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Tyler Reflects on Coronavirus

By Ken Tyler, Laundry Consultant

I recall my father who was on the USS Enterprise when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He told me we were attacked by surprise and were just not prepared and you could blame many “but to no resolve,” so give that a rest. “History will be the truth teller.”

Based on what I have seen these are my observations to date on the Coronavirus crises.

Because of labor and operational issues it is obvious that our industry is certainly essential in many respects.  Certainly health care support is at the top of the list whether providing textile care or environmental services to medical facilities, or those involved in providing parts and equipment to both private, corporate and government facilities.  We are truly all in this situation together.

In my opinion our supply chains which were a status quo day-to-day operation have been severely damaged and challenged by demands created by the virus. These require to be redesigned at all levels. Possibly the lights are now turned on with regards to the reusable and disposable textile issue and the reliance by our country on foreign manufacturing vs USA manufacturing. We must somehow rebuild that industry.

The challenge this has placed on all essential and non-essential industries is a true realization of how important all of our employees are and the importance of  human resources and logistics to every affiliated operation.  Regulations are changing daily i.e. stimulus packages, new employment rules, changes between federal and state regulations regarding pay and benefits etc., etc., etc., creating a rapidly changing situation.  It is important that all industry employees understand and appreciate all of these new changes, not an easy task – but important.

Of special note our professional organizations have served our industry very well, keeping all informed with both the administrative requirements and technical aspects specific to our situation, Thanks to TRSA and ALM and CLM in particular for keeping everyone informed.

For sure the importance of our essential industry has grabbed the attention of everyone involved in healthcare. The number of hospital beds are important but you need to be able to support these beds and medical staff with housekeeping, laundry services and a well defined internal space that supports these programs.  I’ll save these stories for a later article.

Good luck to everyone. Keep the faith.


About the Author: Ken Tyler, industry veteran, retired as VP Government Operations at Encompass LLC where he will continue to consult. 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.