BRADENTON, Fla. — Two are better than one. Craving additional capacity and production, Laundry Plus recently moved to a new state-of-the-art industrial laundry plant—and to keep pace with booming sales added a second Girbau Industrial (GI) TBS-50 Continuous Batch Tunnel Washing System.
The twin tunnels—capable of processing up to 70,000 pounds of laundry in an 11-hour day—opened the door to new business, dropped water usage to 0.6 gallons of water per laundry pound, and more than doubled production, officials say.
Each system features a 12-module TBS-50 washer, SPR-50 Water Extraction Press and associated conveyor and shuttle systems. These systems share 10 inline ST-100 Dryers (250 pounds of capacity each). All system components are controlled from a central station where customer goods are color-coded and tracked throughout the washing, extraction and drying process.
“We didn’t expect to grow so much so soon,” says owner Rick Rone, who installed the first GI tunnel system just four years ago.
Even though that system added 30,000 pounds of laundry capacity per 10-hour shift, Rone quickly found himself at a production threshold. Business boomed as Rone took on new accounts.
Laundry Plus—focused on delivering a quality product and excellent customer care—promises a 24-hour turnaround on customer-owned goods (COG), and Rone believes it’s this commitment that sets his laundry business apart.
“We were running the first tunnel 24/7 and couldn’t take on any more laundry,” he says.
ORCHESTRATING THE MOVE
It wasn’t easy to orchestrate the laundry’s move into a new plant. Nonetheless, Laundry Plus production and service never ceased. The first phase of the move maintained production at the old plant while the new GI tunnel system and ironing lines were installed and tested at the new plant. Once those systems were operational and programmed to meet the needs of every client, laundry production at the old plant halted and the new plant took over. The final phase involved moving existing equipment from the old location to the new one.
A huge undertaking, this involved relocating, installing and testing a GI tunnel system, Continental open-pocket washers, three ironing lines and more. Production using the existing equipment kicked in once it was fully operational. The resulting gains in productivity and efficiency have positioned Laundry Plus for new business and much more.
NEW PLANT, EQUIPMENT FULFILL MULTIPLE GOALS
By adding a second GI tunnel system and moving equipment from two buildings into one, Rone enjoys streamlined production. The new plant—with its arsenal of high-performance equipment—opens the floodgates to new business, ensures backup in case of a mechanical failure, and allows Rone to launch a new linen rental program.
Happy with the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of his first GI tunnel system, Rone maintains the decision to invest in a second identical system was a no-brainer. He likes the security they bring.
“No one else in our area has enough capacity to bail us out if we have a machine failure,” he says. “By running both tunnels 12-15 hours per day, we put ourselves in a position that if one of the tunnels or shuttles goes down, we can run the remaining tunnel 24 hours per day and control our own destiny.” This ensures Laundry Plus customers receive a 24-hour laundry turnaround— no matter what.
And, by adding linen rental, Rone maintains he can better manage laundry production and further improve profitability. Currently, Laundry Plus launders 100% COG.
“We’ve locked in on a linen rental program,” he says. “We are getting contracts put together, specifying packages and isolating customers to call on. We’ll bring in a minimum of 3.5 to 4 par level for our own needs.”
“With linen rental we will have enough par level to launder our own inventory,” he continues. “That way, we can balance the production schedule and stabilize the use of our machinery.”
No matter the segment of business pursued, Laundry Plus processes it efficiently and quickly, using less labor, Rone says.
“Our goal hasn’t changed. Quality and service come first. We definitely know we could cut labor costs further, but every time you take human eyes away from your product, it creates another chance that something will slip through. Value is the operative word at Laundry Plus. We aren’t necessarily the cheapest, but we offer the most value of any industrial laundry out there.”
Nonetheless, Laundry Plus has drastically cut labor since 2010, when it dropped from five employees on the conventional wash line to just one on the first tunnel system. Now, with two tunnels, Laundry Plus uses two employees to load the tunnel conveyor and enter customer programs. From there, laundry automatically passes through each of the 12 tunnel modules, into the press and dryers.
Similarly, bolstered ironing and folding lines amp productivity and quality, using less labor.
Check back Thursday for Part 2, looking at ironing and the value of open pockets for food and beverage.