Author: Jason Alexander, Managing Director, Renzacci UK
Even before the pandemic hit, we saw a marked rise in the number of dry cleaners and laundries switching to safer, healthier forms of cleaning; in particular, Wet Cleaning – attracting new and environmentally-conscious clients with a truly innovative and progressive approach.
But moving forward, it’s not just their cleaning processes that need to be sustainable, it’s their business as a whole.
The future of high street shopping, in general, has been questioned for many years, and after what has been an incredibly difficult time for these high street stores, many have decided to remain shut, even after the easing of restrictions.
As a result, there’s less people on the streets, which ignites further challenges for dry cleaners and laundries. So now, more than ever, shop owners must implement sustainable operations into their business, to not only be more environmentally-friendly, but to adapt to changing consumer habits.
The first step for dry cleaners and laundries is to perhaps consider a 24-hour drop off and collection operation. Having witnessed shops in the US take a huge leap towards central processing units and unmanned 24/7 shops, it’s vital that UK shops follow suit with this level of creativity. This solution reduces staff costs, increases convenience for customers and reduces the amount of space required for a retail unit, thereby lowering rental costs, as well as offering the possibility of drive-thru operations, and not necessarily in town centre locations.
With footprints of as little as 6.7m2 (about 75sq ft), serving up to 225 orders, as well as allowing a drop-off facility, the small space requirements offer numerous possibilities, such as in train stations, shopping centres and even petrol station forecourts.
The Metalprogetti Battista COMBI 24/7 system, for example, operates as a 24/7 self-service kiosk, whereby customers can drop off and collect their dry cleaning, by operating a touch screen pad and paying by debit or credit card, without the assistance of attendants. These types of systems can be integrated with others, to offer a highly streamlined approach to production, such as the Metalprogetti Giulietta Automatic Order Assembly system.
Going the extra mile, shop owners should consider the possibility of a home or office delivery service for customers, to really enhance their offering. With the introduction of same-day delivery for some large-scale retailers, consumers come to expect a service that’s fast and convenient, and they’re willing to pay more for it.
Next, dry cleaners should switch to a more cost effective, lower running cost and more flexible, environmentally-friendly cleaning solution, like the Electrolux Professional Lagoon system. With a greater variety of garments being able to be successfully processed in a Wet Cleaning system compared to a solvent-based system, the additional benefit of being able to act as a high quality laundry machine, and the system’s capability of being able to process suedes, leathers, Ugg boots, wedding dresses and other delicate items; the flexibility of Wet Cleaning opens up huge potential for forward-thinking garment care specialists.
With pressures being placed on manufacturers to implement further cost-saving and energy-efficient features onto their machines, Electrolux Professional were several steps ahead of the game with their newly-launched Lagoon Advanced Care 6000 series, which is why we’re proud to be their No.1 Wet Cleaning supplier in the UK.
With 85% of a commercial washer’s lifecycle cost comprising of utility and running costs, the Line 6000 range has been designed to keep these to a minimum, while maximising sustainability. Its Automatic Savings programme, in the models of 14kg and over, adjusts the volume of water, detergents and energy used in line with the exact weight of the load, while Integrated Savings helps to avoid over and underloading to maximise productivity. The built-in Power Balance extraction sequence translates into real-time unbalance monitoring and G-factor adjustment throughout the extraction sequence for efficient dewatering and low moisture retention.
Dry cleaners and laundries have taken their biggest hit in history, but fortunately, a number of processes can be implemented to help increase revenue, reduce running costs and position them as a market leader in the community.