TRSA Board Recognizes Contributions of Industry Suppliers/Vendors

Posted March 27, 2020 at 2:17 pm

During a March 25 Board of Directors teleconference, in addition to sharing insight into operational challenges and the association’s efforts to ensure essential services continue, TRSA officers and directors recognized the efforts of TRSA associate members, the industry’s suppliers and vendors.

“The suppliers, from chemical providers to textiles and equipment, have been true partners during this crisis,” said David Potack, president, Unitex, Elmsford, NY. “They are working exceptionally hard to maintain services under changing conditions and despite supply chain problems.”

Participants indicated that despite catastrophic impacts on the F&B/restaurant and hospitality/hotel sectors with layoffs of 80-100 percent, all market-sector volumes were down including healthcare currently down about 20 percent based on cancellation of elective surgeries and early patient discharges as hospitals prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients. Geography also impacts volume and operations based on country, state, and urban versus rural environments. In addition to layoffs, companies are shortening work weeks, splitting shifts and job sharing, as well as instituting across-the-board pay reductions.

“The health and safety of our team members is critical and our primary focus,” said Jim Buik, TRSA chair and president, Roscoe Co., Chicago. “We have increased cleaning and implementing social distancing throughout the company, as well as rotating breaks and lunch.” Others indicated additional efforts to minimize employee risk such as posters, remote working and virtual meetings, as well as significantly increasing route safety precautions such as gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizers and revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) for handling soiled garments and linens.

Members referenced the importance of ongoing, transparent and regular communications with employees to reduce their anxiety and stress. Several are even delivering food and other supplies to employee homes and producing posters and handouts on social distancing, handwashing and sanitation for their homes. Not only do these extra efforts reduce stress and anxiety, and minimize risks, it helps maintain a connection and relationship with your employees, hopefully increasing retention post-crisis.

As a global organization, the TRSA Board of Directors includes representatives from companies operating worldwide, including Juha Laurio, Lindstrom (22 countries throughout Europe and Asia); Joe Sullivan, Spotless (Australia); Randy Bartsch, Ecotex (Canada/US); Jose Luis Jacques, Lavartex (Mexico); and Chris Sander, Johnson Service Group (UK). These varied global perspectives offered insight into impacts on volume and supply chain as the crisis moves across the world, including operations in recovering countries (Asia); under lockdown (Australia, Canada, UK and U.S.); and those preparing for the crisis (Mexico). For example, as Asia is restarting its economy, others are closing (India) and the impact in the UK, with its primary markets in processing flat linens for restaurants and hotels, volumes and revenue are down 80 to 95 percent.

The Board also discussed reusable textile and facility services cleaning product shortages and supply-chain issues including obtaining PPE such as reusable isolation, surgical and patient gowns; scrubs; linens; and antiseptic. “The demand for healthcare-related products across the board has been an unprecedented shock to the system,” said Dan Sanchez, Medline. “All suppliers are working to absorb as much of the demand as they can, but supply is struggling to meet demand and sustain it moving forward. Suppliers are getting creative and the manufacturing/supply industry is getting collaborative to help provide suitable product as quickly as possible. Hoarding and misuse of product will create more harm than good. It is especially critical that healthcare providers ensure the proper collection and timely return of linens, and all other reusable textile items, to their laundry processing partners. They should be put in soiled linen bags and returned to the laundry after use, whether they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or not.”

The officers and directors provided feedback regarding TRSA’s COVID-19-related efforts including creating and disseminating employee and customer communications, lobbying efforts to secure operators “essential-services” recognition, virtual market sector meetings and more. Each acknowledged the “excellent work” done by the TRSA staff to support its members and the positive feedback they’ve received as industry leaders from their colleagues, both members and nonmembers, regarding the association’s efforts. They also provided several areas for further TRSA initiatives pertaining to COVID-19 response, including highlighting opportunities for linen, uniform and facility services companies to seek local, state and federal loans and financial assistance; webinars on reducing employee stress and anxiety, and promoting the industry’s role as an essential service; the importance of Hygienically Clean certification; and opportunities to expand the use of reusable textiles post-crisis for cleanliness and to mitigate shortages while reducing cost and waste.

TRSA’s 2020 Board of Directors includes the following members:

  • Chair Jim W. Buik, President, Roscoe Co.
  • Vice Chair Noel Richardson, President/CEO/Owner, Shasta Linen Supply Inc.
  • Immediate Past Chair David Potack, President, Unitex
  • Treasurer Jim Kearns, Vice President Finance/CFO, Alsco Inc.
  • Johanna Ames, President, Ames Linen Service
  • Randy Bartsch, CEO, Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service Corp.
  • Chris Corcoran, Division Vice President, Crothall Laundry Services
  • PJ Dempsey, President, Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply Inc.
  • Brad Drummond, COO, Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel
  • Bob Dudley, President, APPEARA
  • Scott Finkelstein, Co-President, Ace Uniform Services Inc.
  • Tyler Fowler, President, M+A Matting
  • Phil Hart, President, Kannegiesser ETECH
  • Roger Harris, President/CEO, Metro Linen
  • Jose Luis Jacques, CEO, LAVARTEX SAPI de CV
  • Juha Laurio, President & CEO, Lindstrom Oy
  • Dan Sanchez, Vice President of Corporate Sales, Medline Textiles, Medline Industries Inc.
  • Chris Sander, Industry Relations Ambassador (Former CEO), Johnson Service Group PLC
  • Todd Schneider, President & COO – Rental Division, Cintas Corp.
  • Joe Sullivan, Director, Spotless Facility Services Pty. Ltd.
  • Jim Vaudreuil, President & CEO, Huebsch Services