Starr Textiles provides textile rental, commercial laundry and garment processing services in the South East
When Stephen Florence, Vice President of Sales/Service at Starr Textiles, Foley, Ala., realized that his company was facing a number of challenges, he turned to MODRoto. “It was a no-brainer, really,” says Florence, a 39-year veteran of the laundry industry who launched Starr in 2008. “We found a new laundry cart that fits more linens per truck than traditional carts and it has had a direct impact on our operation and on our bottom line at Starr.”
Starr Textiles provides textile rental, commercial laundry and garment processing services focusing on the hospitality and healthcare markets in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Its customers range from the largest five-star hotels in the French Quarter to beach vacation rental properties on the Gulf of Mexico and a diverse group of mom and pop restaurants, bars and clubs. The company’s two plants in Foley, Ala. and New Orleans, La., can process upwards of 10,000 pounds of laundry per hour working at its standard seven days per week schedule. Starr is growing at a rapid pace and much of this growth may be attributed to the company’s laundry carts. “Your carts impact almost every part of your business and the right cart can add efficiency and cut a variety of costs throughout the entire system,” says Florence.
The solution is the 102P from MODRoto, a member of the Tingue family of companies.
MODRoto pioneered the use of rotationally molded plastic carts, trucks and baskets for the laundry industry. The 102P bulk linen “roundtripper” was developed with a slim profile to maximize the use of space on delivery trucks and trailers. Just 24 inches wide yet with a 38-bushel capacity, the 102P can fit four across on standard trucks and trailers, which typically span 102 inches wide. For a typical cart loaded with hospitality linens, this translates to an increase of about 1,500 pounds per day. “We can fit more tonnage per truck with these carts, says Florence. “It’s a pretty simple concept.” In fact, Florence calculates the fuel cost alone to deliver using the MODRoto 102 to one hotel client is $.051 per pound compared to $.063 per pound, using the older carts.
As a result of this innovative cart, Florence has been able to consolidate several delivery routes and cut the overall cost per mile. In addition, on days when hotel clients experience 100 percent occupancy, additional round trips to pick up soiled laundry are no longer needed since trucks have become more available on their new routes. Though quantifying the overall impact of improving route management efficiency is a challenge, the savings in fuel costs is more tangible.
“A lot of energy is spent trying to make the trucks more fuel efficient, which I applaud, but just by using this linen cart, we’re able to save fuel and get our linens to the client faster and at a cheaper cost per pound,” says Florence. “It helps make it possible for us to be profitable providing the same high level of service to our smaller accounts that we’re known for providing to some of the biggest names in the area.”
At Starr, the 102P shelf truck functions as a bulk linen exchange cart. Upon arrival at the hotel, these carts are brought to the floor and typically stored in a linen room and housekeepers pull from these carts as needed. Now setup as a rolling bulk bin, housekeepers fill the cart with loose (or bagged), soiled laundry and return it to the loading dock for pickup. The key to the process is the cart’s permanent, non-removable shelf system, which enables one person to convert from clean to soiled and back in a matter of seconds without risk of misplacing or mismatching shelves of one cart with shelves that need to go with another cart. “With this non-removable system, we don’t have to buy extra shelves to keep on hand and we don’t have to go back to the client looking for our shelves, plus the housekeepers like it because it’s faster and easier to use,” Florence jubilantly exclaims.
To manage the fleet of more than 500 of these laundry carts, Florence instituted a color-coded system that assigns a single color cart to each client. This system has virtually eliminated the potential for misshipments from the Foley, Ala. Plant. “I’ve seen plants where a card holder is used to hold papers that show what’s in the cart and where it’s supposed to go, or papers are just taped to the sides of the carts,” says Florence, “but anyone can get the paperwork wrong or misread it and this takes away any guesswork. Every driver knows where to deliver by color without having to check each cart.” The carts are available in various colors and since they are molded from colored polyethylene, the cart’s color is the same throughout the entire body, inside and out.