Some industries are very visible to the public and yet others seem to have a much lower profile. Laundry is one of the lesser known industries, and most people do not realize how labor and energy intensive it actually is, or the impact it has on the environment.
Maybe it is a lack of glamour or maybe it is just that clean linens and sheets are taken for granted by the general public that is the reason for laundry being absent from business news.
However, industrial laundry is critical to the image and operations of more notable industries such as hotels and hospitals. Controlling laundry labor costs, energy bills and the environmental impact is essential to a successful operation.
Laundry Work Flow
Whether laundry is outsourced or part of daily operations, the key components of laundry remain the same. The object , like any business operation is to get the most production at the lowest cost.
The most critical operating measurement in laundry is Pounds-Per-Operator-Hour (PPOH) which represents how much linen each operator is processing every hour. A good PPOH is directly related to the design, the equipment conditions and facility management.
Therefore, maximizing the PPOH requires an effective work flow utilizing laundry equipment and sound maintenance practices. Some of the factors to be considered include:
- Strategically located staging areas for laundry intake, movement, washing, drying and folding.
- The position of assets relative to the production line.
- Ensuring equipment is in optimal working order such as working conveyor systems and washers with working rapid fill and booster pumps.
Although labor is the most expensive component of laundry there is a second part of laundry operations that has a direct impact, not only on profitability, but also on the environment and the image of the laundry, hotel or hospital.
“A typical laundry uses about the same amount of energy in the dryers as it does to heat the water… A laundry for a 250-room hotel releases almost as much Carbon into the atmosphere as 19 average cars.”
Source: Laundry Consulting
Fortunately, technology has improved to the point that newer washers and dryers use less overall energy. This is especially true with washers where higher-end industrial machines can now extract significantly more water from a load. The less water left in a load the quicker it will dry using less energy along the way.
Other laundry assets that use high amounts of energy include, ironers, feeders and folders. Ironers for example come in a variety of sizes and may be powered by either steam (which requires a steam boiler), oil, gas or electric. Once again, the ability to remove water from a load plays a key role as it takes 2,000 Btu’s to evaporate one pound of water.
Laundry Asset Maintenance
As mentioned above, the layout of a laundry facility is very important to PPOH. However, it is not the only consideration in order to have an effective operation. Laundry asset maintenance and the condition of the facility itself also impact costs.
Proper maintenance of laundry assets is a must for laundry managers. Good maintenance practices can identify current and potential problems, keep equipment in prime operating condition and reduce downtime.
7 Laundry Operations Benefits with a CMMS
One good solution for laundry asset managers is to make use of a laundry CMMS to ensure that equipment and the laundry facility are being maintained for both the short and long-term. CMMS helps laundry maintenance managers by:
- Keeping track of all assets including their location work management history and current condition. This is especially effective for multiple locations.
- Scheduling all preventive maintenance, rounds and inspections so that minor problems are detected and fixed before the production line comes to a halt. For example:
- Checking hard and soft mount washers for movement and/or vibrations problems
- Inspecting piping for leaks. Steam and water leaks accelerate the corrosion process. Fuel leaks can result in a disaster.
- Conducting thermal infrared scans of heat bearing connections to avoid fires or detect probable fail points.
- Ensuring all safety equipment is working properly.
- Lowers labor costs due to a reduction in downtime and emergency repairs.
- Automates the work order process to reduce time spent filling out paper.
- Lowers energy costs as well maintained equipment uses less power to operate.
- Enables laundry asset managers to better forecast when equipment will need repaired, refurbished or replaced.
Although commercial laundry operations do not have a high profile they are certainly important enough to make sure all equipment is functioning properly and to ensure that their carbon footprint is minimized.