Out & About
A FIRST CLASS, INDUSTRIAL WORKWEAR AND FOOD, RENTAL LAUNDRY
The management team at Apparelmaster Basingstoke: (l-r) Mark Goodall, Alison Buttle, Yvonne Matthews, Trudy Clayton and Joe Izzo - in total they bring more than 110 years accumulated experience in this plant
he Johnsons Apparelmaster plant in Basingstoke in February was Laundry & Cleaning Today’s first visit in the UK to a large workwear plant. A plant which, as the visit demonstrated was a showcase for some significant changes affecting the rental uniform business in Britain as well as a significant period in the history of Johnsons Apparelmaster (JAM) itself. Prior to 2001 Basingstoke had been a Sketchley owned plant which processed both flatwork and workwear, for a large number of regionallybased customers across the south of England. Following the acquisition of Sketchley by JAM, the decision was made to streamline the plant operations and transfer the flatwork to other laundries both within and outside the Johnson Group and concentrate processing efforts on workwear. This decision had several very important effects: Firstly the stress of 24/7 working was immediately removed and although a considerable number of the staff were displaced the morale of those remaining in the workwear section was noticeably improved with consequent benefits to the
service levels delivered. Secondly, a considerable amount of space was made available for the planned move into food workwear processing in addition to industrial workwear. The third benefit was the shift from 24/7 operations to a five-day, 40 hour week plant, with consequent savings in overhead energy costs for heat, light and power. In the words of Joe Izzo, the general manager at Basingstoke,:“We went overnight from a torrid nine years with flatwork and declining financial performance, to one where we were enjoying calm satisfaction and a rapid return to profitable processing.” As Joe Izzo reviewed his long experience at the plant it became very clear that his enduring leadership term was a primary factor in the performance of this part of the Apparelmaster organisation. Leadership is probably one of the most needed attributes for the successful performance of a busy workplace where a large number of customers require efficient service on a daily basis and the work flow and staff resource have to be organised to supply that service. Listening to Izzo was proof that in
Clean white workwear arriving at one of the two new Kannegiesser folders
16 LCT May 2011
Basingstoke, Apparelmaster has the right man in place. Loyalty of the workforce in complex operations such as are found in workwear laundries is critical. Fair and firm leadership ensures that the end result is success. The effect of these attributes is demonstrated by the fact that the Apparelmaster Basingstoke plant is led by a management team with over 110 years spent at this plant. Mark Goodall, the stockroom manager, has 30 years experience, Alison (Ali) Buttle, production manager, has 23 years; Trudy Clayton, customer service manager, has 20 years and quality manager, Yvonne Matthews, has seven years. Joe Izzo himself also has a mere 30 years of service in Basingstoke. These simple facts about loyalty in service speak for themselves. The plant itself processes, on average, between 36 thousand and 40 thousand items of food items of workwear each week; heavy-duty industrial workwear using four gantry-mounted, 100kg Wientjens, perchloroethylene, machines contribute 12-14 thousand pieces per week; while 20-25 thousand pieces of washed industrial workwear items are also processed. At the far end of the plant two Kennedy CRT machines and one Kannegiesser Revolution now process over four thousand continuous roller towels each week. All the food garments are washed and hygienically cleaned by the new Kannegiesser PowerTrans Jet, 75kg seven-stage continuous tunnel washer (CTW) equipped with an integrated spinning unit which extracts the remaining moisture after the final inprocess rinsing has taken place. It is the equipment which Kannegiesser supplied to the food workwear part of the Basingstoke plant which attracts our attention. All the equipment is installed in a barrier wall section formerly used for flatwork processing. There was a space restriction on the size of the washing unit and the sevenstage PowerTrans Jet with integral PowerSpin unit fitted the available access opening with less than two cm to spare, while at the same time being more than adequate in performing the load requirements called for each day. Any conventional CTW solution would have required at
Irving Scott visits Johnsons Apparelmaster’s Basingstoke plant
Summy Idrisson - very happy in his work operating the Revolution CRT laundry machine at Apparelmaster Basingstoke least an 11-stage machine – plus a separate extractor. This was not an option with the space available at Basingstoke. Some of the critical design features of the Kannegiesser PowerTrans Jet series of CTWs deserve special mention here. The basic design of the PowerTrans systems provides for two process tanks for collecting and separating the hot wash water from the colder rinse water. Additionally the rinse water separation tank with its chemical connections and its circulation piping is standard through the range as well as a ‘double-drum’ with insulated partition wall at the beginning of the main wash and a second double drum at the end of the machine. These features are particularly important for the operator as the inner drum – whether oscillating or rotating can be independently and individually programmed. For each batch of work the liquor levels are electronically controlled as required and this individual control facility is common to all water, chemicals and detergents which may be added. The PowerTrans Jet at Basingstoke is loaded with 65kg loads, or 85 per cent capacity and operates on a five minute cycle, the workflow being based on 10-12 loads per hour with an average wash cycle time through the seven stages of 35 minutes. Currently the system uses between five ltrs and six ltrs of water per one kg of polyester/cotton workwear washed, this is certainly an improvement on the output and water usage of the three washer-extractors previously in use. Their water consumption was averaging 25l of water per single kg of work processed! Or expressed in another measure the water saving as a result of installing the PowerTrans seven-stage CTW is currently running at 12.5 cubic litres of water per hour – a water saving of 78 per cent which presumably brings cheer and happiness to the local water authority. After washing the garments, the food plant section presses and folds between 1000 and 1400 garment items per hour through the recently installed Kannegiesser folders from a
Kent tunnel finisher. The two folders have recently been delivering 1400 garments per hour and are readily coping with this steady volume coming from the tunnel finisher. From our observations of this section – dealing with processing food apparel - in common with all the other sections within the Basingstoke plant - was very efficient and staffed by an obviously cheerful and competent team. Additionally, the wash quality in the food department, seemed to us on visual inspection, to be completely free of any sign of ‘greying’ and the light and airy work environment added to the general impression of effective design and layout of the whole area. Joe Izzo comments: “The new food garment processing equipment is working well and we are very happy with the results, our water consumption is much reduced, our chemical consumption is also reduced and our energy costs are also down and we are processing more than ever. The Kannegiesser folders are absolutely excellent and they can easily cope with the volumes we need to process within our single-shift, 40- hour, working week.”
This was an informative and educational visit for us from LCT and served to demonstrate in a most emphatic way that the Johnsons Apparelmaster business, as so effectively demonstrated at the Basingstoke plant, is a company determined to succeed and excel in the business of servicing the workwear requirements of several thousand individual, personal users each week. The fact that in the week of our visit a new contract calling for between 10 and 15 thousand more garments to be processed each week, was being quietly executed without apparent fuss or stress was more than certain proof that the Apparelmaster system works and that Joe Izzo’s team can take it all in their efficient stride - an Apparelmaster team at branch level, which is very well supported by consistent support from both group as well as divisional head offices. In short, by making substantial investments in some of the most technically advanced laundry machinery currently available, the results of this forward-thinking approach can be seen in full and efficient flow at the Basingstoke plant.
The five feeder stations feeding the tunnel dryer
SummyIdrisson- veryhappyinhisworkoperatingtheRevolutionCRTlaundrymachineat Apparelmaster Basingstoke ThemanagementteamatApparelmasterBasings...