WOODRIDGE, Ill. — Century Linen & Uniform was founded more than 105 years ago in Amsterdam, New York, by Frank Robison and Willard Smith.
Today, the company is owned and operated by the Smith family and has grown to include three plants serving healthcare, hospitality and industrial customers across the state of New York.
Soon after Century Linen completed its new healthcare plant in Johnstown, New York, company leaders realized they were strapped for resources and lacked the data to truly understand the overall operational performance of their plant.
They needed an operations management solution to help them automate the estimated 50 hours a week they had spent collecting and inputting data into their custom-built Excel reports.
The solution was to use operations management software that increased access to real-time performance metrics, enabling data-driven operational improvements and increased productivity.
The problem was, which operations software should they work with?
According to Gary Fuller, executive vice president at Century Linen, “The biggest decision was to work with Spindle or use a solution our equipment provider offered.”
The company was already familiar with their equipment provider’s solution, having previously installed it in one of their other locations. When it came time to decide, what lead to the selection of Spindle over expanding their current solution?
“We broke it down to see what the differences were, between pricing and the features provided,” says Fuller. “What were we getting as far as the data, reporting and the support for our money.”
PARTNERING FOR SUCCESS
Originally, Century Linen & Uniform planned to install the hardware and hardwiring themselves, but soon realized it had too many other projects and initiatives on its plate.
The plant was installing washers and dryers in two phases and reached out to see if Spindle could help with the installation process.
“There was no problem switching gears,” shares Fuller. “It happened very quickly and very efficiently. It allowed our team to focus on the other installations at hand.”
When asked about his experience during the first few months with Spindle he says, “I think there is a learning curve, but it’s reasonable. There were no huge difficulties.
“In the first month, Spindle did a good job of alerting us what to watch for, what to stay on top of and what the most important things to focus on in the first five or six weeks are. We did a good job responding and staying ahead of that.”
After setting out to find a solution that would save time with automation and gain access to more powerful reports, Fuller believes Century Linen & Uniform got what it was expecting.
The team has eliminated the approximately 50 hours a week of collecting and inputting data.
“We’re spending our time looking at the data and use it to our advantage,” Fuller shares. “Rather than tracking the data, we’re utilizing it now.”
In terms of reporting, he says, “We now have the ability to look at our performance and opportunities by classification, job type, machine or team members. We can discover whether someone is in the wrong place in the plant and figure out if they are performing better on gowns than on towels.”
Because the Century Linen & Uniform team was doing multiple projects around the plant when Spindle was installed, Fuller was hesitant to say whether they are seeing a return on investment with Spindle, but one thing is for certain—since the team installed Spindle and completed their various projects around the plant, the team has seen a linear pounds per operator hour (PPOH) improvement.
The Century Linen team plans to focus on utilizing more features in SpindleLIVE to uncover their largest areas for opportunity.
They plan to start diving into their historically poor performers and identify ways to help coach them to start meeting standards.