Improving Linen Inventory Control in Your Commercial Laundry
For most businesses, inventory control may seem like a complex problem. Commercial laundries, in particular, are especially vulnerable to such issues, regardless of whether it’s their own linen or those of their clients’.
Given that many laundries across the world are only beginning to move toward technology-driven solutions to tackle inventory control, our post this week provides a few helpful pointers for those yet to make the transition!
Make no mistake – automated tools are the future of commercial laundries, beyond just linen management. The following strategies, however, will prove handy until this transition is complete and may even complement tech-driven tools like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) linen tracking.
Ask clients to update their requirements for every new load
Given the scale and nature of commercial operations – whether within the healthcare or hospitality industry – linen requirements are likely to change from week to week.
If you run a commercial laundry and mindlessly deliver the same linen load, week after week – and are then forced to fix each order according to what’s actually needed – this can prove wasteful. It’s also highly inefficient and unproductive, especially if your facility is already running at capacity.
For this reason, it’s best to have direct lines of communication with your clients or set up a system in place to ensure that they’re compelled to update their orders frequently.
Invest in RFID linen tracking
Among the tech-driven, inventory control solutions laundries are flocking to, RFID technology is, by far, the most effective.
RFID linen tracking allows commercial laundries to maintain accountability over linen and track every item of linen, at any given moment, helping you optimise delivery and GPS routes significantly. Other functionalities include comprehensive reporting features, invoicing, as well as real-time control over inventory.
While RFID technology is often used in tandem with laundry management platforms, it can even be set up as a standalone solution.
Commercial laundry management systems facilitate improve inventory control
Apart from inventory control driven by RFID tracking, laundry management solutions are also an excellent way of ensuring inventory control in your commercial laundry.
With these platforms, you don’t just get a bird’s-eye view of your laundry operations, but also access insights that help you optimise service delivery – linen management included. These systems also assist with laundry process management, allowing you to streamline ordering, packing, and invoicing – an area of operations where inventory control can get thrown off almost instantly, especially, if there’s no proper process in place.
Many laundry management solutions also allow customers to submit orders through customised portals, allowing you to access order details within your management system, while ensuring that there’s a digital record of each order. With the right functionality, your system will also allow all employees to see the status of each order, preventing them from undertaking the same task or dispatching multiple sets of fresh linen.
A laundry management system, ultimately, gives your commercial laundry the framework it needs to lay down proper procedures to ensure that there are no duplicated efforts, no wasted time, and perhaps, most importantly, no lost linen.
Automate linen counting procedures
Manual linen counting is a common practice even in the most tech-driven laundries. Yet, it is often the cause of many errors in the packing, invoicing, and delivery process.
Nowadays, RFID readers automate this process, improving speed and accuracy in your commercial laundry. By incorporating automated counting at crucial points in your service chain, you eliminate the possibility of miscounting linen and creating a chain of inconveniences that can, otherwise, be easily prevented.
Optimised inventory control does not have to be complicated
If you run a commercial laundry, you’d know that micromanaging all aspects of your operations is neither sustainable nor effective. When it comes to inventory control, ad hoc procedures and policies don’t just eat up your efficiency, it can also drive your clients out.
By adopting the latest strategies and technologies, you will find that managing your linen in a scarily accurate and efficient manner is almost a thoughtless process. Even more impressive is the fact that you can track each item leaving your laundry with RFID linen tracking solutions!