Usually, it’s a combination of both.

However, most laundries now operate to much higher levels of performance and “quality” standards.

Problems of poor washing and soil or stain removal are normally quickly resolved with the assistance of detergent and chemical suppliers, and/or by calling on the investigative and analysis services which are available from a number of test houses.

Likewise, finishing problems are usually addressed rapidly and resolved in-house and/or with the assistance of suppliers and outside agencies. It is in the area of customer expectations that most problems arise.

This is often due to service and sales personnel offering potential or existing customers, unrealistic levels of performance and quality which cannot be achieved or sustained – economically or operationally – by the laundry service’s available production facilities.

This might be because of: the supplied textile; the nature of soiling and staining generated by the user; the available processes and machinery available; or simply because the “standards” in place are not monitored or understood by production staff supervisors or managers.

The answers to where the problems lie can usually be found in the performance specifications. These should state clearly what standards should be achieved and maintained in washing and finishing of fabrics, presentation and delivery.

Most of the factors that generate customer complaints and dissatisfaction can be avoided by addressing the question of correct performance specifications at the start!

However, no matter how good the specification may be, it is not going to be effective if it is not properly understood, monitored and controlled by the laundry and the customer.

A recent specification required that hospital theatrewear – tops and trousers – were given a pressed finish “because the garments would look smarter”.

But the only way this laundry could “press” garments was to put them through the calendar and the resultant creasing, twisting and deformation and abrasion damage created by garments becoming jammed in the roller beds, caused considerable problems for that launderer – as well as a highly dissatisfied customer!

This was entirely due to an unrealistic requirement from the user being accepted by a laundry which had not the means to achieve it.

Do not attempt to sell what you can’t deliver!