During every Clean Show, I dedicate a number of hours to investigating the smaller 10-foot-by-10-foot booths to see if I can find a new idea or a new solution to a problem.
It’s easy to spend all my available time at the large equipment manufacturers, the cart companies, chemical vendors and linen vendors and accidentally miss out on something new.
It takes someone with stubborn determination to religiously investigate all of the small booths. I do it because I’ve never failed to find at least one new idea at the show from one of these booths that helped my operations.
This year I found the potential answer to a question that I was asked on Sunday night, just before the show began, by a Canadian laundry manager.
A number of nursing homes in his area were asking him to process their linen, including residents’ personal items. He asked me for the best way to process them and what I thought a fair charge would be for handling the residents’ clothing.
I must admit that I wasn’t a lot of help, because I’ve avoided doing residents’ clothing. I told him about the various laundries I’ve known that have processed resident clothing and how they handled it. Neither of us had a warm and fuzzy feeling about this type of service.
On the third day of the show, I came across a small booth that was selling a new product I’d never seen before. As I listened to the sales presentation, I realized that here was a potential answer to the question of how to best handle personal clothing.
The loop device, paired with what they called a “sock snare,” is designed to hold a number of personal clothing items together, but in a less restrictive manner than a mesh bag. The loops come in a number of colors so they can be color-coded by facility or by floor.
This little invention will allow a facility to send a large quantity of personal clothing items to the laundry, with each person’s clothing (8-10 garments) securely anchored to a labeled loop. The clothing can then be effectively processed through large washing equipment. The nature of the loop will allow better agitation than can normally be achieved when the goods are in a mesh bag.
The loop will also allow the items to dry faster and more completely. It won’t damage the insides of washers or dryers as laundry net pins can do. With this product, I could envision how I could effectively handle the processing of residents’ clothing.
I may never use the product for this purpose, but I’ve already found a use for them: an identifier to attach to my clean-side monorail bags to help keep track of which bags contain rewash and which bags belong to a large “COG” customer. They’re easy and quick to attach.
Now, the use of this product may not save me enough money to justify my trip to Clean 2007, but it will certainly be something that I will use for many years to come.
It’s one of my little golden treasures that I found in one of the small booths at the Clean Show.
I hope more of my fellow attendees will join me at Clean 2009 in carefully reviewing the small booths as we search out the latest idea that will help us stay one step ahead of the competition.