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Survey: 44% of Operators Say 2009 Throughput Better Than Expected

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ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart. (Image: Alissa Ausmann)

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ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart. (Image: Alissa Ausmann)

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — Nearly 60% of respondents to American Laundry News’ final Wire survey for 2009 said their laundry’s poundage was “much higher” (25.9%) or “somewhat higher” (33.3%) in comparison to 2008 figures.
Approximately 22% reported processing “virtually the same amount,” 14.8% reported processing “somewhat less,” and the remaining 3.7% lamented processing “much less.”
Total estimated production for 2009 ranged from 638,000 pounds to 21.8 million pounds, according to these anonymous reports. One respondent reported their laundry operation was shuttered this year.
Taking the economy into consideration, 44.4% said their operation’s throughput was better than they had expected, while another 44.4% said it was about what they expected. Roughly 11% said their throughput was worse than expected.
Operators whose production rose attributed it primarily to gaining institutional business or increasing total accounts (84.2%). Adding, replacing or rebuilding production equipment (36.8%) and redesigning workflow (31.6%) were other important factors. Respondents could choose any or all among several suggested factors or offer their own.
Expansion or relocation to another site (10.5%), adding more production workers (5.3%) and improving transportation/distribution (5.3%) also helped boost production.
Nearly 16% of respondents cited other reasons, including a change in linen-usage patterns, a greater emphasis on preventive maintenance, and greater demand for blankets from a local homeless shelter.
The primary cause for falling short of annual goals or expectations this year, according to 60% of respondents, was a “slowing or loss of business due to economy.” Another 50% cited “other,” but upon further analysis, it became clear that their reasons were also related to hard economic times.
Capabilities of equipment, maintenance efforts, and regulatory changes — each selected by 10% of respondents — also shared the blame.
Nearly 30% of respondents reported having had to cut staff members this year.
Competition has a significant impact on setting and meeting annual goals for roughly 44% of respondents. They said it was “one of the main reasons why things get done.” It has “little effect” on 37%, while 11.1% said it’s the main reason for action. Minorities of 3.7% each said that competition has “absolutely no effect” or they were unsure of its impact.
Finally, respondents were asked how their bosses would grade their 2009 management performance. Approximately 48% said they would receive a B, 37% chose an A, and 7.4% said C would be their final grade.
Subscribers to American Laundry News’ Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to participate anonymously in a brief industry survey each month. While it presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, the survey should not be considered scientific.
The entire American Laundry News audience is 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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