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Textile Comparisons, Adding Products (Conclusion)

What to consider before adding new products, lines

CHICAGO — In today’s environment of supply challenges and the continual quest for the best, most cost-effective goods, research is key.

That’s more true today regarding textile goods in laundry/linen services than ever before.

Operations need goods that please the customer (and the end-user) while meeting an acceptable price point and lifespan.

And laundries may also be considering adding products to add to their bottom lines. How can an operation best compare textile suppliers, goods and possibly new products?

American Laundry News reached out to several textile experts to find out solid methods for these comparisons in order to help operations make the best decisions possible.

Many of these decisions might be influenced by the supply issues the textile industry is facing, and American Laundry News will examine the supply-chain difficulties in a future issue.

ADDING PRODUCTS

When it comes to adding new products and lines for added income, the key is making sure the products in question serve customers.

First, Steve Gasner, vice president of commercial laundry sales for A1 American based in Pacoima, California, says a laundry/linen service must understand its customer requirements, making sure it can deliver on promises. 

“Certainly, sustainability is critical, so gain the right commitment from the supplier and the customer,” he says. “Today, you need a clear understanding of timing or lead time. Advance annual purchase orders from both sides are valuable if you want everything to go as planned.”

“When it comes to introducing new products to customers, we recommend that the laundry sales or management team partner with the textile company in conversations with customers,” says Alex Heiman, healthcare business unit leader of Standard Textile in Cincinnati.

“The textile company brings expertise not just about what the product is but how it works in a variety of patient and clinician circumstances. The laundry brings a great relationship and processing expertise to the table.”

He goes on to say that when it comes to getting fair pricing, it’s all about measuring value produced by the new product.

“We see three avenues of potential value that a textile company can develop,” Heiman points out. “Decrease overall cost of ownership through levers like acquisition price, durability or reduction of processing cost; make the patient recover faster and be more comfortable during their stay; and help the clinician succeed in unique and compelling ways.

“All three of these avenues typically come with hard cost ramifications that directly drive a fair price.”

Steve Kallenbach, director of market solutions for American Dawn Inc., headquartered in Los Angeles, says that when a linen service evaluates new products to offer, first it needs to determine the market need.

“Identify the core product attributes,” he says. “Vet out potential products against the technical specs realized, and decide if you want to meet or exceed the market need.

“Study the market pricing and back into the needed cost. Evaluate the product, price point, cost (including acquisition and life-cycle), and margin, based on your product positioning against the norm (same/better/economical alternative).”

“Look beyond list price to value and effective life of a product,” recommends Timothy Voit, chief marketing officer for Thomaston Mills in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. “Short-term thinking is a trend whose time has come and gone.”

“Adding product lines is risky unless you know that the lines will be available after all the supply chain problems are gone,” cautions Chuck Loitz, senior vice president of the institution division for Venus Group in Foothill Ranch, California. “Sticking with a dependable supplier like Venus assures the customer that the products will be top quality and available when the pandemic is over.”

“I believe that most commercial laundry customers when considering new products, vet the supplier’s experience and competence along with the product(s) itself before entering into any type of supply agreement,” adds Joe Haughey, senior vice president of sales for Star Linen USA in Moorestown, New Jersey.

Miss Part 1 on how to evaluate textile suppliers and goods? Click HERE to read it now!