CHICAGO — The laundry and linen services industry is made up of businesses that take in soiled goods, process them and then return clean, hygienic goods to customers.
At first glance, it may seem like the only human engagement the industry has is the touch and feel of clean goods customers enjoy, possibly some interaction with sales and route service representatives.
But there is so much more to the industry.
Laundry and linen services touch lives beyond the laundry in many ways, from the employees to customers to communities, from offering needed assistance to offering job satisfaction.
American Laundry News columnists-at-large Tommy Cocanougher and David Griggs volunteered and dove into the topic, recording observations about the human side of laundry from their respective experiences and operations.
In the conclusion, Griggs, director of operations development for Superior Linen Service, writes about the many opportunities available in the laundry industry to build employees’ lives.
EMPLOYEE LIFE CHANGES
There are probably few industries that offer more opportunities to be promoted than the laundry industry. We have long been an industry where if you are willing to work hard and use a little common sense, then you can pretty much go anywhere you want to go.
I know I have personally been able to move from the morning maintenance person to the general manager just by working hard and trying to keep the company’s best interest in mind with any decision I have made.
I know several other team members in our company who have made similar career moves. That may be a reflection of the company we have been fortunate to work for; however, I see this same occurrence in other laundries.
I have had the opportunity to work with countless immigrants who, when they started for us, could barely speak any English. Those same employees come to me proudly a few years later requesting a day off so that they can be sworn in as American citizens.
Their children often go on to college. That is truly the American dream in action—with the first steps being helped along by our industry.
We are also an industry that forgives past mistakes and helps people rebuild their lives.
It seems like in the past we were an entry-level industry. That means many folks went to work in a laundry as their first job out of school and then maybe they would move on to something else.
We have noticed that we seem to get more applicants that life may have run them aground and are looking for a restart. These humbled people are just looking for a chance to start over, and a laundry seems to be the perfect starting point.
To be fair we are a demanding industry. By and large, we don’t have many work-from-home jobs. We are more of a hands-on industry.
Since we are an addictive industry that doesn’t seem to be an issue. I know I have spent close to 40 years working in a laundry and can’t remember one day that I left and thought “we were perfect today.”
There are always improvements to be made both with efficiencies and quality, which is also something I enjoy about our industry. You are never “there.”
The road to improvement is always taking a new turn that keeps you engaged and excited to come to work.
Click HERE to read Part 1 about how operations care for their employees, communities and customers.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].