CHICAGO — More than 86% of laundry managers polled say they find worth in attending industry events such as conferences, trade shows and service schools, according to the results of this month’s American Laundry News Your Views survey.
Industry events are regarded as a “somewhat worthwhile” investment by the majority (59.3%) of laundry managers surveyed.
Close to 9% of respondents are indifferent about attending these industry events (“neither worthwhile or worthless”), while more than a quarter of respondents say conferences, trade shows and service schools are “very worthwhile” to attend. Only small percentages believe these events are “not very worthwhile” (1.7%) or “not worthwhile at all” (3.4%).
“Learning about new products, processes and technologies” is the biggest draw in attending laundry/linen industry events for 43.1% of respondents, while roughly 14% say they enjoy the “networking opportunities and catching up with colleagues.” A small slice of respondents say they attend industry events to “[receive] advice on management and business growth” (5.2%), while roughly 2% listed “other” attractions for attending. While no respondents attend these events solely for “social activities,” roughly 36% say they look forward to all of the benefits listed.
In terms of their reasons for not attending laundry/linen industry events, equal shares of 36.8% say their “facility can’t/won’t spare the expense” or that their “schedule is too busy.” Close to 11% say the “benefits of attending aren’t worth [the] cost and effort,” while some listed “other” (5.3%) reasons for not attending. “Some of the events may not be interesting, while others are,” one respondent says. “We attend events that will benefit our operation.”
Other respondents say the scheduling of industry events “conflicts with other team members’ vacation/travel plans” (3.5%), while close to 2% “have no interest in attending” at all. Another 5.3% of respondents say they do not attend industry events because their “operations suffer when [they are] away.”
Overall, respondents say their travel plans impact their operations, with 22.4% saying “plant issues aren’t dealt with in a timely manner.” For 12.1% of respondents, “customer and/or employee dissatisfaction increases” while they are away, while 6.9% say “employees aren’t as productive.”
Close to 2% of laundry managers listed “other” ways their facility suffers while they are away, while the majority say that their “absence doesn’t affect operations” at all (56.9%).
When traveling for business, many laundry managers say they cannot leave without bringing their electronic devices, like tablets, laptops and cell phones, while others listed business cards as the must-bring item.
To maximize their experience at these laundry/linen industry events, respondents stress the importance of preparedness.
“Give staff enough notice of your travel. Have all priorities completed in advance. Complete your mission as to what you want to accomplish at the event(s),” says one.
“Plan it out in advance and know your agenda for the conference and be flexible to try out new things during the event,” says another.
While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.
All managers and administrators of institutional/OPL, cooperative, commercial and industrial laundries are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.