Tell-Tale Signs of Production Malady

By ALM Admin posted 03-27-2019 14:44



Faster isn’t better when quality suffers. Rushing to increase production, but delivering textiles that are stained, torn, or even possibly unclean, will only lead to rejects, rewash, and redoing your budget, ultimately losing customers.

Recently, we contacted Judy Reino, CEO of Reino Linen and president of ALM’s Board of Directors, and Arthur Dueno, Director of Laundry and Uniform Services at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. While Reino’s plant focuses on hospital linen and Dueno’s on hospitality, their responses were similar when asked what to look for to spot productivity issues.

“For us, it’s ensuring the fundamentals of laundry,” said Dueno. “Sorting and loading efficiency, stain rates, tracking reclaim and discards, and the overall control of the flow through the plant.”

Dueno went on to share that they work towards 100% efficiency. Sorting errors are less than 1%, as is the stain rate at Swan and Dolphin. They also experiment with new chemical options available to ensure they are using the best solution for their needs.

Both Dueno and Reino assert watching the numbers is key and affect the overall costs. Looking at the cost per pound and pounds per operator hour (PPOH), key indicators for any laundry manager, can highlight problems before they become too costly.

“It’s all about the metrics,” said Reino. “Pounds per operator hour, utility costs, quality metrics, waste, are they producing linen I can comfortably deliver, knowing it’s clean, folded properly, free of stains and tears—I don’t want to lose due to returns!”

Reino also pointed out transportation costs can have a large effect on your bottom line, as well as on your customer’s overall costs.

“Do I have my routes planned properly? That’s where my transportation manager comes in,” said Reino. “Looking at truck routes by delivering clean, then picking up soiled without constant backtracking. If it’s a small account, I help them define their needs and look at having fewer deliveries while still meeting their linen demand to save both them and myself money.”

Reino and Dueno both mention the value of having the right people in place to build an effective flow. Laundry managers must look at if they have the right people in the right spots, as well as the correct quantity of people to ensure everyone is working at a good, comfortable speed.

“Production speed should be fast, but comfortably fast,” said Reino. “My employees shouldn’t be killing themselves to meet our production needs.”

Both professionals agree emphatically on one point: maintenance. Their facilities avoid higher costs to maintaining equipment through skilled maintenance staff and good planning.

“Daily preventive maintenance is performed after-hours,” Dueno said. “Our total laundry downtime averages less than 3 hours per month. Our equipment, even when it’s at least 3 years old, looks like new.”

Having an effective maintenance tracking system to avoid costly unplanned downtimes, as well as knowing when to stop helping a piece of equipment limp along or if it’s just time to make a new purchase, are invaluable skills in a laundry’s maintenance engineers.

“If a piece of equipment isn’t running properly, I’m not an expert, I couldn’t tell you what was wrong with it,” said Reino. “It may be making a funny sound to me, or it looks like the goods are coming off the back in a fold I don’t quite like or I know it’s not what it was programmed for. I couldn’t tell you how to fix it. I couldn’t tell you if it was a one-time aberration. So I have to emphasize, you need good people who understand it.”