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Cleaning Up at the Industry Trade Show (Conclusion)

Chemicals Supply: Kevin Minissian, Norchem Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.

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Kevin Minissian

Kevin Minissian

The Clean Show is one of the biggest events of the year for exhibitors and attendees alike in the Clean industry, and with that in mind, it is critical to develop a strategy to make the most out of your time at the show. The following are my recommendations for any operator of a laundry attending the Clean Show. 

Simply put, the most important step toward having a productive show experience is by taking an assessment of your operations with your production managers and chief engineers to see where you’d like to bolster efficiencies in labor, utilities and material. 

Ask the question, “What do I need to make me more competitive in the long term?” and then begin researching what is new out there that can support your objectives. The best way is to use the trade show website to find the exhibitors that are specifically listed for the solutions you are evaluating. 

Pick the vendors that you determine would be beneficial to meet with during the Clean Show and set up appointments. Prepare a list of questions you have, especially include asking for references of existing customers of that company so that you may have the opportunity to reach out and learn the experience of the user of those products/services you are more seriously considering. It’s key to ask what kind of common issues arise and what kind of support is provided in those instances. 

If you are seriously considering purchasing equipment from an exhibitor at the show, it is worth noting that you may be able to get a discounted deal on the items if you agree to place your order at the booth. 

Ultimately, it is in any operators’ best interest to identify a list of top exhibitors they would like to meet and set appointments in advance to optimize your time. That way you will be given the time by the exhibitor that is required to reach an informed decision.         

Other Institution Laundry: Robin Kramer, St. Michael's Laundry-University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. 

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Robin Kramer

Robin Kramer

I can say I always have a clear plan of action, but then sometimes I develop this secret objective I didn’t even know I had until I got there and saw something that surprised me and changed my direction a bit.  

I am like most people and I love my own technology, but I always use the show’s app (as well as signage and the show staff) as my arsenal to get what I came for. Keeping up with industry trends is definitely my driving force. I watch the working demonstrations because I know it will be a long time before I get another opportunity to see all of that in action in one place—after all it is THE biennial textile care event!

But, I always let exhibitors know that I am on a tight schedule and that I am protective of my dollar. When making appointments, I try to get the first or the last for the day, leaving plenty of room in the middle for some unorganized networking activities. Your chances are high that you’ll meet some wonderful professional contacts (even sitting at the lunch table).

I venture to be wise and make time to attend as many educational sessions as possible that serve my niche. I opt in to all of the classes that genuinely pique my interest. I was especially pleased to see that some educational sessions are being offered a little later in the morning this year. This shows me that the promoters are listening to feedback because I know this has been a request. It feels like they have shined a light on perceptions, behaviors and the needs of attendees.

My follow-up strategy is pretty simple: I sort info I’ve collected for coworkers who did not get to come into envelopes with their names and use sticky notes to jog my memory of why I saved it for them. And finally, I sort through those business cards I received and send connection invitations on LinkedIn.

Oh, and this one has been etched into my mind, I don’t forget to remove my name badge as soon as I leave the convention center. I don’t want to be advertising that I am from out of town and a name badge screams “this person is a tourist, likely on expense account, with a phone and maybe even a laptop” to pickpockets and the like.

That is nothing against New Orleans, which never ceases to amaze me. I love attending the show there, and the event is always amazing. And when it’s over, I plan to embrace the culture at the NOLA Caribbean Festival (at Central City BBQ) on Saturday, June 22. It looks like a blast, and it’s only $20. See you at the show!

Consulting Services: Sam Spence, TBR Associates, Saddle Brook, N.J.

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Sam Spence

Sam Spence

It’s Clean Show time again. Vendors and equipment manufacturers are working diligently to prepare for the show to make the best impressions and assure success. As an operator, to assure a successful show and accomplish your goals, you should prepare as well.

There are many reasons to attend a trade show. Some have specific equipment needs and want to explore their options (often with the intention of closing a deal), while others simply enjoy the opportunity to look around, catch up with industry friends and get away from the plant for a few days. For the purpose of this article, I will focus my comments primarily on those operators with specific equipment or product needs.

Be sure to research potential purchases in advance. Have conversations with vendor reps to learn the benefits of their equipment, products or services. For major capital purchases, I do recommend getting price quotes from all prospective manufacturers prior to the show. Even if you have not settled in on the specific options for your purchase, vendor reps will usually provide budgetary quotes that can be used for comparison. 

It is also helpful to speak with other operators who have recently made similar purchases. Learn the pros and cons of their experiences and prepare a list of questions to allow more thorough follow-up at the show.

Schedule appointments for private booth time with your prospective vendors before going to the show. Some years back I worked for one of the major equipment manufacturers in our industry and I saw the value of scheduling appointments, firsthand. By blocking out specific times, you will have your vendor reps’ undivided attention. 

Be sure your sales rep includes his/her boss and even the president of the company if possible. Having the highest possible authority present at your meeting will increase your chances of negotiating the best deal. 

Additionally, be open to purchasing show floor demo equipment if applicable. Equipment manufacturers would rather sell equipment off the floor and ship it directly to you as opposed to shipping it back to their factories, and they are often willing to provide discounted pricing to do so. Purchasing a floor model also allows you the opportunity to see your specific machine in operation before you buy.

Finally, remember to take advantage of the seminar and educational opportunities that the show has to offer. From sales and service to plant operations, there is always something to learn. This is especially valuable for those managers new to our industry.

Enjoy Clean 2019 and be sure to prepare to guarantee a successful experience. 

