Building Member Value: Strategic Change Initiative Guides TRSA

Posted October 2, 2020 at 11:29 am



TRSA recently embarked on a strategic change initiative focused on core deliverables that maximize member value and best leverage TRSA’s resources for 2020 and 2021. The association received feedback from a series of internal and external qualitative and quantitative research and interactive sessions with stakeholders.

Based on that feedback, TRSA activities for the balance of 2020 and those expected to be budgeted for 2021 will include:

  • Advocacy including proactively encouraging increased use of commercially laundered reusable linens, uniforms and healthcare personal protective equipment (PPE) such as isolation gowns and scrubs for more a sustainable, hygienic supply chain
  • Monitoring, responding and educating federal, state and local regulators and legislators to ensure a focus on continued recognition as a critical/essential service
  • Hygienically Clean and Clean Green certifications
  • Dissemination of information and training focusing on best practices for improving employee and customer safety and supervisor training
  • Increased information-sharing through virtual networking communities, and print and digital communications

“In recovery from the pandemic, TRSA needs stakeholder support and assistance in identifying how the industry has changed, and will continue to evolve, over the next few months and years,” said TRSA Chair Jim Buik, Roscoe Co., Chicago. “Member and subject-matter expert input provides invaluable information for review and discussion by the TRSA Strategic Planning Committee and Board of Directors.”

TRSA began its strategic change initiative in early April immediately following the stay-at-home orders that shut down economies in North America and across the globe.

“We knew the impact on the industry would be significant but varied based on geography, market and product mix,” said TRSA President & CEO Joseph Ricci, CAE. “We immediately began our strategic change initiative that included 10 weeks of two-hour weekly facilitated discussions between TRSA senior management and association subject-matter experts (SMEs) covering membership, events, certification, non-dues revenue, globalization and other issues. These association colleagues and consultants shared valuable insight and perspective, often without charging for their time.”

These internal discussions with SMEs feed directly into discussions with external stakeholders including leaders of related organizations including TRSA’s counterparts in Europe and Australia. TRSA hosted market-sector and regional Zoom discussions and facilitated a Strategic Industry Town Hall in June with more than 120 linen and uniform service professionals. These discussions led to the development of an Industry Looking Forward report indicating that survival and recovery are top of mind with both operators and supplier partner members suffering significant impacts to their bottom lines. Near-term challenges have made it more difficult for both to focus on longer-term planning post-COVID-19:

  • Increased costs and competition
  • Decreased sales and workforces
  • Consumer shifts in preferences and overall economic fears
  • Increased regulations and standards

Discussions concluded that promotion of linen, uniform and facility services to the variety of industries they serve can focus on three growth opportunities:

  • Reusables as a more cost-effective and sustainable supply chain
  • Cleanliness standards that ensure the products are hygienically clean
  • Commercial versus home or on-premises laundering (OPL)

Since mid-March, TRSA has hosted nearly 50 webinars, town halls, roundtables and other activities, as well as benchmarking surveys to facilitate the exchange of best practices for improving safety and operations during the COVID pandemic and access to resources to assist in recovering from its economic impact.

Thanks to members’ investment and support, TRSA continues to fulfill its charge as the lone advocate for the industry at the federal, state and local levels, most recently:

  • Gaining nationwide recognition for the industry as a critical/essential business
  • Defeating initiatives requiring disposable products at restaurants
  • Highlighting the supply chain sustainability of hygienically clean linens and uniforms

In addition to addressing COVID impacts, TRSA continues to proactively pursue every opportunity to fulfill its mission to expand, protect and professionalize the nearly $40-billion U.S. linen, uniform and facility services industry.

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, TRSA’s leadership, volunteers and staff have worked hard to consistently deliver timely, pertinent information and resources to help members survive and recover from the economic impact of business closures and promote the industry as a critical infrastructure business,” Ricci said.

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