TRSA conducted Executive Roundtables with representatives of textile service operations to identify opportunities to better meet customers’ needs for clean textile products and related services. It was concluded that the end users must be educated about how the industry measure and maximizes textile life and launderers must enhance information-sharing on best practices to maximize linen life. The following white paper compiled from various TRSA research projects and other industry sources address these factors.
Best practices to manage textile assets
Collecting and managing loss data has become fundamental to textile asset management. The following section details the language of textile inventory management and common practices required.
Laundries keep close tabs on the following statistics as important indicators of merchandise consumption:
- Pounds – Total Clean Pounds of Laundry Delivered: Proper accounting of the total usable pounds of laundry delivered is critical to determining measurable cost and comparing alternatives.
- Rewash/Rejects – Percentage of Work Rejected in the Laundry Process: Controlling the amount of product rejected for quality in the laundry process and managing the reclamation of the same is an important element of textile asset management.
- Ragout – Percentage of Product Removed from Service: When an item is rejected after it is rewashed or otherwise deemed unworthy of remaining in service, it is removed as “ragout.” It may have completed its normal useful life (survived anticipated number of servings). If not, its premature demise is often attributed to misuse by end users, trouble with laundry chemistry, production equipment or textile construction.
- Replacement Cost – Total Cost Per Pound of Textile Purchases: Tracking the cost of textiles based on consumption (pounds) provides the ability to measure the textile’s life cycle cost most effectively.
- Par Levels – Textile Inventory in Circulation: Maintaining sufficient in-circulating inventory of textiles for efficient laundry operations and services.
The use of inventory management systems and calibrated scales for the receiving and shipping of laundry is critical to the accurate tracking of pounds of laundry. Textile services operators use these tactics and measures, among others, to accurately account for inventory:
- Empty cart (tare) weights.When weighing a cart to determine how many pounds of items have been returned by an end user to the laundry, the cart’s weight is subtracted from the total to indicate only the goods’ weight.
- Cost per pound. Calculated for every textile product served to budget for ongoing replacement.
- Inventory tracking systems such as radio frequency (RF) ID and barcoding are effective alternatives for many applications including uniforms and linens. Uniquely serializing (tagging with an RF chip) items can provide insight into usage, loss, required par levels, inventory, turnover, hoarding and more. RFID specifically provides for complete counting of tagged inventory with little to no additional labor. Diligence is needed to avoid commingling of chipped and nonchipped items. When both are contained in a bag, for example, which is scanned to determine its contents, the antenna finds only the chipped items, possibly creating the misconception the nonchipped items are missing.
- Used wash test pieces enable monitoring of tensile strength loss.
- New textiles are tested to assure reasonable durability for commercial laundering.
- Ragout is subtracted from the total of all unreturned pieces to determine what is missing.
Adequate and accurate record keeping is the first step toward getting control of linen replacement costs.