[box type=”shadow” ] “Largely the laundry business remains a brick and mortar model, but what we aspire for is to cover as many locations with more efficient and reliable service to the customer,” says Yvo Metzelaar, MD, India subsidiary of Pressto Dry Cleaning & Laundry Pvt Ltd during an interaction with Mohana M.[/box]
Foraying into Indian Market
The idea took-off at a time when the Indian economy was still developing and finding a highly professional laundry service then was not easy. We purchased the all India rights in 2007, a well thought out decision backed by thorough research and understanding of Indian consumer market. Period of our stay between 1997 and 2004 in Delhi and Bangalore also helped us in making the move. We set up our very first store in June 2008. Since then, the company has no looking back to become the first professionally managed laundry business in the country. Earning its customers’ trust by demonstrating the sophisticated procedure followed by handling their precious garments, Pressto plans to increase its stores to 100 across five to 10 cities in India with a target to engage about a million customers through its stores and other strategic marketing campaigns.
Challenges and Staff Training
The basic challenge in establishing a good dry-cleaning store is to find a suitable location from operational and feasibility perspective. Besides, customers’ convenience is also a major concern. To cater to the need of our diversified customer base and respective service requirements, the main stores perform all types of activities related to laundry servicing, whereas the small stores located in smaller pockets enable better customer accessibility. These small stores are internally linked to and depend on the main stores for certain services. Pressing, specifically steam pressing, is not a feasible operation at any local shop and is offered only in professional stores like PRESSTO, which give far superior results compared to any other pressing medium.
Another area of focus while setting up a new store remains workforce right from recruitment to training to retaining of staff. Most of the employees come from rural background and the entire procedure involves physical work on a daily basis, including handling of heavy and dirty garments. Our full day induction programme focuses on infusing a sense of optimism for the work they are doing, which is most important to get the best from them. They learn all the dry cleaning procedures, and separately gain hands on experience at the main stores before taking a final written test to actually begin on the floor. In this way, the journey of a new trainee starts with prospects of growth upon gaining experience and moving up the ladder within the organsiation.
Operations and Procurement
At present, Pressto India has a team of about 300 professionals, of which 30 to 40 are working at the office while remaining personnel are working in the stores itself. Total number of staff working in a store varies from five to 12 people, depending on the format of store and the business in the store. Job of a store manager is quite demanding as he needs to attend over 200 customers on daily basis and simultaneously manage a staff of 12 people deployed in different sections of the floor.
Procurement of machines and accessories is mainly through PRESSTO franchise store in Spain, which has experience of about 20-25 years in this domain. These stores also have a fairly extensive test facility to check every technique of cleaning and test a machine to be inducted in the stores.
Entire machinery is imported from the stores only and the one-time high cost investment is covered by the uninterrupted operational durability offered by these machines. Chemicals are obtained from a leading global supplier, Seitz GmbH, which offers specific product combination and solvent to tackle specific type of stains on clothing. At present, Pressto is using five to six types of products for different kind of stains, all procured from Seitz. Quality, Speed, Service and Transparency are the four pillar of sustainability. Timely delivery without compromising on quality is ensured through various control points coupled with periodic procedural checks on store locations.
The company believes not only in expanding the business but also in creating valued customers who can rely on our quality services.
To date, laundry in India is seen as a more localized practice rather than organized and professionally managed business. What differentiates us from standalone dry cleaning shops is our professional approach towards our work and clients. We customize our service delivery and operations with the locality we are operating in. After establishing ourselves in five to 10 major locations, we plan to target tier II and tier III cities that may add up to 1000 stores in future.
The company plans to utilize different business models such as franchisee model for expansion in future. Reaching out to more and more people to provide professional dry cleaning services is our goal