Execs Discuss Industry Trends at DC Meeting

Posted April 19, 2024 at 12:02 pm

TRSA recently hosted the CEOs and Executives of the industry’s largest companies in Washington, DC, following TRSA’s 14th Annual Legislative Conference. The meeting facilitated information sharing among leaders of the industry’s largest organizations. Representing both public and privately held companies, this group discussed macroeconomic impacts on their businesses and shared insights into trends, pressure points and opportunities in the industry.

Hospitality and F&B Accounts

The group shared relatively optimistic assessments of consumer spending behavior as it relates to our industry. Despite consumers reporting higher costs of living and other impacts of inflation, travel and entertainment are a top spending category. In the hospitality sector, hotel occupancy is on the rise and near maximum capacity. Business travel is increasing, approaching pre-COVID levels. Food-and-Beverage (F&B) sector accounts are near-full.

Labor Market

The CEO/Executive group’s consensus is that labor availability has stabilized, and use of temporary labor has fallen. Recent increases in trade school and skilled worker training programs are encouraging for our industry. Attrition is a major labor challenge, particularly in the engineering field. To prepare for the retirement of engineers and technicians with decades of experience, companies are working with these veterans to develop training videos for the next generation. An additional challenge on the engineering and maintenance front is the increasing sophistication of technology. Given these developments, an effective supplier-operator partnership is critical.

Supply-Chain Disruptions

Following supply-chain challenges during the pandemic, companies have better protected themselves from disruptions. However, global conflicts have caused delays and shortages of certain products. Further, the rising costs of shipping adds additional economic pressure on the global supply chain.

Optimization and Automation

Confronted with rising costs, business leaders are looking internally and investigating how optimization can help bolster their bottom lines. Automation is on the rise, and our industry is easing into increased adoption to boost efficiency. While certain automation technology (e.g., auto-finishing) can greatly increase productivity, technological advancements are needed before automating other stages of the industrial laundry process, such as soil sort. Integrating automation into an existing plant also presents a practical application challenge. As automation machinery takes up a large footprint, retrofitting existing plants with automation technology may not be the most efficient and cost-effective solution at this stage. Despite current challenges with automation, it presents ample opportunities for optimization.

In addition to the discussion, U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) dropped by the meeting to speak to the group. TRSA is expanding these CEO networking and information dinners to other segments of operators to provide them with the opportunity to network and share insights.

Thank you to our sponsors, Ellis Corp., Norchem Corp., Pellerin Milnor Corp. and Venus Group, and to the following attendees:

  • Michael Barner, CEO, CORE Linen Services
  • John Clark, CEO, Prudential Overall Supply
  • Bob Fesmire, President, Ellis Corp.
  • Chad Folkerts, VP Field Operations and Engineering, Norchem Corp.
  • Brian Herington, CEO, PureStar Group
  • Jim Kearns, EVP & CFO, Alsco Uniforms
  • Juha Laurio, President & CEO, Lindström Group
  • Joe LaPorta, President & CEO, Healthcare Linen Services Group
  • Ed Orzetti, CEO, ImageFIRST
  • Jeyur Patel, Sales and Business Development, Venus Group
  • Jim Pellerin, Chairman & CEO, Pellerin Milnor Corp.
  • David Potack, President, Unitex Healthcare Textiles
  • Jim Rozakis, EVP & COO, Cintas Corp.