Dave Grimshaw, national chair of the Society of Hospital Linen Service and Laundry Managers, says that the society has “a very broad membership” from all parts of the industry from suppliers to launderers, , to government departments and “all are asking the society for help in enabling them to undertake their roles in a compliant and efficient manner.”
Grimshaw has seen “the rules of engagement” change over 50 years. Then “there were rules, specifications, and mechanisms in place for ensuring products and services supplied to the end user met national standards.” He continues: “The ensuing trading style approach to conducting business, fostered by the need for entrepreneurialism to drive prices down, yet maintain an adequate service, has arguably worked well for several decades. However, with all such freedom, issues arise which government take a view on and now require new controls.”
As for the industry, Grimshaw says that everybody is now reacting rapidly to a new world, and “we are no exception hence our quest to broaden the spectrum of support and advice we provide.”
And the need for advice has never been so great says Grimshaw: “In recent times our nation has become reliant upon others abroad to manufacture and supply our products. Technology has advanced dramatically and now allows our laundries, and any residual manufacturing in the UK, to operate very efficiently.”
He says that firms want to protect the environment and improve working conditions while saving energy.
And then there’s the impact of Brexit which Grimshaw says has caused “confusion and essentially split the nation in half… to say ‘Brexit is done’ is a myth when it comes to dealing with daily practicalities.” That said, he believes that the industry continues to have “sound commercial relationships with many European companies and these relationships should continue to be encouraged alongside the broader horizon of friendships globally.”
It helps, then, that as Grimshaw says, “our associations, societies and technical supporters have engaged highly qualified people and will continue to bring in the necessary expertise to be able to offer support to our members.” Beyond that, a key part of the support the society can provide is in the improvement of compliance with the multitude of rules the sector is subject to. This is why he says that “in terms of the support we give, we see an ever-increasing need for us to work more closely with authorities to understand the nuances of what modern legislation means… there is much ambiguity.”
Ultimately, he sees the sharing of knowledge between associations and societies, particularly on matters corporate, as “an important steppingstone in helping to encourage global compliance on all issues of importance.” To do this, the society plans to develop closer working relationships with associations and societies that indicate a willingness to participate.