CHICAGO — With the 2017 Clean Show coming up in Las Vegas in June, laundry and linen service managers from around the country will have the chance to visit with equipment, chemical and textile vendors face-to-face.
However, since Clean only occurs every other year, most managers consider visits from their vendors to be important throughout the year.
That’s the result of the most recent American Laundry News Your Views survey.
In fact, 57.6% of respondents consider vendor visits “highly important,” and 30.4% say the visits are “somewhat important.”
The figures take a dramatic drop after that, with just 6.5% being indifferent to the visits and the remaining 5.5% considering on-site vendor meetings somewhat or highly unimportant.
“You get an idea of the type of person they are and how much they know about their product,” writes a respondent, about what is gained during a visit. “It’s nice to see a face from time to time, instead of hearing a voice over the phone or receiving an e-mail.
“I think it is good customer service when they stop in to see how things are going and not always trying to sell you something.”
When asked why vendors usually visit their laundries, most respondents (37.4%) say vendors stop by for general customer service. More than 13% say vendors visit to help identify and fix a problem, while 7.7% make stops to offer advice on operational improvements.
Of course, vendors have a responsibility to their company and clients to talk about new products and technology. Second only to general customer service, 28.6% of survey respondents say that talking about what's new is the main reason for a vendor visit.
“If they would show up, best practices for their products, how to solve particular problems with customer products—to name a couple of items I would discuss,” one respondent writes about the gain of a vendor visit.
When it comes to the types of vendors that visit laundry and linen service providers, 61.5% of survey respondents say it’s usually chemical suppliers. Next to visit most often are equipment vendors (18.7%), followed by textile suppliers (13.2%).
“We discuss upcoming changes that will affect how my laundry operation may change. Fewer chemicals needed, different delivery system for chemicals,” one respondent writes about visits. “We discuss how the newer washers and dryers will impact times and most importantly costs.
“Some of these changes also include other non-related items such as computers. If I buy new equipment, will my office computer be able to network with them? Will I need to add office equipment to better utilize my laundry equipment.”
Besides vendor visits, survey respondents identified other ways that vendors could help their operations.
Top of the list? Send information. Nearly 67% of respondents want vendors to send them information on both new products and technology, and educational/informational materials.
Almost 33% would like a phone/e-mail check-in from their vendors.
And nearly 40% of respondents indicate they would appreciate a visit during a trade show, like Clean.
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.