2012 Panel of Experts Ready to Answer Industry Questions (Part 4 of 4)


(Image credit: Alissa Ausmann)

This year’s contributors introduce themselves, describe their operations, identify challenges, and list their accomplishments for 2011

Equipment Manufacturing: Kim Shady, Laundrylux Corp.

Since graduating a long time ago from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, I have been involved in the hospitality industry in some form. I managed private country clubs for three years, owned a restaurant and banquet facility for five years, and have managed professional laundry sales organizations for the past 24 years.

Laundrylux, founded in 1955 by Bernard Milch as Wascomat of America, has been a leader in North America laundry equipment sales. In the past three years, with the introduction of the Electrolux brand in North America, the company changed its name to better match its future. Now, we offer two world-class brands—Wascomat and Electrolux—and both bring something unique and valuable to the table.

kim shadyOur core business is providing laundry solutions for lodging and long-term care facilities, but we are also strong in the fabricare and athletic industries. The challenges we face include helping our clients understand how to operate an on-premise laundry professionally and profitably.

The majority of our clients are focused on their guests or customers, and laundry operations tend to attract little focus. Lack of expertise in the laundry operation keeps them from understanding how to reduce costs and operate at their highest efficiency. There is a lack of understanding that all washers and dryers are not built the same. Selecting the proper laundry equipment can significantly reduce labor and energy costs. There can also be great savings in linen replacement with properly featured washers and dryers.

Our most impressive accomplishment for 2011 was assisting a nursing home group with 30-plus facilities in reducing its energy and labor costs. We brought an integrated system in which all pieces of laundry equipment communicate to a central computer. The nursing home group has taken control of its laundry operations through machine controls that monitor every facet of laundry costs. It outfitted most of its laundries with state-of-the-art equipment to monitor every location via the Internet. The information allows the group to compare facilities and set operational baselines. They can easily identify problems within days and define corrective actions to reduce energy or labor waste.

I look forward to sharing my industry experience and further building my knowledge from this panel.

Member at Large: Douglas Story, Swisher Hygiene

Most people call me Doug. I started as a researcher responsible for creating something new from the by-products of the papermaking industry. That research yielded various types of surfactants (detergents) and coupling agents that are now widely used in the laundry industry. That research effort, and leaving South Carolina to live with my bride in North Carolina, is the core of how I moved from research and development to the laundry industry.

douglas storyI’m a biology/chemistry graduate of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., with an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. For more than 30 years (25 in the laundry industry), I have worked in a career that has crossed many boundaries within today’s laundry business organizational structure.

From research chemist to global marketing and portfolio management, I have gathered a diversity of experience that has allowed me to develop a unique 4-D view of how organizations and their employees must work to accomplish the strategies and objectives of a viable laundry operation and business.

From personnel to operational needs, I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from the best our industry has to offer. I hope that I can pass along some of those “learnings” in this publication.

I am vice president of innovation for Swisher Hygiene, an international service organization that provides full-service programs for a wide range of cleaning and cleaning service operations. From the special expertise of servicing laundry needs or operation to the expertise required to handle solid-waste programs, Swisher Hygiene is a single source supplier.

My team and I are continually looking to the challenge of providing new technologies and services. We not only want to make everyone’s life easier but also aid our customers in reducing costs and enhancing the sustainable future of their operation and business.

Swisher Hygiene has been on the leading edge of driving a wide range of programs and services that will take the day-to-day burden of many operational procedures off the collective backs of management so it can focus on customer service and business growth.

Our challenges are also our accomplishments: we use innovation models to create new solutions to old and new problems for our customers. We are also looking beyond “what we’ve done for you today” to the next generation of ideas and innovative solutions.

Chemicals Supply: Marlene Williams, Anderson Chemical Co.

I am the lab/research and development manager for Anderson Chemical Co., a family-owned business in Litchfield, Minn. My background is in product development and support for laundry, kitchen and housekeeping for the institutional and industrial markets as well as sanitation technology and water management. I manage our R&D laboratory and have responsibility for quality control and our technical service network.

marlene williamsI’ve been the lab/R&D manager for 22 years and am part of a group of specialists with similar longevity who provide services for formulating and textile evaluation. We have developed laundry chemistry, most recently green products, in partnership with the EPA’s Design for the Environment Safer Product Labeling Program. We service institutional and industrial laundries through distributors across the country.

Our daily operation is variable, balanced between product development, quality, and support for chemical specialists in the marketplace. We provide machine and chemical program information, and laboratory troubleshooting support for our accounts. In addition to a well-equipped laboratory, we have established a network of industry specialists to cover the gamut of laundry challenges.

Challenges for the future include green chemistry product development for both chemistry and performance. Increased awareness and regulation requiring green formulations are with us now and will continue to expand in the coming year. Raw-material availability and cost will continue to be challenges as global markets compete for limited and specialized materials. Effective cleaning and sanitizing at lower temperatures and against a larger base of pathogens will require an expanded focus in 2012.

Our company has just celebrated its centennial. During those 100 years, we expanded our offerings from local to national/international. Our fourth-generation leaders are dedicated to moving the company forward in response to new and developing industry needs. I am excited to be a part of this year’s panel and look forward to the opportunity to learn and share with others in the industry!

Click here for Part 1.Click here for Part 2.Click here for Part 3.


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