Uniforms/Workwear Manufacturing: Scott Delin, Fashion Seal Healthcare, Seminole, Fla.

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Scott Delin

Scott Delin

Recently I had the wonderful experience of looking for a new car for my wife (note: before the process started I had dark hair and by the time it ended, I was gray and balding).  

A little background history: My wife was driving a Volvo XC90 that had 245,000 miles on it and unfortunately since her Volvo was running like a champ, and having the genes of her father, she was hell bent on driving this car till it stopped dead in its tracks. 

After long deliberations back and forth between us, and given the high mileage on her car, we thought it might be a good idea to consider replacing her vehicle with a newer, more efficient one. With that said, off to visit car dealers we went.

During our first visit to a local car dealer, both my wife and I could not believe how the technology and interiors of cars have advanced since she purchased her current vehicle back in 2009. I think the new technology if nothing thing else intimidated her and raised concerns as she did not understand how it all affected the efficiency of the automobile.  

Being a smart shopper, and getting excited about the possibility of purchasing a new vehicle to replace her current mode of transportation, we created list of concerns and created a want list for her new vehicle: How many miles per gallon does the car get? How long does it take to get from zero to 60 when pulling onto a highway? How much storage space does the vehicle offer? What is the safety rating of the car? Does it come with a navigation system? Does it have heated seats? Does it have a rear camera? What about floor mats, are they included? What other colors options for exterior and interior are available?  

However, wait for it … then came the best part of the buying experience—she walked around the car and kicked the tires.

This adventure made me think about the upcoming Clean Show and how exciting it must be for those attending the world’s largest trade show geared for laundry operators, whether you are a first-time attendee or a repeat visitor. This is a show unlike any other trade show in the world.  

This massive, one-of-a-kind trade show displays laundry equipment for processing, machinery for finishing, technology for garment sorting and identification, uniforms and apparel for the employees and end-user. At this show, one can find everything and anything that has to do with our industry, whether we are on the processing side or the manufacturing side. One might ask, “What should I expect when I get there?”

The Clean Show is so big, you need to plan at least two to three days to see, visit and walk this show. For the one who is attending this show for the first time, be prepared to be overwhelmed.  There is so much to on display that two to three days might not be enough time.  

Machinery companies will be highlighting the latest technology their equipment has to offer. Attendees will marvel in awe at the massive pieces of machinery designed to produce and process faster while using less energy to operate, in some cases less chemicals, and more importantly reducing our rising labor costs while increasing production.   

Other companies will be displaying equipment capable of scanning bar codes or reading RFID tags, thus offering solutions for quicker more efficient garment sorting and route makeup.  

Apparel and textile manufacturers will be introducing new fabric technology that addresses the issue of reducing both processing and labor costs. They will also be highlighting new, innovative styles desired by the daily changing healthcare and hospitality market end-user.  

Chemical companies will be displaying their new chemicals geared to reduce wear and tear on the textiles processed in our plants while again influencing linen life and overall quality of products in our plants    

There is so much to see at this show that for the first time or repeat attendee, this show is going to be a mind-blowing experience. So here are a few suggestions, I would like to offer in order for you to get the best experience out of this show:

  1. Make a list of what you want to accomplish while attending the show so you do not waste time walking the show.
  2. What is your goal and purpose for the show? What are your wants and needs for your current operation and what is needed to improve your productivity?  
  3. What are looking to purchase or try to learn more about?
    1. If it is machinery, what type of equipment are you interested in and looking for it to accomplish for you in your plant.  
    2. Are you looking for a new soil sort or conveyor system? Will I be able to reduce labor?
    3. Maybe you are looking new ironers and dryers. Gas, electric or steam?
    4. How about steam tunnels? What is the speed of the tunnels and how many garments per hour will it process?  
    5. RFID technology or bar code? What is best for your operation? What savings and benefits will this offer to my laundry and customer base? 
    6. Uniforms and apparel. What about new fabrics, styles and colors in healthcare apparel and uniforms? Are they industrial laundry friendly and energy efficient?

Being a seasoned veteran of attending these shows as both an operator and now as a supplier, when I first enter the massive convention center with my to-do and want lists in hand, I look and study the map and layout of the convention hall and highlight the specific vendors or areas I need to visit. Without a game plan in hand, one can typically waste too much time walking up and down the aisles in search of that one item on your want list.  

Make a game plan of how you wish to attack the show. If you are with a group of co-workers, divide and conquer. Maybe split up, look at different vendors and ideas, and then regroup at lunch or at the end of the day to discuss your findings and decide how and who to revisit either later that day or the next day. This will allow you to maximize your time and efforts while attending this show.  

I can assure you that this is going to be a grueling, tiring process for you and suggest you wear comfortable shoes or sneakers, as you will be doing a lot of walking and talking while attending Clean 2019 and will definitely achieve your daily steps.  

This is a great show and I for one having over 38 years’ experience in the industry look forward to attending this show every two years. Even as a vendor, I always walk away from it learning something new and finding better ways to do my job and offer more ideas to my customers that will help them exceed their customers’ expectations. 

My last piece of advice I have is have a good time. Yes, the new technology can and will be overwhelming. Take it all in and be open to the new technology and ideas you are about to witness. Be sure to ask many questions and most important of all, do not forget to kick those tires on the new machinery as well.

Have a great Clean Show! Make sure to come visit the team from Fashion Seal Healthcare and Wonder Wink. We are looking forward to meeting with you very much.

Miss Part 1 with advice from commercial, healthcare laundry; equipment manufacturing; equipment/supply distribution; and textiles experts? Click HERE now.

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