Labor, Supply-Chain Issues Persist in Latest TRSA Survey

Posted April 15, 2022 at 12:43 pm

TRSA’s Business Pulse Survey for the first quarter of 2022 indicated that across all market specialties, at least 80% of operators are looking to find new supplier partners (products and/or supplies, parts, etc.) to mitigate ongoing supply-chain shortages. This bodes well for the upcoming Clean Show, slated for July 30-Aug. 2 in Atlanta.

The TRSA Business Pulse Survey, which was conducted in March and received more than 70 responses from TRSA members, provides clues to what operators will be looking for among the Clean Show exhibits. More than 80% of all respondents indicated they are experiencing supply-chain issues with machine parts, higher than any product category. That figure was 100% for hotel laundry specialists; same for their experience with equipment and linens. For the food-and-beverage and industrial segments, their item of greatest concern was their primary textile product: linens (88%) and uniforms/workwear (93%). The top concern for acute healthcare laundries (88%): machine parts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the greatest toll on the hotel and food-and-beverage laundry sectors. Roughly 25% of TRSA Business Pulse Survey respondents serving these sectors are seeing revenues now at 90% or more of pre-COVID levels. That figure pales in comparison with 71% of healthcare laundry operators and 86% serving industrial accounts.

However, optimism for the future is most prevalent among hotel and restaurant launderers. Compared with their earlier expectations, half of the responding hotel launderers said their revenues will be well-above those expectations in 90 days. The other half thought these would be slightly-above or near expectations. Of respondents who serve restaurants, 22% forecast well-above and 67% slightly-above or near.

Healthcare and industrial respondents were upbeat but not as much. No healthcare respondents expect to be well-above pre-COVID revenue levels; only 14% of industrial respondents were at this level. Yet almost all the rest of the respondents in these sectors, 94% and 79%, respectively, expect to be slightly-above or near. A small pessimism pocket: 11% of food-and-beverage launderers expect to be slightly below pre-COVID revenue levels.

TRSA’s March survey indicated that just 11% of TRSA operator members are fully staffed in production; about one-third of them are 90% to 99% staffed in this function, with most of the rest (39%) at 80 to 89%. Just 15% have full route-driver staffing but almost half are at 90% to 99%.

By customer market sector, the TRSA survey measures members’ progress toward building their workforces back to pre-COVID levels. No hotel launderers indicated they’re back to 100% of their production or engineering/maintenance staff levels. Most (57%) are between 80% and 100% in these categories. All said they increased wages and incentives to employees for referrals or hires. In the other three industry segments, it wasn’t unanimous, but at least 89% of operators in all three took these steps.