A great asset for servicing a large number of guestrooms in short time, your hotel laundry room is indispensable for controlling your inventory of linens and terry. On the other hand, if mismanaged, the laundry room can be a liability, waste of energy and a slow cog in the system. The laundry management tips listed here are the by-product of years of experience in hotel business.
Evaluate your process
One way to improve the overall efficiency of your laundry department is to examine your standard operating procedures and the communication between the departments. Everyone should understand the process of unclean linens getting in and clean linens heading back to the rooms, with an emergency plan at hand. If you can identify the bottleneck areas, perhaps you need to revise the process. There might be a staff deficiency, or a room turnaround time frame is too short.
Equipment comes first
Having your laundry out of order is expensive in terms of both the wasted labour and disgruntled guests. In a system such as a hotel, when the laundry can’t keep up with the demand, the room attendants can’t complete their tours of the rooms, leaving front desks unable to check guests into clean rooms. Regular and professional equipment maintenance by a qualified laundry mechanic is critical in keeping your laundry department online all the time.
All about the load
Commercial laundry washers are designed to operate within their rated capacities. Overloading and underloading puts the machine off the balance and causes excessive vibrations and damage to its internal parts. Always make sure your laundry has a working scale and that the operators always weight every load and fill the machine to its rated capacity.
Technology of iron and fold
While the washing machine is the vital part of your hotel laundry, the flatwork ironer is not far behind. Keeping your ironer in great shape is crucial for hitting the productivity maximum with your laundry crew. A single operator working four hours with the latest generation towel folder can do the work of two manual workers folding towels for eight hours. The latest folder models can even differentiate between hand towels, bath towels and bath mats, so no presorting is needed.
Efficiency before speed
In order to compensate for poor results of worn ironer pads, laundry workers sometimes reduce the speed of ironing. For example, if your ironers are designed to press sheets at 30 meters per minute, slowing it at 25 m per minute reduces the productivity by 20 percent. In other words, what should’ve been 10 hours of pressing now takes 12. And if you have five people manning your ironer, those 10 hours of labour are wasted. This is why it’s essential to replace worn ironer pads every 18 to 24 months, since they harden and fail to dry fabric effectively.
Any kind of major switch in technology is more of a headache than it’s likely worth, but in this case, going with highly effective equipment can make a big difference. While updating your entire laundry operation to Energy Star rated machines takes an investment, you should start with its core element Ð the steam boiler. A gas fired steam boiler with the efficiency rating of no less than 80% and with fully automatic operational and minimal maintenance requirements is ideal for clothes-pressing and laundry operations.
Examine chemical costs
Besides energy, another high cost related to the laundry department is the cost of cleaning chemicals. Examine the type of chemicals you hotel laundry uses and see if the type and brand justify the price. While disinfectant capabilities are important, some more abrasive components may shorten the life of your linens, giving way to a completely different kind of inefficiency.
Keep linen in stock
Linen shortages resulting from the laundry department falling out are inconveniences that echo around your hotel. When your hotel is short on linen, the room attendants need to waste time looking for missing items and can’t complete their room tours until the missing items arrive. Streamline the linen turnaround by having at least three complete turns of linen and terry to keep everything running smoothly even in the case of a laundry operation stall.
In the hotel business, efficiency can have many faces Ð from the overall service to guests and seamless room preparation to the energy efficiency and smooth coordination between the departments. Although the efficiency of the laundry department is inseparable from other hotel activities, there are improvements in the process and technology that can make your laundry department an exemplary operation within the hotel.
About the author
As a senior business consultant, Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.