Survey: 2008 Throughput Exceeds Previous Year’s Total for Many


ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — When asked to compare their laundry’s poundage this year to its 2007 throughput, more than 60% of those who responded to the final Wire survey of 2008 said it was “much higher than anticipated” (12.9%) or “somewhat higher than anticipated” (48.4%).
Approximately 19% reported processing “somewhat less than anticipated,” 12.9% reported processing “virtually the same as anticipated,” and the remaining 6.5% lamented processing “much less than anticipated.”
Annual production ranged from 275,000 pounds to 36 million pounds, according to the survey results.
When asked about the overall condition of their operation compared to a year earlier, approximately 71% said it’s better, 22.6% said it’s the same and 6.5% said it’s worse.
Those whose poundage increased attributed it primarily to gaining institutional business or increasing total accounts (88%). Respondents could choose any or all among several suggested factors or offer their own.
Respondents also pointed to adding more production workers (28%); redesigning workflow (20%); adding, replacing or rebuilding production equipment (16%); improving transportation or distribution (16%); and expanding the facility or relocating to a larger site (4%).
Twelve percent of respondents cited other reasons, including higher demand, decreased wash cycle times and increased productivity.
Marketing efforts and “other” were cited equally (38.5%) as reasons that operations fell short of goals or expectations for 2008. In delving further into “other,” respondents mentioned the economy most often. Again, respondents could select from suggested factors or offer their own.
Administrative indifference and/or lack of support (30.8%), staff productivity (23.1%), maintenance efforts (15.4%) and equipment capabilities (15.4%) also shared the blame. No one identified regulatory changes as being a factor.
Competition has a significant impact on roughly 45% of respondents, who said it was “one of the main reasons why things get done.” It has “little effect” on the actions of 32.3%, and 19.4% said it has “absolutely no effect” on what they do. A small remainder (3.2%) said they aren’t sure about its significance.
Roughly 43% of respondents said that they or members of their management staff are eligible to receive a bonus based on their laundry operation’s performance.
Finally, respondents were asked to grade themselves on how well they managed their operation in 2008. Approximately 65% gave themselves a B, and 29% chose A. A small minority of 6.5% gave themselves a C. No one who responded chose D or F.
Subscribers to American Laundry News’ Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
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About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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