TRSA’s Production Summit & Plant Tour Thrives On Operational Diversity

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — June 28, 2022 — The TRSA’s Production Summit & Plant Tour took place at the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown in Chicago from May 18-19, 2022, and attendees experienced a gathering of some of the industry’s most successful operators who discussed their latest process improvements for improved throughput and profitability in plant operations. The Summit addressed market areas including healthcare, industrial and linen supply.

Summit participants enjoyed a day of sessions and networking opportunities, including keynote speaker Kevin Ames, the founder of Ames Leadership Institute. Ames provided an outside perspective on labor market shifts and how laundry operators can adapt. Other sessions included:

  • ‘Legislative Update’
  • ‘Recruiting and Retention in the New Market for Talent’
  • ‘New Wastewater Challenges’
  • ‘Plant Safety & Health’
  • ‘Benchmarking’
  • ‘Mitigating Supply Chain Problems’
  • ‘Recruitment and Retention Tactics Panel Discussion’

Summit attendees emphasized the impact of COVID-19 during the program with participants discussing how employee retention has deteriorated during the pandemic, and what steps operators can take to combat these challenges. Panelists suggested that mental health was a main driver for this issue, as employees require a sense of stability, and placing a stronger emphasis on stability when advertising job positions could help promote staff longevity and resistance to recession-related challenges.

Recruitment expert Kathleen Quinn Votaw encouraged employers to reframe their focus from “recruiting” to “talent acquisition,” highlighting an important point for attendees to consider: “Employees don’t work for you. No one ever did. They work for their families.” Attendees backed the idea that the industry’s HR and sales personnel can collaborate to find and acquire talent, with TSRA leading the charge through collaboration by its HR and Marketing & Sales committees.

While candidates hesitated to endorse Votaw’s idea of inviting families and friends to a catered lunch to encourage candidate referrals, amid concerns about its likely payback, there was support for increased on-site dining events to reinforce team building, which could have a positive impact on retention.

The next day, attendees visited two of America’s largest operator’s local plants: UniFirst Corp.’s year-old 64,000-square-foot facility in Hammond, IN; and Alsco Inc.’s 20-year-old 185,000 square-foot plant in Chicago.  The hosts at both plants described not only what they have, but why management had chosen their various plant systems.

Attendees praised the tours. “UniFirst Hammond, very impressive; both the new plant and the proud knowledgeable staff, an example for our industry, said one attendee. “Alsco Chicago, a huge facility, well maintained and great quality product.”

Further information about this event can be found at:

Posted: June 28, 2022

Source: TRSA