Textile services Tuscan style 05 Jul 2018

Laundry visit report

Irving Scott reports from his tour of the So.Ge.Si. Ponsacco laundry plant in Pisa, Central Italy.

This laundry visit was the third in a tour of Italian laundries and took place in the Tuscan town of Ponsacco some 30 miles west of Florence and approximately 15 miles from Pisa. 

The long line of conveyors transporting the folded work from the ironer lines to pack out and despatch

This location was selected by Sig. Luciano Nardi Schultze, the president of the Nardi-Schultze family business, in the early years of the present century and it is an eloquent statement of the clarity and foresight of his business acumen, and for the long range vision of Nardi-Schultze family, as the site remained as an empty and undeveloped asset for ten years until the new laundry plant was finally built. 

Sig. Luciano Nardi saw the future clearly for his family business and created far reaching opportunities some years before they became actual assets. We were fortunate to be able to spend some time with Emiliano Nardi Schultze, the eldest son of the group founder and president of the Nardi Schultze group of five laundries based in locations around Central Italy. 

Prior to our Ponsacco visit he gave us an enthralling picture of his own experiences in business and how he hopes to lead the family group into the next years of opportunity. 

Emiliano Nardi Schultze was born in Perugia and attended Perugia High School prior to studying business administration at Bocconi University in Milan. After graduation in 1999, he worked in the So.Ge.Si. business at various Nardi Schultze group sites, but in 2004 he decided that, for his own personal business development and also for the future benefit of the family firm, it would be an advantage for him to seek professional business experience with quite different industrial companies in food companies in Italy and further afield. 

From 2004 to 2014 Nardi Schultze was in post, first for five years as commercial director of an international business and for the next five years as general manager of the company. After this experience he then spent two years in the automotive sector with a specialist mechanical engineering company with branches located in Sweden, the US and Italy, after which the time was right for him to return to the Nardi Schultze group where he was soon appointed CEO. 

He says: “I have a personal belief that in business everyone should want to give quality of service in whatever role they play. We should all wish to work in a good place where our efforts can be seen to deliver excellent results to our colleagues as well as to our customers, where our services are seen as being part of a continuous line of innovative products delivered by the Nardi-Schultze organisation. 

“I also believe that we have to treat all our customers as if we were with them as partners in business. I have been back in the family business working with my two brothers in So.Ge. Si. and Tintoria Schultze and we have the good fortune to have a well established business model, created in large part by our father and his predecessors, and this will be important to the future of the business because, as in many other industries we face some contraction and concentration of supply because of external pressures of regulation and from strong environmental rules under which all laundries have to operate.” 

The Ponsacco laundry, built by the So.Ge.Si. laundry division of the Nardi Schultze group, was commissioned during 2013 and this development represented the first major new investment by So.Ge.Si. in modern laundry equipment in the 12-15 years since the investments in automated laundry machinery in the period 2003/2005 from Lavatec. We were shown around this plant by Giovanni Nardi Schultze, who is also the Nardi Schultze group purchasing director and we were accompanied by Alessandro Rolli, the managing director of Kannegiesser Italia, based in Milan, Italy, who led the design and commissioning team responsible for the laundry machinery in the Ponsacco plant. 

Built on a large and well developed industrial area site close to Ponsacco, the 5,500 square metre plant is spacious, well lit with both natural and artificial light, and completely modern in layout with some interesting features designed to give effect to the particular So.Ge.Si. design requirements. The processing requirements of 90 tonnes per week was a principal stipulation in the general design requirement, based on an eight-hour single shift employing 40 production staff, in addition to the drivers required to service more than 100 customers within the 60/80 mile radius, delivery and collection area. 

Average processing requirements equate to 18,000kg (40Kilos) of work being processed each day or approximately 90 tonnes per average week, of which 80 per cent is flatwork and the balance is made up of 8,000 garments which are mainly scrub suits and nurses uniforms. The specified processing output per person per hour was required to meet an average of 80kg per person per hour. The actual work output per person, per hour, after commissioning, has been recorded as averaging 85kg per person per hour. 

A key element in the design was to create a laundry for sorting and feeding at the same time, with two remote feeding systems using 5+5 operator loading stations. Wash load batches vary between 85kg and 90kg and there is no sorting on the soiled-side of the two Kannegiesser PowerTrans continuous tunnel washers (one x 16 stage, one x 10 stage) which deliver processed loads with less than six litres of water consumed per kg of work processed. 

Clean batches of linen from the three gas-fired dryers are loaded and sorted at two very generously dimensioned loading stations where there is considerable flexibility to load and sort different items. The linen is automatically sorted and stored according to size by an automatic, two-clamp, measuring system, a system which allows the automatic measurement of width and length of the articles being processed. Items are transported by the overhead system for automatic feeding and folding through the four ironer lines then transported by continuous belt conveyors to storage and dispatch. All linen items are tracked throughout their passage through every processing stage and bar-coded, batched and wrapped, according to type, size and customer. 

So, there we have the current status of So.Ge.Si., the laundry division of the Nardi Schultze group of textile service businesses. A group delivering supreme quality at both ends of the textile industry itself, from dyeing the highest quality fashion yarns and piece goods at Tintoria Schultz to restoring, sterilising and re-delivering the quality laundered product to several thousands of customers each working week. 

This is a laundry company which, from our visits to two of its plants, seems to demonstrate that there is huge commercial potential for those businesses that are fortunate to have a long commercial history in delivering quality textile services across the widest possible range of customers and markets. The key elements seem clear to the external observer and indeed are elemental sources of most business success: concentrate on the basics, ensure that the strong family values are maintained in practice and serve your customers’ best interests first – and always. 

The So.Ge.Si. laundry division of this family-managed Nardi Schultze group is preparing for its continuing future success by honoring its history and adopting the best of modern technologies to deliver quality from its five laundry plants across Central Italy.

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