Q&A with Charlie Robards26 December 2023
Charlie Robards, business development manager at Miele Professional
What trends are you currently observing in hotel laundry?
There’s no doubt that the professional laundry industry has experienced extremely challenging conditions in recent times. Pressures resulting from the rising cost of energy and increased hygiene measures has put an enormous amount of strain on hotels, causing many to reevaluate their entire operations. This has created a shift in laundry management. In the past, laundry managers were mainly concerned with the initial cost of investment but now more and more are becoming interested in long term profitability and choosing equipment that delivers efficiencies and cost savings. This will take into account everything from the cost of machinery through to the detergents used and water temperatures – it’s a much more holistic approach.
Would you recommend an OPL rather than outsourcing?
Yes. Laundry that stays onsite is easier to manage and will help deliver faster room turnaround times. An on-premises laundry (OPL) will also provide more control and enable correct procedures to be followed when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness which in turn, will instil quality values in laundry staff. Additionally, enhanced control reduces the risk of laundry items being lost or damaged and supports good customer service. It’s also a lot more sustainable as not only can you choose equipment that has lower consumption values and eco-friendly programmes but it also means that there is little or no reliance on transport to collect and deliver laundry.
If starting from scratch with an OPL, what should a hotel laundry manager consider?
Consulting with a laundry specialist is the best place to start whether you’re considering investing in an OPL or if you are planning an upgrade. They can advise on where is best to locate the laundry facility, confirm the required services and utilities for the equipment, explain the installation requirements and processes, and also advise on the best appliances to meet the daily laundering requirements of a busy hotel.
What’s more important, OPL design, equipment – or both?
The two go hand in hand. At Miele, we are extremely well versed in designing laundry rooms, providing layout plans and can offer detailed specification drawings and advice regarding the services/utilities requirements, along with a free of charge site visits and consultation. This specialist advice and planning, combined with the most up to date efficient technology results in a winning combination. Our experts will work closely with you to set quality measures and targets for the laundry which can then be applied and met on a daily basis.
Can hotels with unusual or small spaces install an OPL?
Of course! We understand that space is at a premium for hotels but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for a laundry. A laundry can fit into all types of spaces with great flexibly including a cupboard, a storeroom, or even a low-occupancy guest room. Our latest generation of “Little Giant” commercial machines, for example, are based on a similar footprint to that of domestic machines and can be stacked to accommodate all sorts of spaces. The minimum space requirement can be as little as 1m2. Whether your laundry is located on the top floor or in the basement, our experts can help find the best solution to your requirements.
“At Miele, we are extremely well versed in designing laundry rooms, providing layout plans, detailed specification drawings and advice regarding the services/ utilities requirements”
In your opinion, what key features should equipment have to support effective laundry management?
Commercial machines should be built to last and be both durable and reliable. They should have short cycle times, easy-touse programming and efficient energy and water consumption. We recommend choosing equipment with maximum sustainability credentials to help minimise environmental impact. Finally, partnering with a supplier that can help you collect and analyse data can also help you improve laundry processes.