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On-premise Laundry Is Getting Smart

A look at the top five commercial laundry technology trends in 2020

 

While the process of cleaning linen has not changed a lot in the past 90 years, smart technology trends from consumer segments are beginning to weave their way into commercial laundry applications in ways that will have a serious impact on laundry room operations and may just change the way we think about on-premises laundry altogether.

 

Just as Fitbit tracts users’ overall activity, reports on their sleep cycles and helps them to live healthier lives, smart Internet of Things (IoT) laundry technologies will help laundry companies run more efficient laundry rooms that can extend past operations and enhance their bottom line.

 

Here is a look at the top five on-premise laundry technology trends to expect for 2020 and beyond:

  1. Cloud-based connectivity
  2. Remote machine control and automatic reports and alerts
  3. Advanced labor reporting
  4. Intelligent dosing
  5. Predictive analytics

 

Let’s look at these trends in more detail to see how these technologies can help “future proof” laundry operations:

 

1. Cloud-based connectivity. Many machines now have wireless, IoT connectivity built right into the machine. This wireless connection communicates with a device that is connected to the internet (usually through wireless or cellular connectivity) and will transmit information to and from the cloud.

 

This cloud-based connection is fundamental for all future technology growth, as it enables information-sharing between different users in a more dynamic and accessible way and, as new features are rolled out, ensures that companies are using the latest technologies available.

 

 

2. Remote machine control, automatic reports and alerts. Like other cloud-based platforms, smart laundry systems will let users view their laundry equipment statuses anywhere in the world, access data from their machines and even make programming changes to the machines remotely. Any settings that users or their laundry service technicians can do in person, such as modifying water levels or changing cycle times, will now be accessible from the cloud, making the laundry room operations easier and more efficient.

 

Best of all, users will be able to setup automated report subscriptions and alerts which will give them better visibility into laundry trends as they will be notified as soon as an issue arises, allowing for faster issue resolution. These alerts can even go directly to a service technician to save users a phone call.

 

3. Advanced labor reporting. In addition to machine reports, users will also have access to advanced labor tracking, which will give them a total view of how much they are spending on labor for each of their laundry rooms. They will be able to input how much labor costs per shift, set labor spending targets, and see exactly how much labor is costing them per pound based on usage data, which helps them to understand the true financial impact of optimizing their laundry operations.

 

By understanding actual labor costs and setting target goals, organizations can save millions in just a few years—all by first understanding how to save a few cents on each processed pound of laundry.

 

By understanding actual labor costs and setting target goals, organizations can save millions in just a few years—all by first understanding how to save a few cents on each processed pound of laundry.

 

4. Intelligent dosing. Nothing says “clean” like an intelligent dosing system, which will offer true “proof of clean” tracking for each wash cycle.

 

By connecting a smart washer with a smart chemical dosing system, the machine will know how much water has been added to a cycle, and, using flow-meter technology, the dosing system will know exactly how much chemical was added. This information will be transmitted to the cloud, making it easy to verify that the chemical-to-water ratio is correct. In the event of a failed cycle, an automatic alert will be sent out, notifying employees of the error.

 

From a regulatory perspective, being able to document whether something has been properly sanitized can be incredibly important, and from a marketing perspective, being able to communicate a “peace of mind guarantee” could be a true differentiator.

 

5. Predictive analytics. Knowing exactly when a part should be serviced or replaced based on actual usage data will have a sweeping impact on users’ laundry room operations, reduce or eliminate downtime for their machines, and keep their total cost of machine ownership as low as possible.

 

In 2020, laundry professionals should expect to see predictive functionality applied to equipment maintenance, and beyond 2020, predictive systems will likely be used to optimize labor based on hotel or hospital occupancy rates, and even order laundry chemicals based on laundry room usage patterns.

 

Putting It All Together

It is exciting to see smart technologies being applied to laundry operations in new and innovative ways. The impacts of these systems will not only improve on-premise laundry operations, but also put money back into laundry organizations’ bottom line, making a smart machine purchase an even smarter buy in 2020.

 

By Jamie Sewell, Director of Technology Engagement, Alliance Laundry Systems (ALS)