Learning with pandemic: what Covid-19 crisis has taught us about tomorrow’s laundry

This has been the worst global crisis in decades. Hygiene cleaning processes are now in the spotlight, as the key to limit the expansion of the virus. What have we learnt from this? How will this crisis affect the laundry industry? We have asked Christophe Sisternas, VP of Primus International Marketing:

In your opinion, how can we ensure the population’s wellness and fight the virus thanks to a laundry service?

First, there must be a proven tracked record throughout the laundry process and the resulting hygiene. This has been the case in many European countries within the healthcare sector thanks to the RABC standards implementation. However, this must be implemented to every country and stop being healthcare exclusive.

Many sectors can benefit from a hygiene process where soiled linen is carefully collected, sorted by category, and identified by colored bags from the patient/resident’s room to the laundry. The RABC standard (Risk Analysis Biocontamination Control) imposes a “walk forward” process that ensures physical separation of soiled and clean laundry room, minimizing any cross contamination.

This allows to wash, dry and finishing process up to packing without crossing linen/items and minimum handling, including specific wash programs with sanitization, specific chemicals, and traceability.

Moreover, for staff’s hygiene we normalize hand washing protocol and minimum handling of linen to deliver back to the patient/resident’s room.

Small businesses or newcomers to the laundry world, might be tempted to keep using domestic washers for their in-house set-up to keep costs low, is this still a safe option?

It depends of the level of hygiene they want for their business. A professional equipment will not only last longer but also secure a better wash performance, because it has been designed to match professional expectations and to be installed with automatic dosing. This secures the correct dosage of detergents and disinfectant agents. The production materials used in Primus’ professional equipment, even the smallest parts, are built in stainless steel to avoid bacteria to grow, which happens to plastic. Nowadays, professional laundry is not all about washers or dryers, it’s the technology: powerful software such as our laundry management Trace-tech ensures that you keep control on each single parameter of your laundry process: real temp reached, chemicals dosing and so on, for traceability and reporting.

Is there a real benefit in insourcing the laundry process for a mid-size facility, such as a nursing-home, a 50 rooms hotel or childcare?

With a professional in-house set-up, you have the full control on your laundry process and avoid risks of external contamination. The new post co-vid standards will probably reduce the number of physical interactions with everything to reduce the potential risk of linen contamination. So, if you keep it all in-house, only your trained staff will be in contact with it, respecting the hygiene standard you will set for your facility. This is true for all sectors, again. Not only for healthcare sectors.

Does that mean that the main point is just about narrowing the gap between healthcare hygiene standards or best practices?

Absolutely not. Laundry’s service is essential for everyone, helping to clean and sanitize at any time. Right now, any closed space bound to attract customers, workers, hosts or patients will have to become a safe place anytime.

Maybe a facility which is only washing towels today, tomorrow might need to wash staff’s uniforms, mops, at least once a day. So, there will be a huge need for flexible set-up.

We have proved our versatility, adaptability, flexibility to answer to any specific demands (delicate garments, staff uniforms, gloves, gears and accessories, mops etc.).

Shall we expect new hygiene standard for all kind of laundry installation?

We will know soon enough, but with or without it, every laundry professional now wants to control perfectly their processes and to be able to proof at every moment that their business is complying with the best hygiene standards

Shall we also expect Hygiene best practices basics to change among laundry users and operators?

Clearly, the world is going touchless. So remote control, apps, and basically IoT (Internet-of-things) will accelerate even more as they already were. Laundromats will become more and more cashless, and the need for automatization on dosing systems will grow as much as software monitoring. At Primus we are ready for this, thanks to our new XControl FLEX platform and i-Trace monitoring software.

We know that the healthcare sector in particular has been through tough times to manage their cashflow and answer the urgent need of more beds, masks etc, in terms of cost sensitivity, what did the pandemic teach us?

Clearly, investing in a full laundry installation is a cost, and mobilizes cashflow. A rental formula on the other hand, will preserve your cashflow for living emergencies. This is a good method for accessing immediately to a better hygiene and to run an in-house solution and forgetting about upfront investment. We should help healthcare property managers to invest in their core care activity and use financing to give them access to high laundry hygiene processes for patients and residents

What did the pandemic taught Primus and Alliance?

In terms of what our customers and partners need, I think that more than ever, we have demonstrated the accessibility and reliability of the support in any condition, with augmented reality when confinement becomes necessary. Being a global company has helped a lot in such crisis, and local support has been also fundamental. Because we have factories all over the world, we can deliver parts everywhere fast, we have stocks and can always keep a factory running to meet our customer’s needs. This has always been part of Alliance commitment to its customers and in this crisis, it has proven to be the right direction to go. “laundry is all we do”

Christophe Sisternas is VP of International Marketing at Alliance Laundry Systems. With more than 30 years of experience in the chemical and laundry industry. He is passionate about the changes going through the sector, in both terms of technology and processes.

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