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Think Before You Act on Chemical Supply Changes

By Ken Tyler

There are unseen challenges when changing chemical suppliers in a laundry.  So if you’re considering a switch – look before you leap.

The primary focus regarding chemical suppliers is the service they provide to your laundry facility.  In most cases, there is minimal difference between the actual chemicals being provided or processes in distributing those chemicals. Usually, each supplier provides the mechanics and storage to deliver results and meet customer demands.

Although it’s important to consider all opportunities, it is also important to understand that, more often than not, service rules over actual chemicals provided. Most laundry managers understand the process but often someone else, possibly not educated or experienced in washroom operations will fall to unproven techniques.

COVID-19 is something that everyone in the industry is concerned about right now.  But keep in mind that your washing process – which in most cases is doing the job correctly – is complimented by high drying and flatwork ironing temperatures. Not much of anything can survive that operational effort.

So what should you consider when looking to change chemical suppliers?

Keep in mind all the costs and logistics required to dispose of certain chemicals you may have already paid for, and the financial outlay necessary to change out systems and supply lines that control your washing operations.

In some cases the laundry operation must shut down in order to reinstall and calibrate new systems. Think ahead and prepare for this disruption in service.

Before changing your supplier, make sure you understand your facility’s state and federal regulations and involve those who have that knowledge. Also be sure to check contractual responsibilities with your present provider.

When changing chemical suppliers, make an educated decision.  Sometimes there are more logistics than simply thinking you’re making the right decision for the right reasons.

Make sure you know you’re making the right decision for the right reasons.


About the Author: Ken Tyler, industry veteran, retired as VP Government Operations at Encompass LLC. He currently consults for Standard Textiles. Tyler managed the entire textile and laundry operations for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for 23 years. Prior to that, he was the director of textile and uniform operations for the Department of the Navy, US Marine Corps where he was responsible for all fleet and base laundry operations. He retired from the VA in 2000, ending 35 years of government service. Tyler planned and managed the design and construction of 57 VA laundries and he established quality standards for laundry system and textile inspections.