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Keys for Keystone: Inventory Three Times a Week and Keep ‘The Beast’ Fed (Part 1 of 2)

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keystone resort, colorado
Visitors can paddleboat or canoe across Keystone Lake during the summertime. (Photo: Robert Miller/Vail Resorts)

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Richard Griffin
Richard Griffin, laundry manager for the Keystone Lodge and Spa.

KEYSTONE, Colo. — You might not expect a town of 825 permanent residents to have much need for production laundry services, but try adding 230 inches of annual snowfall, 19 ski lifts, 135 ski runs, cat skiing, night skiing, high-speed gondola rides, ice skating, and hockey.

Twenty-five thousand pounds of rooms linen each day adds up pretty quick for Richard Griffin, laundry manager for the Keystone Lodge and Spa.

Griffin, a veteran laundry manager and vice president of the Association for Linen Management, operates a tight but effective production hospitality plant at the Vail Resorts property. Service requirements include three different levels of linen quality serving 400 hotel rooms and 1,600 condo units.

He recently spoke to American Laundry News about the challenges of linen management and distribution at the seasonal resort laundry operation.

“The key to our linen management success is controlling the inventory,” Griffin says. “We provide linen services here at the Keystone Lodge and Spa, but also to a number of smaller properties in Keystone and over the mountain at Breckenridge, as well as for 1,600 condo units in the area.”

Q: How do you keep track of inventory at so many locations?

Griffin: We physically inventory the available linen at all of our major drop points three times per week. One of my employees, separate from the delivery person, visits each location and does an inventory. This gives us hands-on knowledge of what is needed in each area.

If we get a call requesting a linen delivery, I already know what they have and where it is. The goal is to keep linen from being stockpiled in dead inventory.

We have storage and staging in a building adjacent to the laundry. We build our orders in bulk carts with help from in-house linen management software, and with information provided by our physical inventories. Each cart is then tagged so the customer knows what they received.

Q: What about par levels?

Griffin: The transportation requirement for off-site clients increases the par level requirement. Most of our hotels maintain a par level of three to four. In addition to all the normal stuff you deal with in meeting deliveries, we have some special high-mountain conditions.

Q: Like what?

Griffin: Weather affects a lot of things out here. The skiing here is great due to the volume of snow that we get. Laundry carts don’t roll through snow very well.

Linen in transport from offsite locations back to the laundry can get frozen. “Thawing” is typically not in the standard ALM linen cycle process taught at ALLC (American Laundry & Linen College) back in Kentucky. There are times when linen arrives at the laundry frozen solid. We have to bring it inside for several hours before we can begin sorting.

Tomorrow: How operating a tunnel differs from a conventional wash aisle...

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