WTSC – A Global Learning Opportunity

Posted May 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm

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This Oct. 5-7 in Bruges, Belgium, textile service operators and executives will have a unique opportunity to access ideas for growing their businesses, learn about global regulatory trends and network with international peers, while taking in the unique beauty, culture and history of the heart of Europe.

We’re referring to the World Textile Services Congress (WTSC), co-sponsored by TRSA, the European Textile Services Association (ETSA), and the Belgian national trade association, FBT. The congress is in revival mode and the organizers are pulling out all the stops to make this a value-added program. “With technology and regulatory issues ratcheting up the pressure on launderers worldwide, we felt this program could generate major benefits for our industry in the United States and worldwide,” said TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci. “This congress is your opportunity to learn from world-class speakers and peers how to achieve growth in the 20-teens and beyond.”

The congress will begin with board meetings of TRSA and six other national textile services associations from Belgium (FBT), Europe (ETSA), France (GEIST), Germany (WIRTEX and DTV) and the United Kingdom (TSA). This virtually guarantees a high-profile audience of the most successful launderers in North America and Europe.

Social activities will commence with a reception at the Hotel Dukes’ Palace, which dates to the 15th century. In 1468, this building hosted the wedding of Duke Charles of Burgundy and Margaret of York (sister of two British kings). Today, the palace is refurbished as a hotel. But the spirit of the nine-day celebration of feasting and entertainment that followed that long-ago nuptial lives on for today’s guests.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, the congress will shift into high gear with a series of thought-provoking speakers who’ll address a range of issues affecting laundry operators worldwide. Speakers include:

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council 2010-2014. Rompuy was appointed in 2009 as the first full-time president of the European Council. This is the arm of the European Union (EU) that includes its heads of state. In this keynote address, Rompuy will discuss issues, including his role in stabilizing the crisis over Greece’s debts, and later those of Portugal and Ireland. He also coordinated Europe’s response to the crisis in Libya, while overseeing the world G-8 and G-20 summit meetings of world leaders, including the EU-China. A former Belgian prime minister and longtime parliamentary leader, Rompuy has played a key role in national and European politics since the early ’90s.

Andrea Croonenberghs, a Flemish TV journalist, will moderate the day’s discussions. She’ll draw on her 25 years’ experience in broadcast media to challenge presenters to spell out in succinct terms how the information in their presentations could impact the laundry industry. Croonenberghs is also a successful actress, musician and radio personality.

From global politics to tech trends, WTSC panels will offer ideas that can help attendees confront the challenges facing textile services operators worldwide. Consider:

Political worldviews– To survive and prosper, laundry operators must monitor trends in regulation, health and safety, globalization, customer issues and other factors impacting today’s competitive environment. The WTSC will provide a range of insights from Willemijn Martens, the procurement director of Accor Hotels, serving the Benelux region; and Philip Pu, who serves as general manager for Blue Sky Laundry in Beijing. The latter executive will address the timely subject of textile service growth opportunities in today’s Chinese market.

Corporate social responsibility – AmeriPride Services President and CEO Bill Evans and Martin Swierzy, managing director of Alsco, Germany, will discuss the importance to laundries worldwide of achieving growth by enhancing sustainability, while helping customers control costs and promote a positive public image. You’ll learn how these companies’ efforts to embrace corporate social responsibility are benefiting their growth.

Market dynamics – A panel of leading operators from Europe and the United States will compare ideas on growing revenue and controlling costs in today’s markets in various geographical areas. You’ll get the views of Juha Laurio, CEO of the Lindstrom Group, Finland; David Potack, vice president of Unitex Textile Rental Services; and Chris Sander, CEO of Johnson Service Group, UK, on issues ranging from demographics (customers; workforce) to supply concentration (chain vs. independent laundries) and the impact of supply costs and the product mix by industry sector.

Thursday’s program will conclude with a Mayor’s reception at the Staduis (City Hall) a short walk from the hotel. Built in 1376, attendees will network with global colleagues in its Gothic Hall, where they’ll marvel at its vaulted ceiling and 19th century murals highlighting the city’s power struggles among citizens and local and federal authorities.

On Friday, Oct. 7, WTSC delegates, i.e., laundry operators and executives, will have the choice of seeing the latest in technology and processing innovations at any two of eight high-tech Belgian textile services companies serving sectors from healthcare to hospitality and industrial/dust control. These plants range in size from 86,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) to 10,763 square feet (1,000 square meters). Daily production rates vary from 110,331 lbs. (50,000 kilos) to 8,818 lbs. (4,000 kilos) in plants that maximize productivity and efficiency with the latest innovations from industry suppliers.

Additional optional Friday activities include a bicycle tour and other social activities around the Bruges area.

The WTSC offers a unique forum for laundry operators and executives worldwide to learn from each other on how to succeed in 2016 and beyond. Attendees will gain invaluable knowledge and contacts, while contributing to the growth of the global textile services industry. Delegates, sponsor representatives and their spouses/guests also will experience the culture and Bruges. Click here to learn more, or to register.