What Trends Are Affecting Commercial Laundry Operations?

Commercial laundry operations are undergoing a transformative period driven by trends such as increased automation for efficiency, a shift towards sustainable practices, and the adoption of digitalisation for optimised workflows. The industry is embracing outsourcing and managed services, customised solutions, and advanced textile technology to meet evolving customer expectations.

Big Blue I Landscape
By
Freya Gutteridge

Business & Insights

Commercial laundry operations play a crucial role in maintaining the cleanliness and hygiene of various industries, from healthcare to hospitality. These operations are constantly evolving to meet the demands of the modern world. 

In this blog, we'll explore the key trends that are shaping the landscape of commercial laundry operations.

Automation revolution

One of the most prominent trends in commercial laundry operations is the increasing use of automation. Automation has streamlined the laundry process, making it more efficient and cost-effective. Modern laundry facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art machines that can sort, wash, dry, and iron clothes with minimal human intervention. This not only reduces labour costs but also enhances the overall quality and consistency of the laundry service.

Sustainable practices

With the constant pressures of ESG targets, businesses are starting to recognise the environmental impact of laundry processes, such as water and energy consumption and the use of chemicals. As a result, they are looking to adopt more sustainable methods.

One of the key changes is the move towards energy-efficient machines and water-saving technologies. High-efficiency washers and dryers not only save on utility costs but also reduce the environmental footprint. Moreover, the use of biodegradable detergents helps to reduce impact and enhance employee health and safety. Whilst this is becoming a more considered part of laundry operations, the extensive costs of machinery mean that many laundry services have been slow to adopt, meaning sustainable solutions are still fairly limited within the market.

Where we differ from traditional laundries is that sustainability has been at the forefront of our mission from day one and continually strive to reduce our impact. Find out more about our sustainability practices here.

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Digitalisation and data analytics

Digitalisation allows laundry operators to track and analyse every step of the laundry process. From the number of loads processed to the time taken for each load, this data helps in making informed decisions, reducing operational costs, and optimising the workflow. Predictive maintenance is also a significant aspect of data analytics. By monitoring equipment performance, operators can predict when a machine may require maintenance, reducing downtime and repair costs.

Where we have gone one step further is with our wash tracking system which allows us to track items through the different stages of the laundry process, giving our clients much more visibility of their stock and operational efficiency. Learn more about our dedicated client platform.

Outsourcing and managed services

Outsourcing offers several advantages, including cost savings, access to the latest technology, and improved service quality. This trend is especially prevalent in the hospitality and healthcare industries, where maintaining high hygiene standards is critical.

Managed laundry services not only handle the washing but also take care of linen management, inventory, and delivery. This shift allows businesses to focus on their core operations, leaving laundry to the experts. It also offers a level of flexibility that can adapt to fluctuations in demand.

We are proud to be the first carbon-neutral laundry facility to achieve EN 14065 accreditation. This means that we can reach the critical hygiene standards required by hospitals and clinics, sustainably. Learn more about our hygiene accreditations.

Customisation and personalisation

Customers today have higher expectations for the quality of laundry services. Commercial laundry operators are responding by offering more customised and personalised solutions. 

Customisation extends to factors such as the choice of detergents, fabric softeners, and water temperature. Commercial laundries are increasingly offering specialised services for different industries, such as healthcare, where sanitisation is paramount. These tailored approaches ensure that laundry meets the specific requirements of each customer, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

Client support and efficiency

While many commercial laundry services still use pen and paper, we opt for an advanced system which allows users to have autonomy over their orders. You'll have the ability to understand the percentage of products that are actively in stock versus those that are not, you can anticipate when certain items will be returned and plan ahead for upcoming deliveries. This level of insight can help you avoid any unexpected shortages and ensure that you're always prepared to meet your customers' needs.

Advanced textile technology

Innovations in textile technology have had a significant impact on commercial laundry operations. New fabrics are being developed with characteristics that make them more durable, resistant to stains, and easier to clean. This reduces the wear and tear on linens and clothing, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for frequent replacement. In fact, we work with a number of clients to test new fabrics and treatments to ensure our services are always evolving.

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Occupational health and safety

Laundry facilities are now implementing strict protocols for handling contaminated linens and personal protective equipment (PPE). Enhanced training and protective measures for laundry staff are essential to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and maintain a safe working environment.

Supply chain challenges

Like many other industries, commercial laundry operations have faced supply chain challenges. These challenges include fluctuations in the availability of detergents, chemicals, and textiles. The global supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a profound impact.

Laundry operators have had to adapt by stockpiling essential supplies, seeking alternative sources, and, in some cases, reformulating their processes. These supply chain challenges have emphasised the importance of contingency planning and diversifying sources.

The industry is transforming

Commercial laundry operations are experiencing a transformative period, driven by automation, sustainability, digitalisation, and changing customer expectations. The laundry industry is evolving to meet the demands of the modern world, with a strong focus on efficiency, sustainability, and customer-centric solutions. As these trends continue to shape the industry, commercial laundry operations will undoubtedly play a vital role in maintaining hygiene and cleanliness across various sectors.

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