set benchmarks and make immediate adjustments to simplify your laundry room management and minimize costs at every stage. Whether your current machines are equipped with the latest technology or you are considering replacing older equipment, read on to learn how embracing these advancements can have a significant impact on your laundry room.

REAL-TIME MONITORING

Research in early 2015 found that more than 90% of decision-makers in OPL facilities do not fully understand the cost of their laundry operation, but now this has never been easier. Advanced controls with real-time monitoring capabilities give OPL managers and executives complete visibility to all the major components of their laundry room. This technology can gather information on labor, utilities, equipment usage, types of cycles being programmed and efficiency, and compile the data for OPL managers in one comprehensive report.

“Before we replaced our laundry room equipment last year, I was determined to find the best machines to meet our needs,??? says Sean Taylor, director of engineering, Loews Ventana Canyon, in Tucson, Ariz. “I knew that installing equipment with advanced monitoring capabilities would have many positive impacts on our operation, and in less than one year, we have already seen a reduction in utilities and nearly doubled our throughput.???

Hotel executives who manage multiple facilities can use the monitoring reports to look at an individual machine or all machines across multiple locations. This technology can track everything from cycle times, number of fills, water temperature and idle time. Monitoring alerts can also be customized to be sent daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly so operators can see the immediate usage data, as well as the “big picture??? over time.

These reports can be accessed online and delivered directly to an e-mail inbox so a laundry manager doesn’t even need to be present to see how the equipment is operating.

“In addition to the reports, we also installed real-time monitors in the laundry room,??? says Taylor. “Now, anyone in the laundry room can see the current status of each of our machines at all times and know how much time is left in a cycle, which has really helped our laundry room staff.???

THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING BENCHMARKS

One of the best ways to ensure your laundry room is running as effectively as possible is by setting benchmarks. By taking time and investing in the appropriate resources to establish benchmark standards, an OPL manager can save time and money.

With the ability to monitor all aspects of your laundry operation in real time, laundry room operators now have visibility that can help them make informed decisions on how to best manage labor resources based on the expected volume of laundry during a specific time period.

“Our hotel is very busy in the winter and slower in the summer due to the high Arizona temperatures,??? says Taylor. “Establishing the right equipment mix to handle loads during busy and slower periods, along with the monitoring technology, made it possible for us to set more realistic benchmarks. We are now reviewing machine usage data that we used to look at monthly on a daily basis, and it has improved our wash time dramatically.???

It’s estimated that labor costs represent up to 50% of a laundry’s operating budget and therefore establishing measures to optimize the labor process is critical. Reducing water consumption and energy usage also remain key concerns in the industry and are important factors to monitor by setting benchmarks.

If you are just starting to set benchmarks, your equipment distributor can help you determine what cycles are best for your industry and linen needs. Your distributor will also help you take a holistic look at your operation, including number of loads processed per shift, machine usage and types of cycles being used in order to set benchmarks that help increase efficiency.

WHEN TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS

Visibility to your machine utilization will provide you with a strong understanding of how and when your machines are running during a specific shift or day. This knowledge can help you identify bottlenecks in your laundry process.

For example, if linens are sitting for an extended period of time between a wash and dry, you can determine the best way to fine-tune your labor and equipment to ensure they are all being used effectively. Additionally, advanced technology allows you to monitor and make adjustments anytime, from anywhere in the world, with cloud-based system access.

“The new monitoring capabilities have been really helpful for our day-to-day operation. When we look at the daily usage data and see we did not hit our goals, we can pinpoint the exact shift and identify inefficiencies and make modifications,??? says Taylor. “It also helps us identify ways to improve our staff training, team member performance and overall processes.???

The technology can also help diagnose any equipment issues so that they can be handled immediately to reduce machine downtime.

“If any of our machines are experiencing a problem, I receive an alert on my phone,??? says Taylor. “This helps us address the issue as soon as possible before it becomes a larger problem.???

REDUCING YOUR BOTTOM LINE

Finding new ways to increase efficiency and reduce expenses has been a challenge OPL facility managers face; however, learning how to use your equipment’s technology and analyze the operational data gives you an unprecedented look at your laundry room.

Technology is taking laundry room management to new levels. Having insight into machine operation at all times helps operators identify hidden inefficiencies and make adjustments in order to reduce costs. It plays an important role in keeping machine downtime, labor and utility costs as low as possible, and having insight to measure your cost per pound will help you set efficiency benchmarks that have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

“You can’t improve your laundry operation if you don’t have the right tools to measure it,??? says Taylor. “The new technology has made our jobs easier. Now, even when our hotel is at maximum capacity, we are still able to complete all of our laundry in one shift, something we were never able to do before we replaced our equipment.???

You may have the most state-of-the-art equipment on the market, but to get the most out of your machines, you need to embrace your equipment’s technology. Through monitoring, setting benchmarks and making immediate adjustments, you will improve your overall operation.

In fact, the smallest adjustment can have a large impact on performance and save thousands of dollars annually.

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