The National : THE NATIONAL Issue 1 2009
FILTERFAB OVERSEAS STUDY AWARD NATIONAL WINNER 2007 REPORT WARWICK BROWN, PRINCES LINEN “The last twelve months have been enormous for me. My wife announced her pregnancy and I became a Dad for the first time, in March 2008. The most incredible thing in my life. We sold our tiny house to make room for baby and bought a new house. “I walked the Kokoda Track, which is an amazing experience. “We (Princes) acquired a laundry at Altona, and we now bring own sheets and towelling in from China. “Travelling to Europe and America on my Overseas Study Tour, visiting many laundries and manufacturers, and attendance at Texcare in Frankfurt was certainly a highlight of the year. “Regrettably, within four days of returning, a fire went through our Altona plant and my focus turned from my trip to managing this crisis. The fire ripped through the rear side of the factory, and if I can urge you to do one thing is make sure you have a fire plan up to date, your insurance up to date, a crisis plan up to date. “We had many other plants within Victoria phone to ask if they could help and we are grateful for that generosity. Sadly, fire is far too common a problem in our industry. We are lucky our other plants helped offset the overload. “But! Back to my Overseas Study Tour! It was ... incredible. I have travelled overseas before, but this was amazing. I visited 8 centres, 12 laundries, and an autobahn, delighted in having my photograph taken in front of any number of world famous sports grounds, a castle, and a city, named after me – and was involved in a ‘stick up’ in L.A. The whole nine yards – balaclava, AK-47, ‘hit the floor’. “I wouldn’t recommend the last one, Bob,” he said by way of an aside to Bob Campbell. “It was sweet to win the Award last year. I had been the state finalist for Victoria 3 times before I won and can only say if you don’t win the first time, don’t give up. It is so worthwhile. “I visited Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and America. “In Kuala Lumpa, Mediland is part of Radicare Group, a government operation with two factories under construction. They process 100+ ton per week and face many of the same challenges we do in management, and linen losses. It is a beautiful laundry, great lay out, state of the art. They have a ‘metal shark’ which detects bits of metal in a load and stops it going through the press membrane. “Trolleys are wrapped in plastic, which we don’t tend to do here due to waste issues, but it certainly gives clients the immediate impression of cleanliness. “Texcare in Germany is the premier laundry exhibition event in the world. I was shown great courtesy by the manufacturers and taken to many plants to see the latest equipment in action. “In Switzerland they have little regard for water savings. The snow capped mountains and spring melt provide a ready supply of water. Interesting to a Melbournian! “Inotex is a healthcare centre, in an exceptional marketplace. You can’t enter the hospital unless you are wearing a professionally laundered outfit/uniform. On site management of garments through exceptional automation was an eye-opener. I believe there are great opportunities in Australia with nurses uniforms. “I noticed in the laundry that work is always delivered to the workers at their station. Many thousands of garments are managed every day. “The hospitals have fitted sheets, trying to reduce load on nurses. These wash easily, a harder thing to control is quality, as they are washed, dried and bagged. “European process validation is exceptional, with all batches barcoded and recorded. At Inotex a for example a package of fresh linen travels 350 metres by conveyor from the barcode docketing, through plastic wrap, to the despatch. “I visited Sunlight, as I was interested in the culture of a company with over 70 laundries throughout the UK. All managers had come from the factory floor and that knowledge of how things really works has filtered through the group. All Sunlight plants operate 24/7 and are not considered to be running to capacity unless they are running 34 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER, JANUARY/FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009 Warwick Brown ponders his Powerpoint presentation which assisted in demonstrating his wide ranging travels as the 2007 National Filterfab Overseas Study Awardee.
THE NATIONAL Issue 2 2009
THE NATIONAL Issue 3 2008