Hotel laundries process bigger volumes of linen. The only limitation is that the revenue from hotel laundries is significantly lower when compared to retail laundries. Consequently, hotel laundries need to find ways and means to eliminate all factors that hamper their working, and maximise their efficiency to the greatest possible extent, to harness better revenue from the lowest viable prices. Mrigank Warrier reports on the different viewpoints gathered from the industry players.
The run time, energy consumption, recurring consumables cost, manpower shortage, lack of skilled labour – water recycling issues and so on. When it comes to the operational cost of running a hotel laundry, the list is unending. Pointing out on a few, Srinivas Rao, Director of Bengaluru’s Klen Laundroworks, says that in-house hotel laundries can be very expensive to operate, since they use diesel or electric boilers to generate steam, and have to pay high utility bills for power and water.
Efficient management and optimization of resources thus become critical to run a profitable and long-term sustainable venture. Many such laundries have difficulty in getting skilled manpower; on the other hand, sometimes they have more than is required. But having an in-house laundry ensures adherence to a greater level of quality standards, mainly due to less handling of linen, which otherwise suffers when the laundry is outsourced.
Hence, efficient management and optimization of resources become critical to run a profitable and long-term sustainable venture in the laundry industry. Here are some ways to make this happen:
Keeping your equipment in top shape is critical. Any downtime with the equipment will badly hamper the overall productivity since all the machines are interdependent. Regular maintenance of the equipment is important to ensure any breakdowns can be predicted and contained. Equipment forms the major part of investment in a laundry; protecting the machines from harm is like protecting your investment.
Optimising machine performance
Every machine has a theoretical capacity and an actual production. Particularly, when machines are fed their products automatically, machine performance becomes the most important indicator of productivity. Consulting technical experts to fine-tune your machine’s performance according to your requirements can help increase performance without an increase in costs.
Arunabh Sinha, Founder of UClean, emphasises that each laundry machine is meant to handle only a certain load; overloading them beyond capacity is a fatal mistake that many operators tend to commit in order to cut costs. Overloading can disbalance the machine, leading to vibrations which eventually damage its bearings. Operators must resist the temptation to overload machines at the cost of harming the machine itself.
First In, First Out (FIFO)
Hotel laundries need to maintain a very short turnaround time. Hence, FIFO is the best strategy to meet timelines. FIFO helps ensure that as soon as a load is received from the hotel, it is sent for processing, and all subsequent loads are processed in the order in which they arrive. Thus, no soiled item is left unprocessed and neglected, and re-enters the hotel linen chain minimal time.
Having an assembly line setup
Despatching an item from one section of the plant to another, in a particular order, without any scope for variation or error, is ideal. In such an arrangement, the movement of linen follows a rigid order, and the risk of different types of linen getting mixed up is minimized. When a more on-the-fly method is adopted, there are greater chances of succumbing to inefficiency.
Consulting with hotelier
Sinha says, “I have seen a lot of budget hoteliers not investing in enough parts (of laundry machines) to save some money. This can greatly inconvenience customers when something goes wrong with the laundry, due to which delivery gets delayed even by a couple of hours. Educating and guiding your hotelier on maintaining at least three turns of linen and towels is important”.
Even with automation, laundry is a human-intensive process. Processing hotel laundry can be both mentally and physically taxing for the team. Hence, managing the schedule of each employee and personally looking after their welfare will go a long way in improving productivity and driving higher efficiency, says Sinha.
Measuring performance data
In commercial laundries that lack the support of comprehensive laundry management software, improving speed and accuracy can be difficult. When data like wash load needs to be recorded manually or linen counts aren’t easily and instantly accessible, operators struggle to identify where potential problems lie. With the backing of laundry management systems, operators have the ability to modify wash procedures by processing linen data like textile counts.
Streamline ordering, packing and invoicing
The ordering process can be improved exponentially with the introduction of a customer portal, where clients can go and submit orders without bombarding employees with dozens of separate requests.
Packing linen and issuing invoices are more time-consuming than many imagine them to be. With laundry management software, these processes are streamlined and expedited, relieving operators and employees of mundane and repetitive tasks. With the use of RFID tags and readers, the linen sorting process can be automated, which, in turn, makes the packing process significantly more efficient.
Invoicing too can be managed with greater ease and convenience with laundry management software using customer data to issue accurate receipts, without requiring employees to undertake a manual count of items laundered.
The dashboard screens on the work floor give real-time information about the performance of your employees. The dashboard for management brings together all the production data to create comprehensive key performance indicators, such as machine performance, aspects of employee performance and profitability.
By establishing the benchmark for your organisation, you can easily compare your performance with best practice within your own group or the laundry sector. In this way, you can monitor employee productivity and get the best from your laundry.