TRSA's Tech/Plant Summit 2007 Off to Sunny Start

Bruce Beggs |

ATLANTA — Building upon the success of an event that has grown more popular annually, the Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) welcomed more than 250 attendees to sunny Georgia Tech University on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to begin Tech/Plant Summit 2007.
Filling an auditorium in Tech’s Global Learning & Conference Center, the attendees – hailing from the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands – were greeted by TRSA committee chairs and staffers eager to run down the three-day agenda of plant tours and industry education sessions.
Cyndi Brandt from UPS Logistics presented the keynote emphasizing The Value of Logistics. Textile service companies trail perhaps only package delivery companies in the number of trucks they have on the roadways. Making fleet operations more efficient can decrease transportation costs, improve customer service and increase delivery productivity, says Brandt.
It isn’t enough to use index cards or pushpins and colored string to map out this week’s routes, she says. There’s a variety of routing software products on the market that can provide as much or as little planning help as is desired.
The traditional approach of focusing on daily, tactical route planning leads to what Brandt calls “reactive” planning, which can find a operator tweaking their routes due to volume fluctuations, making off-day deliveries and pickups, and even adding vehicles when capacity falls short, all of which create added costs and headaches.
She favors a more proactive approach, even using more than one route scheduling method to gain the greatest business advantage. Keys to best practices are to plan a transportation strategy, collect data in support of your strategy, analyze that data regularly and then implement changes based on your analysis, she says.
It’s critical for both drivers and your sales force to embrace your transportation strategy, because either can short-circuit your attempts to get things headed in the right direction.
Following Brandt’s presentation, the attendees headed off to attend the sessions of their choice, ranging from Is RFID Really a Solution for My Business? presented by Tony Regan of Datamars, to Could your Facility be Focused Upon by the EPA? by Rhonda Amendt of U.N.X., to Soil Sorting Technology: The Beginning of the End, by E-Tech’s Duane Martinson and Bill Clark.
Other first-day sessions explored flatwork processing, water reuse and recycling, and dryer efficiency.
XML programming and its potential to facilitate data interchange between different plant systems was given a great deal of attention. Attendees learned how a task force developed by TRSA and the Uniform & Textile Service Association (UTSA) is advancing the issue of a standard programming format, and a subsequent session explored XML from the perspective of textile service operators.
Summit attendees wound down the first day with an evening Information Fair and Reception at the host hotel, networking with other operators in a trade-fair setting that featured more than 50 companies.
Wednesday’s agenda included tours of Alsco’s suburban Doraville plant (acquired last fall in its acquisition of National Linen) and the WellStar plant in Marietta, followed by another afternoon of educational sessions.
The Summit wraps today after a morning of sessions on production management, garment finishing, flatwork technology, preventive maintenance and more.

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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