With resources and skilled manpower not being available easily, it is essential to make the laundry processes as simple as possible.
“Simplifying processes and automating systems will lead to increase in production enhancing quality levels. This is going to be an important factor for consistency across the industry. Combination of a set of chemicals as prewash can be one alternative for simplifying the process. This can help new entrepreneurs to enter laundry sector,” says Shiv Shankar Agarwal, CEO, Washonn.
Another solution would be for the machinery manufacturers to launch automated machines with minimal manual intervention. Also, sensors will have an impact on automation of systems in simplifying processes. Cutting down the process cycle and time is need of the hour.
Preprogrammed software and user-friendly washing machines have already eased out the industry processes. There is still scope for bringing down the cost of auto dosing pumps and machines. With rapidly changing fashion and demand for delicate and high cost fabrics, simplified automated machines are catering to varied fabrics. The industry is also looking for software to reduce colour fading and testing methodology.
Home Linen covering most of the commercial sector is being carried out largely with automated processes with minimal human resources is a good sign for new entrants with huge volumes in all manners. Around 65–70% of linen cleaning process is passed through software-controlled methods and techniques.
To get the sustainability to any business, it must have a measurable process supported by market, tools, and a good team. After close examination of market needs and challenges of the laundry and dry-cleaning businesses, Sridhar Gudiseva, CEO & Cofounder, Fabkare and Mustaq Mohammad, COO, Fabkare suggests a few dosing techniques that can be expected to enter this industry.
Pickup & Delivery
“Take the service where the customer is” is the key point in order to scale the business with the current trend. Delivering the service to the doorstep is a norm of the new age business (food, travel, services, logistics etc.,), and Laundry is no exception to it. New players and traditional players are finding it difficult both from technology and logistic perspectives.
Some of the difficulties include –
- Pick and drop of garments at the customers’ convenient time under constrained budgets
- Getting technology to support the above at exorbitant price
- Size of the goods are big unless like food. So, the pickup and delivery are costly
Real Time Order Communication
Business owners and staff should be aware of customer communication protocols. Customer should get the real-time insights of their garment cleaning process with status updates.
Any damage to the fabric affects the business credibility.
Some of the key points to consider:
- Number of washes and processes they perform
- Chemicals to be used based on the fabric
- Take relevant information from customer, explain the consequences and set expectations
Establishing a process is very critical to run a business smoothly, and technology plays a vital role for the creation of dynamic processes.
- Staff (front desk, wash area, plant, pickup & delivery departments) should know the tasks performed along with timeline
- Automatic rerouting of the task should happen at every stage avoiding miscommunications
System Of Record
Everything should be routed through the same flow for smooth operation. The duties of staff have to be recorded for corrective actions. Monitoring of package, staff performance along with top customers, services, top orders etc should all be taken into consideration.
Service Provider Collaboration
For the business owners to have peace of mind, one has to find all their business solutions, logistic inventory, machinery at one place and at discounted prices which can save them money, time and effort.
Laundries come to closure because of poor financial management. So, it’s imperative for the businesses to plan cash flow effectively and allocate the funds. Also, launderers should know the cashflow details wherever they are. With manual process, business owner will know about the impact at the end of financial year.
As the day starts, the business owner should get an overview of what is where and end of the day, they should be able to identify their business growth and their margins.
Customer Relationship Improvement
In order to maintain the customer relationship, business owners should introduce loyalty programs. The customer should be engaged with coupons and loyalty points to improve the relationship.
Wastage of Time and Goods
One major pitfall in the laundry and dry-cleaning business is not paying attention to the wastage of the solutions at various stages. As the industry is operating with very low margins, the wastage of the solutions is also adding up to the foreclosures. Some of the wastages include – no measurement at inventory level which leads to excess or minimal usage of the material, no measurement/control on the expenses, wastage of manual (& pre-printed) bills compared to thermal printing, etc.