In the fourth and final installment of our series, this year’s contributors to the American Laundry News Panel of Experts introduce themselves, describe their operations, identify challenges and list their accomplishments for 2007.
HOTEL/MOTEL LAUNDERING: Neil MacDonald has managed the laundry at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club in Lihue, Hawaii, since the property opened in 1995. His other experience includes managing laundries at the Ihilani Resort & Spa on Oahu, the Westin Century Plaza Hotel and the Westin Kauai Resort.
I’m honored to be able to participate in this forum again. I hope that I can share some of my knowledge with you and that it will help your operation.
I’ve been in the laundry business for about 20 years. I started as an assistant housekeeping manager and then moved up to laundry manager. I’ve completed two parts of the American Laundry and Linen College (ALLC). I’ve had the opportunity to open the laundry department in two different properties, and I’ve had the privilege to travel and assist other laundry operations within the company I work for. I love what I do and have the best job in the world.
There are 31 associates on my schedule. I’m in charge of all linen and uniform purchases. Our operation processed a little over 5 million pounds last year. Our facility is not fully automated; we load and unload all washers manually, and we have a hoist for loading our 500-pound dryer. My storage rooms are spread throughout one of the 10-floor towers.
Our resort consists of 356 hotel rooms and 242 two- and three-bedroom timeshare units. We also have two outside accounts: a 240-room timeshare property and a 340-room hotel.
The challenges that I face are, of course, caring for the new bedding packages that our property and the others have changed to. The hotel side here has been converted to a duvet and 300-thread-count sheets. The timeshare conversion is set for the latter part of 2008. Another challenge we face is keeping items from multiple accounts separate. We also have a new property coming on board in 2009.
I’ve been married for 26 years and have three children and two grandchildren. I coached soccer for 19 years. I enjoy playing electric blues guitar and am an avid mountain biker (I ride at least 50 miles a week).
I’ll be talking to you again soon. Make it happen in 2008! Aloha.
LINEN SUPPLY: Bill Kartsonis is the president of Superior Linen Supply Co., Kansas City, Mo. He's the immediate past president of the Kansas City chapter of the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) and is a Master Hotel Supplier certified by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA).
Earl Nightengale said that a person should do what he enjoys, and he will be a success. Without a commitment to service in your heart, you won’t enjoy the linen supply business.
The beauty of our industry is that our customers rely on us. We’re a utility and we have to perform like clockwork. The pressure to perform reliably every day and produce thousands of clean items is a responsibility we don’t take lightly. My customers have entrusted me to operate a laundry that has been in our family for nearly 100 years. I’ve done this as an adult for 30 years now.
Efficiency requires investment. For the past 30 years, it’s been said that the typical linen supply operation uses half the water and energy that an on-premise laundry does. Now, that figure is one-fourth. We must be highly efficient in the use of all resources, which demands that we invest in wash systems that reuse water and wring energy.
Our new wash system is set to use 0.8 gallons per pound vs. the 7 gallons per pound that our washers used 30 years ago. Through the use of multiple heat exchangers, we’re able to feed preheated water to the washer at a temperature within 1 degree of the waste stream. With energy costs as high as they are, and water and sewage costs continuing to climb, there’s only one choice: spend more money.
Labor efficiencies have always been essential. Today, we enable our workers with more efficient machines. Demand is so high that equipment manufacturers are backlogged six months. We keep adding folders, which will sort as well as fold better and faster. And there are feeders for tablecloths, sheets and small pieces. Maintaining quality is a continuing challenge as you speed up production.
In 2007, we pioneered the implementation of a vacuum-fed, sort-on-rail system to allow us to fully automate the wash process.
After sorting, the linens wash and dry themselves according to the process and order keyed in by management. We handle COG linens, so the system tracks each sling and item.
To attain the greatest wash efficiencies, we strive for only full-pocket loads. We save partial loads so they can be matched with the same customer and washed as full slings the next day.
All-new technology requires an investment of time and patience.
So, I must enjoy what I do, which focuses on serving people. Investment in a state-of-the art laundry doesn’t yield a rapid return. Perhaps lint is in my blood, but this is what we do.