From being a family owned business, Jensen has grown to become the world’s largest supplier of heavy-duty laundry equipment. Although 40% of the shares are still family owned, the Jensen Group now has seven operating companies, including five European production units, a US factory and a sales company in Singapore.

Jensen’s management has been single-minded in its ambition to be able to supply, not just individual pieces of machinery, but total laundry systems to customers in any part of the world.

To serve this ambition, the Group made a number of significant acquisitions, including the German Senkingwerk in 1998, and most recently American L-Tron, makers of heavy duty washer-extractors. These have given it a ready-made and comprehensive product range. It is now reorganising its sales and distribution network to support and market its manufacturing capabilities.


Just over a year ago Jensen bought Futurail, the manufacturer of a heavy-duty bag-handling system, from Polymark, a laundry equipment company which had been the Jensen UK representative for many years.

At the time of the purchase of Futurail, Polymark was beginning to see an increase in its sales of Jensen machines, but given Jensen’s ambitions to be a world player it became inevitable that instead of relying on an agency, Jensen would set up its own UK sales and marketing division. It bought back the rights and assets related to the distribution of Jensen equipment in the UK from Polymark.

Jensen’s global distributor network is now based on ‘Sales and Service Centres’ (SSCs) to support its dealers and agents, wherever they are located, by providing instant commercial and engineering expertise.

Six months ago Jensen set up its UK Sales and Service Centre in Banbury, near Oxford, the site of its earlier acquisition Futurail and also of the original Polymark offices.

The SSC will market and sell Futurail systems as well as other Jensen products.

“Our expertise in designing and installing the Futurail systems is widely used by the Jensen Group dealers” says SSC general manager Dennis Rutland.

“We are selling total laundry systems, not just pieces of plant or bag conveyors. We engineer the whole process, conveyors, tunnel washers and finishing systems for laundries all over the world. It is all part of the Jensen UK competence” he says.

Turnkey jobs

Before Jensen set up its SSCs, its agents would get a customer inquiry and then invite representatives from the Jensen manufacturing group to make a presentation which could involve six or more different companies from as many different parts of the world.

After the re-organisation, each SSC has become a one-stop point for Jensen’s agents and their customers. Each has the autonomy, the expertise and the resources to progress and manage major projects.

More than a dozen people work for the SSC at Banbury: salesmen, designers and project engineers with many years experience of laundry equipment, installation and flow patterns.

“Our strength” claims Dennis “is to be able to go into a laundry and see what is needed. Our engineers recognise that it is more than bolting machines to the floor. We know more is required than that. The services, drains, supports and ventilation systems are all part of the package. To do a full turnkey job takes a lot of knowledge and experience. There is no standard solution.” As a measure of the SSC’s success and capabilities, Dennis Rutland cites two projects; the White Knight Laundry in Eastbourne and a medical specialist laundry in Inverness, Scotland. Both are turnkey projects worth more than a million pounds each.


He says Jensen UK also gets involved in projects in continental Europe with other Jensen organisations calling on the UK company’s expertise. The Jensen Group use Deutschmarks as the inter-company currency but will soon be trading in euros. However, this will not apply to business undertaken in the UK. “People in this country are not ready for the new currency” explains Dennis.


Jensen’s new UK set up is only at the beginning of its development. The old Polymark building is being refurbished. New offices for Jensen’s SSC are being created, office furniture being moved and the decorators are waiting to get started. In the manufacturing and assembly plant, the Futurail product has been redesigned and new manufacturing and procurement techniques introduced. The process of change is evident throughout the building.

“The laundry business has suddenly become global” says Dennis. “Our customers, the laundry managers, may only think as far as their immediate horizons but for the manufacturers it has become a world market with no boundaries.” Futurail employs more than 50 and has an ever increasing workload. Using extruded aluminium for the rail systems, the components are light, durable and superbly engineered. With the product marketed through the Jensen distribution network and with the support to other SSCs in France, Germany, Singapore and the United States, the UK company’s turnover has doubled in the past year.

Jensen Futurail engineers at the UK site design, develop and manufacture the overhead monorail systems for the heavy-duty laundry industry. Futurail was founded in 1969 to meet the growing interest in automation. It can boast of more than 30 years experience and has installed more than 1000 installations to its credit.

The Futurail bag-handling system plays an important role in the integration and automation of the laundry workflow. The system is re-configurable, installations can be modified, reusing existing components and modules.

“We continue to innovate, constantly introducing improvements to the Futurail product range.” says Simon Nield Futurail’s general manager.

“A totally updated design of the rails and trolleys has now been undertaken and the new system has achieved impressive results in several reference laundries. The system is easy to install and trouble-free in operation.”