WASHINGTON — March 21, 2017 — More than 100 uniform, linen and facility services industry executives traveled here this week not only to speak on behalf of the industry on Capitol Hill, but to advance their individual professional development. They prepared for market and regulatory shifts and prompted TRSA to support their organizations through improved industry-wide education, certification, research, benchmarking and information-sharing.
More than 70 member organizations sent representatives to the TRSA Leadership & Legislative Conference. The majority of participating laundry companies were regional and local operators who took advantage of the event’s versatility, capturing insights on legal issues surrounding workforce management and receiving updates on industry best practices through presentations and TRSA committee meetings.
Education sessions began Monday, March 20, when Brent Weil, senior vice president, Manufacturing Institute, announced a partnership with TRSA to support our industry’s employee recruiting. TRSA members will soon be able to take advantage of the “Dream It. Do It.” program, gaining access to market-tested materials targeting young people, parents, and teachers. Posters, brochures, social media, videos, and web content will aid launderers in developing career awareness, building internship and apprenticeship programs and attracting military veterans to employment.
Michael Lotito, a Workplace Policy Institute attorney, offered a glimpse into likely employment law shifts under the new presidential administration. The Obama administration’s “overreach” into business with onerous equal opportunity and wage/hour laws may cease, he forecast. Newly appointed National Labor Relations Board members can be expected to be tougher on unions. This relief will take several months to appear, however, as Congress slowly confirms appointees.
With news reports of Cintas Corp. closing its acquisition of G&K Services as a backdrop, conference attendees heard about industry consolidation elsewhere: the United Kingdom. Chris Sander, CEO of the U.K.’s Johnson Service Group, noted that his company is one of two competitors that combine for 85 percent of the workwear market there. Customer retention is 95 percent. Still, economic pressure from mandated wage increases and apprenticeship tax levies are threatening corporate bottom lines across the economy.
His view of the road ahead for Johnson sounded like an appropriate charge for any U.S. launderer: increase automation, work faster and more efficiently, and produce better quality. “We need higher outputs per person per hour and must use far less energy than we do now,” Sander said. (The latter is a particular problem in the U.K. because of declining nuclear capacity.) “At the same time, we need to be far more customer-focused as an industry, embracing technology internally and externally, allowing customers quicker and better access to information (on their textile product/service consumption).”
Monday’s agenda concluded with networking events for two interest groups representing demographic segments critical to industry growth: women in uniform, linen and facility services management and young/emerging corporate leaders.
Following their visits to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning, participants returned to the conference host Gaylord National Harbor Resort for TRSA committee meetings. Eleven committees met during the event plus the Board of Directors. Among the member programs/services planned:
- Benchmarking data on trends in voluntary employee termination
- Interactive online training for plant- and branch-based department managers and employees
- Recruiting/orientation videos explaining functions of various plant machinery/departments
- Support for promoting the superior economics and sustainability of reusable isolation gowns, bedpads and surgical textiles compared with disposable equivalents
- Template for a combination of metrics, including capacity and productivity data, that individual operations can use to dramatize their value to customers beyond simply highlighting their low cost
- Videos for the laundry customer marketplace promoting Clean Green and Hygienically Clean certifications
Posted March 27, 2017