TSA Annual Conference 2019: A review 03 Jan 2019

Laundry & Cleaning Today’s Mark and Tina Gleed attended this year’s event 

Venue: The May Fair hotel in London. Date: 15/16 November 2018

tsa national conference 2018 igor beuker

The theme of year ’s conference ‘Looking to the future’ allowed delegates an insightful view for the changes and challenges for business in the years to come. David Stevens from NewGen Business Services took on the role as conference host and started by thanking all the TSA sponsors and welcomed so many of the industry CEO’s in attendance. Charles Betteridge of Christeyns was next to take the lectern. 

He spoke of how the TSA had not necessarily moved on - with admin, verbal agreements in place of contracts and the accountancy to name a few – with still a lot to be done. He spoke of ma rket consolidation and how three of the four biggest groups in the UK are now owned by foreign companies, with growing interest from people wishing to buy in to the industry. 

He continued with details on how the association has moved from transition to implementation, and how the TSA are continuing to look at the future, including climate change, effluent charges and knowledge networks. Igor Beuker was the first of the keynote speakers to take to the stage. Beuker is now commonly known in business as a disrupter or, in his own words a professional trouble maker, and over the last 25 years has become a radical marketing visionary and modern day serial entrepreneur. Beuker said: “We are living in a world where everything is changing from stable and certain to a world of uncertainty, he mentioned Brexit as an example of this, bouncing oil prices, terrorism, interest rates and even Donald Trump.” 

He spoke about us being in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, (the third being the invention of the internet) with robotics, automation, AI technology and IoT. Indicating that facial recognition for airports, banks etc would be the norm in the not too distant future, and many repetitive jobs being totally automated by 2038. He closed by saying that speed of innovation is vital to increase competitiveness. But if you are to innovate you need to have thick skin, because people will make fun of you as you try new things. “Be nice to nerds as we will all ended working for them!”- he concluded. 

Philip Wright spoke of where he feels the TSA are at right now and where they need to be as a trade association by representing member’s views, supporting training and capabilities within organisations. Their mission is to protect, nurture and develop the textile service industry and he feels they’re not where they should be and there’s a need to get hotels and hospitals involved, as these are key to the members. The key priorities are training, knowledge, technical support and networking and the policies important to our industry - immigration, plastics and collaborating with other associations. Before the lunch break, a panel discussion took place titled ‘Crystal Balls’. 

The panel included Simon Fry (Micronclean), Guy Turvill (Swiss Laundry), Raj Ruia (Richard Haworth) and Blotho Stein (general manager of the May Fair Hotel). Topics covered included hotel budgets, competitiveness within the hotel sector with new entrants shaking things up and energy and utilities usage. Following on from the panel debate, John Shonfeld took to the stage to talk about the role of the NLG. The group was started by John Shonfeld and Mike Kemp over 20 years ago, the principle aim was to get laundries together to have mutual discussions and regular meetings. The meetings have grown to around 30 members today. 

As well as covering the importance of branding he also spoke about apprenticeships, travelling scholarships and educat ion and NVQ2’s , highlighting that 25 per cent of the industry has gone through this accreditation scheme. The Rt.Hon David Laws, Liberal Democratic Party former member of Parliament for Yeovil and was also chief secretary of the treasury in the coalition government, was up next to talk about the labour market, immigration and the challenges of Brexit. Law mentioned that statistics show that immigration for work purposes has dropped significantly. 

He thinks a post Brexit scenario would be that we take back control of our borders so we would not have uncontrolled immigration into the UK, in exchange for our people to go abroad we would allow access to higher skilled workers and entrepreneurs. He finished by saying we need to deal with the issue on low paid, low skilled organisations and how they should be talking to government. 

After lunch the next keynote speaker was Charlotte Sweeney OBE. Sweeney empowers business leaders and organisations to focus on equality and create inclusive workplaces. She highlighted that managers and leaders need to make their organisations att ractive to encourage new employees pointing out that 80 per cent say inclusion is an important factor when choosing an employer, and 72 per cent would leave an organisation for somewhere that is more inclusive. The af ter noon session continued with a double bill of high profile industry guests Elis CEO Xavier Martiré and Kannegiesser chairman Martin Kannegiesser looking from a European perspective at the UK market. 

Martire has been in the industry for over 20 years starting as a general manager of a laundry in Paris. He spoke of the challenges of the laundry market in the last year with Brexit on the horizon and how French businesses are seeing the return of workers to the plants from the UK due to the uncertainty in the market. Martin Kannegiesser spoke of his honour to be asked to speak at the annual conference and said how closely connected his company is with the UK. “In France and Germany we feel there is no question Europe without the UK is not Europe so therefore we have to find a soft way to handle the situation. 

From a Kannegiesser point of view, here in the UK technology and marketing are balanced and we are very happy with the relationships with our teams in the UK and Europe. We therefore are looking forward to a continued relationship with the UK for the foreseeable future.” Keith Coates, founding partner of TomorrowToday, concluded the keynote speakers with his view on the future of the industry and marketplace to 2035 and beyond.

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