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Survey: Many Laundry Managers Say 2019 Operations Good

Respondents also hopeful to meet 2020 priorities

CHICAGO — Laundry and linen service operations fared well 2019, and many managers are hopeful to meet priorities and goals for 2020.

That’s what respondents indicate in a recent American Laundry News Your Views survey.

“2019 was very good, and we were very efficient,” shares one respondent.

Almost 60% of respondents answered “good” to the question, “Regarding your laundry/linen operation/business, how would you rate its 2019 performance?” Just over 18% indicate performance for the year was “great,” while 21% say it was “average.”

Only 3% of survey takers share that their laundry’s performance was below average, while no one answered “poor.”

“We achieved production and efficiency goals throughout the entire resort as planned through careful planning and dedication despite the inability of other hotel departments to effectively manage their standards,” writes one survey taker.

Almost 82% say that their business, regardless of how they rated performance, turned out as expected for 2019. 

For operations that had a good year, reasons for the positive results include:

  • Strong economy, kept to our operational plan.
  • Hard work and great teamwork.
  • Landed many new accounts; started new operation.
  • Achieved efficiency and overall production cost reduction.
  • Budget projections were accurate and growth was steady.
  • Moved to a new, larger facility; business is booming.
  • Training my staff on proper laundry procedures, reorganizing the lines for better production and teamwork.
  • Got some much-needed capital to buy some new washers.

Factors for services that had a less-than-stellar year include:

  • Lost large account.
  • High replacement inventory year.
  • Unanticipated expenses; trouble finding proper employees.
  • Loss, turnaround time, budget.
  • Higher than average pricing.

As would be expected with nearly 80% of respondents indicating 2019 was a good or great year, laundry and linen services met many of the goals set for the year.

Nearly 70% say their operations “accomplished some of our goals” for 2019. More than 27% accomplished all established goals. None of those who took the survey indicate their operations didn’t accomplish any goals, but 3% did share that their laundry didn’t set goals for the year.

When it comes to the No. 1 priority in 2020 for those who took the survey, productivity and staffing top the list. Here are all the answers recorded:

  • Increase productivity, 25%
  • Retain/improve staff, 18.8%
  • Add or replace equipment, 15.6%
  • Improve distribution or route management, 12.5%
  • Market service to attract more business, 12.5%
  • Other (increase volume, reduce recidivism, set up), 9.4%
  • Increase quality, 6.3%
  • Create greater energy savings, 0.0%

“We need qualified managers,” a respondent shares. “Knowledge is leaving through retirement.”

And, as would be expected, respondents indicate positive attitudes toward accomplishing their priorities for 2020. Almost 50% say they have a good chance to achieve the goal, and 30% say they “will accomplish it, without a doubt.”

The remaining 21% say their operation has a “50-50 chance” of accomplishing their priority.

“We have improved our quality and performance in our field and we intend to continue to do this into the next year as well as upgrade out equipment,” shares another respondent.

However, one survey taker cautions, “2020 may be a challenge as costs for linens increase due to tariffs and wage increases in the developing countries.”

While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.

Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each quarter. 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 identify industry trends.