By Scott Paton
Built-in obsolescence. Products that are cheaper to replace than repair have become the modern-day norm. Computers, appliances and televisions, just to name a few, are among our tech essentials that are now more likely headed to the scrap heap than a repair shop. But for the professional laundry concern, where a single machine of the wash-side/finishing process may be valued well into six-figures, reliable, consistent equipment is not only demanded by professionals, it is critical.
Odds are that the TV that you are watching is not 50 years old. Nor is the car you’re driving unless, of course, it has an historic license plate affixed to it. But around the world, there are washing machines and dryers, assembled a half-century ago –with the G.A. Braun imprimatur affixed—that are still rendering textiles as clean and dry as they did five decades earlier.
So what are the hallmarks of in-service ‘vintage’ equipment? What should you consider if you want your equipment to last?
Superior craftsmanship is essential to the long life of any product, but professional service and maintenance are the key components to sustaining even the best-manufactured equipment.
However, according to a recent study from the corporate-research organization The Conference Board, among the professions facing the largest percentage risk of labor shortages are plant and system operators—skilled technicians and engineers charged with running and maintaining industrial-grade machinery.
The laundry industry is not exempt from this prevailing trend, and a majority of leading wash & finishing equipment providers must outsource their support and service provision to independent contractors.
Support – Whenever You Need It
“When purchasing equipment you want to last, look for a company that has a large regionalized force of field service techs,” says Dave Clark, VP of Aftermarket Operation & Customer Service. “Speaking for Braun, we have field service techs around the U.S., Canada, and international certified partners who are trained by Braun. We have made a significant investment to be able to offer these skilled personnel in support of our client’s needs.”
Felipe Carrasco, Manager of Laundry Operations for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas says that proximity, however, is not the predominant factor in the quality of service. He values a personal vendor, client relationship and ease of contact when things go wrong.
“I have the direct cell number to our Braun support engineer,” Carrasco says. “I’ve never needed to call higher up in the management chain.”
But there are times that a simple phone call to a support line can resolve a majority of questions or issues. So if you’re deciding on an equipment purchase, seek out an equipment manufacturer that has a help desk, says Clark who adds that Braun operates a free help desk 24/7 for their equipment for those who purchase the equipment from Braun.
In Part Two of Buy Reliability & Support Services Not Marketing & Support Claims, we look at service schools, remanufactured equipment and replacement parts.
Pictured above: Felipe Carrasco, Executive Director, Laundry Operations MGM Grand, Las Vegas and Ray Burke, Braun Representative
About the Author
Scott Paton is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Textile Services, Laundry Today, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and The Baltimore Sun.