By Bill Brooks, North American sales manager for UniMac®
Last week in my article, “Four Reasons to Install New Equipment That Puts You in Control,” I discussed how new equipment can benefit laundries in the areas of water and energy usage – while maintaining an optimal wash, and we explored how today’s equipment control and reporting methods can lead to significant financial savings for a laundry.
In completion of my article, below are the third and fourth reasons why modern advancements make your OPL smarter than ever – while saving your laundry money.
3. Increase Productivity with Advanced Technologies
In addition to reducing utilities, incorporating over-dry prevention technology into your OPL also puts an end to staff having to guess when a load is dry, resulting in increased productivity and throughput. Also, washer-extractors with programmable cycles can increase an operation’s productivity by providing straightforward options at the touch of a button.
The Living Center, a 99-bed long-term care facility in Marshall, Missouri, knows this firsthand. The facility’s OPL also processes laundry for other medical facilities on the 72-acre Fitzgibbon Hospital Campus, and machines run up to 20 hours per day to keep up. In 2013, the long-term care facility partnered with OPL expert RJ Kool Company, who recommended the appropriate equipment and wash formulas to fit their needs. Since upgrading its OPL, The Living Center has seen a significant increase in productivity along with notable reductions in labor, linen and utility costs.
Theresia Metz, administrator of The Living Center, says a key attributor to these improvements is that employees now have access to specialized cycles that are based on common stains and load types. Several cycles were even created to cater to the special needs of the laundry coming from different parts of the campus. Metz appreciated the attention to detail and believes it has certainly paid off.
“Every cycle is matched perfectly with the proper type and amount of wash formula to address the stain that needs to be removed,” Metz explains. “Now, employees simply select the correct cycle and let the machines do the rest. Very little error takes place.”
New laundry equipment with smart features not only boosts productivity, but can reduce operating costs. As such, laundry managers should keep in mind that initial equipment costs represent just 8-12 percent of your total laundry budget. Labor, linen replacement and utility costs represent 66-87 percent.
By reviewing performance dashboards, a laundry manager or distributor can take control of these costs. For example, by analyzing machine data that shows idle time between loads, a manager can ensure machine downtime is at a minimum and productivity is at a maximum to conserve costs.
“Having remote monitoring and advanced reporting in your OPL is like having a laundry manager standing there tracking information at all times,” Downey said. “If an employee lets the laundry sit in the dryer for a significant amount of time before unloading it, then they just lost production time and that means added labor costs. You would not have known that unless you had someone standing over the employees watching them.”
4. Cleaner Linens That Last Longer
Another reason to outfit your OPL with over-dry prevention technology is to preserve linen life, so you protect your expensive investment and spend less on replacement. With over-dry prevention technology, linens experience less fiber loss compared to fabrics dried without it. In fact, this accuracy can result in 31 percent less fiber loss when compared to machines without the technology. It also reduces the risk of over-drying, scorching and damaging linens, thus preventing the need to replace them more often than necessary. With linen replacement representing between 13 and 25 percent of an OPL’s overall budget, the potential savings to be had by using over-dry prevention technology are not insignificant.
You should also consider implementing spray rinsing technology when upgrading your equipment. This innovation leaves up to 22 percent less residual wash chemistry in the load compared to machines that utilize bath rinses alone. Unlike bath rinses, which only dilute wash chemistry, unique spray rinse technology pulls chemicals through the load and down the drain, ultimately providing superior rinsing results.
Effective rinsing is a must, because if chemicals remain on linens during the drying process, the heat will cause them to yellow over time. Additionally, the residue left behind can cause linens to become stiff and rough, which negates the purpose of the original investment. Metz says replacing machines at The Living Center has resulted in cleaner linens that last longer.
“Before, linens never smelled clean and stains always remained after washing,” she said. “We were constantly throwing away linens that were brand new.”
When considering whether or not to replace laundry equipment, be sure to remember the initial investment can be almost immediately offset by a decrease in water and energy usage, increase in productivity, and overall better visibility to laundry room operational costs. By installing equipment featuring state-of-the-art technologies including over-dry prevention technology, spray rinsing technology and advanced control systems featuring cloud-based reporting and monitoring tools, laundry managers can feel better than ever about the state of the laundry room.