Field research shows that laundries which increase their spend on textiles by buying higher quality can see labour costs fall as a result, claims Danish textile manufacturer Peter Beirholm.

The company quotes a study of 300 laundries worldwide conducted by Q-Audit Management and Ben Johnson-Hill Associates of England and Denmark. This shows that on average the textile spend is 14.6% of turnover while salaries account for 26.2%.

But by increasing textile investments by 2.6% of turnover, the six best laundries in the study saw salary costs fall by 8% of turnover.

High performance textiles, says Mr Beirholm, are designed to handle the higher speeds that result as machine technology develops.

Further examination of the six best shows that in the ironing section, labour costs averaged out at 12.16 full time employees to handle 100,000 pieces bed linen per week, while those using cheaper textiles needed 19.36 on average.

Similarly 100,000 tablecloths needed only a workforce equivalent to 20.10 full timers compared to 37.28 when handling cheaper items.

Studies of folding and rewash followed a similar theme.

Folding 100,000 towels a week, the best laundries needed a force of 6.34 employees while the numbers required by the rest could be as high as 17.51.

High performance textiles were shown to almost halve the rate of rewash.

On sheets and duvets rewash was down between 1.6% to 1.8%, compared with an average of 6.5%. For napkins, rewash rates for the best were 3.8% to 5.3% compared with 10.3%, averaged out across all 300.

In all the study concludes, the six best could gain productivity of up to 26% by switching to higher performance items and improve the bottom line by over 5%.