The Textile Services Association’s first conference since fall 2019 was a real zinger. In a time when circumstances seemed to conspire against the industry to make hard times as difficult as possible, it was like finding a huge sparkling diamond in a dung heap. Waves of positive energy emanated from the speakers behind the lectern and from the delegates, despite the dire situation of soaring fuel costs, cotton hitting its highest prices, lack of tourists, labor shortages. The cost of shipping containers continues to climb, and these examples are just a few of the many discouraging factors.
However, the commercial laundry and linen rental industry is made of tough stuff and the TSA, under the leadership of CEO David Stevens, pictured, is determined to fulfill its mission of representing and supporting its members. to the Nth degree. And what a great job it is.
TSA President Charlie Betteridge opened the conference with an unrestricted summary of the current state of the industry. He told the audience that for the TSA, the onslaught of the pandemic was like facing Armageddon, and said that at the start of the lockdown, he didn’t know what to do for the best. “What do we do? How do we adapt? How can we deliver value for money in this situation?” Were all questions posed by the board. very quickly decided to change the program “and how hard CEO David and his team worked to do it,” he said.
Heading into 2021, after what Betteridge described as “a long and harsh winter – no one had any idea how long it would last.” The weather was not good, Easter did not take place and it was only in May-June that there was the beginning of a rebirth. “The UK has been one of the hardest hit countries in Europe, along with Spain and Italy, as they all depend on a large tourist market. Start-up issues when reopening included shortages of labor and delivery drivers – we need to push for the European workforce. In addition, rising fuel and raw material prices pose a problem. Even lumber prices have gone up, so pallet lumber is now 50% more expensive.
“And, look at Asia – anything that comes from there is more expensive. It cost $ 1600 to ship a container. Now it’s $ 18,000 and you have to bid to get the container to the ship. . “
Concluding his introduction, Betteridge said: “We have to hope that the lockdown doesn’t happen again, and I don’t think it will. It’s great to see everyone at this sold-out conference.
Then TSA CEO David Stevens has witnessed an increase in membership, both laundries and suppliers, since Covid struck. He also welcomed Ian Stubbs of Jensen, Helen Wood of Johnson Service Group (JSG) and Rona Tait of TDS Commercial Laundry to the board of directors as Mark Woolfenden of JSG resigns. “We’re a little more diverse in terms of gender now,” Stephens said.
Turning to Association finances, Stevens explained, “This topic was hotly discussed at the recent AGM, a 25% reduction in membership fees was approved, with the increased membership helping to compensate. this while offering services at a lower cost. Emma and Shyju have done a wonderful job here. The point of all of this is to support the industry and you guys.
He went on to say that a project, which was voted to move forward at the last conference, Women in Industry, unfortunately stalled on Covid “but it’s still here.” He highlighted the appointment of three women to the board, which demonstrates a commitment to change.
He asked, are we, the industry, fit for purpose? This is something he thinks is important to find out and to that end, a survey, with a questionnaire titled Laundry Industry Culture Study 2021, was designed and should be completed by laundries, not suppliers.
The end-of-life textile recycling project is going well (and will be covered below). Stevens also informed the public that the TSA works with the Mental Health Foundation.
Stevens told delegates that in November, the TSA will hold its annual convention in Birmingham, designed for business owners and CEOs.
Completing his first slot, referring to TSA supplier members, Stevens said that over the past two years or so, “they haven’t gotten much value for money lately, but none of them did not withdraw ”. He expressed his gratitude for this.
• This is a small part of the full report which will be posted shortly.