This month’s feature on textile rental concentrates on this sector from the viewpoint of the companies that provide these services. The difficulties that the sector has faced with rising costs have been well documented but their long-term effect is such that the message and the need for more concerted action in areas such as pricing is worth reinforcing.

The companies I spoke to do seem to be making positive efforts to make operational savings and improve efficiency and also to introduce more realistic pricing. However, perhaps more need to follow the example and make a greater effort to compete on quality rather than price and to work closely with customers to see how this can be achieved.

Two other concerns will also have a long-term effect – linen security and misuse by the customer. TSA, in co-operation with the UK Housekeepers Association and the Institute of Hospitality, is running a joint poster campaign to increase awareness of both problems. Individual operators need to underline those efforts by taking a closer look at security both in their own business and at their customers’ premises.

Linen abuse/misuse is perhaps an even more complex problem to solve, a matter of co-operation between launderer and customer and staff training. Launderers may need to impose a surcharge where the responsibility can be clearly identified. But even trained staff, under pressure, may occasionally reach for the nearest towel or napkin to wipe up spills, or forget to lock a linen room after use. Messages about security and linen abuse will need constant reinforcement to be effective.
Janet Taylor jtaylor@laundryandcleaningnews.comJanet Taylor
The drycleaning industry has again come under attack from , Which?, this time for its stain removal skills. TSA has rightly said it takes the report seriously but it also points out that findings of recent mystery shopper research show 90% satisfaction with its member drycleaners. It advises consumers that TSA members will reprocess items free of charge in cases of dissatisfaction and the report does acknowledge this.

But as TSA says it is important that everybody learns from the findings and where necessary improves performance and training. Which? reports have a high standing with the consumer and are often seized on by national media, so the word spreads and the drycleaning industry’s image takes another knock.

Roger Cawood’s article on stain removal this month is timely. As a well-respected industry trainer for many years he is in a position to take a broad view of what is happening out there on the high street. Though he sees examples of best practice, he feels that there is often too great a reliance on repeated pre-spotting and re-cleaning. He also stresses the importance of thorough inspection both at the counter – and at the end of the process before packaging.

Do read his article and show it to staff both to reinforce good practice and to help where skills may need improving.

Finally as the end of the year approaches, season’s greetings to all readers.

Janet Taylor