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23 Sep

Laundry Strategies: Dealing with equipment breakdowns & interruptions


When I first entered the laundry business years ago, one of the first and probably most important lessons I learned from my father-in-law Max Stettner at Penn Linen & Uniform Service, was to have a contingency plan in place. Unfortunately not owning a crystal ball, we do not have the luxury of knowing in advance when a natural disaster might strike or worse yet when our machinery may break down. A contingency plan is the key to successful operations as it will ensure you can still deliver your products in a timely manner even when things take a turn for the worst.

Contingency plans may vary as all laundries have different needs and do not have the same plant layout or processing equipment.  In some cases where operators may have multiple plants, these plants may be strategically located close enough to be able to handle added capacity in the event work needs to be transferred to another location. Some plants also have back-up equipment on site in the event a piece of equipment fails or breaks down. A perfect example of this might be an extra boiler on standby in the boiler room. This way should the boiler break down; the spare could be fired up and running in no time with production not missing a beat.

Other strategic moves might be extra inventory, whether it is on site locked up in a room on consignment with their supplier, off site in another distribution center or even on the shelf at their supplier’s distribution center.
Utilizing your relationships with fellow laundries in your area could also be part of a contingency plan.  Laundry operators are the nicest people and it seems that whenever a disaster hits, we all are willing to help out one another if we can. In the event of a disaster that halts production, you could try reaching out to a laundry in your area in which you have a good working relationship. As long as they are not affected too, they may be able to help produce some production while you get your plant back in order.

Bottom line, it is important to have a contingency plan in the event a disaster hits, whether it be weather related or a machinery breakdown.  With proper back-up you will not miss a beat and your deliveries will continue to be delivered on a timely basis.

What contingency plan(s) has your laundry used when disaster hit?

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