Industry rally to support business after fire

Home and Dry Laundries suffered a small fire with extensive smoke damage on 11 April 2019 at their main processing facility based in Chichester, West Sussex.

The cause of the fire was undetermined. Julia Willkins, principal at Home and Dry, states, “We have always been very safety conscious and it was disappointing that the external investigators could not identify the reason.” The damage extended to customer garments and contract linen as well as all of the machinery, fixtures and fittings on the ground floor.

Willkins, realising the importance of business continuity concurrently started the claims/ recovery procedure as well as put into action the disaster recovery plan she hoped she would not ever have to use. Pressing Needs, a nearby laundry based in Southampton, kindly accepted diverted linen and provided lower than market rate pricing for the duration of the additional work load.

With the help of Pressing Needs, as well as the use of commercial launderettes in the local area, Home and Dry were fully operation within three days of the incident. All claims for customer garments and linen were quickly settled ahead of the main claim with the insurers. All staff were retained during the downtime and redeployed to other parts of the business namely, home cleaning services, driving duties and even home pressing. The machinery was taken away and independently assessed for possible reuse. Unfortunately, the smoke damage and possible concealed heat damage meant they were a total write off.

WashCo (SLS) came and cleared the damaged machinery so the repair works to the building could commence. They also supplied a small roller ironer and finishing tables, on very short lead times, so that retail work could continue at the site.

Specialist contractors sent from the insurers, carried out a thorough clean and redecoration of the ground floor.

Once the space was suitable for outside contractors in mid-July, Vaughan Concepts completed an initial space plan of the replacement machinery. Newly hired operations manager, James Glue, having entered the industry just two weeks earlier from the office supply industry, swung into action, managed the cost levelling process, made recommendation to Willkins and created an action plan to get the facility up and running by the end of August.

Given the restraints of traditional August factory shutdowns, Willkins and Glue made a case to Stahl and Barbanti to produce and ship all equipment in time for a relaunch of the facility at the end of August. Both manufacturers, realising the urgency of requirement, adjusted their production schedules to accommodate the request with the Stahl washers and dryers arriving on site one week after order placement.

The Barbanti finishing equipment specification needed pinning down so Willkins, her daughter Stephanie and Glue flew out to Mirandola, Italy to visit the factory. Having decided on the exact finishing equipment required, Barbanti was able to ship all product at the end of July. Barbanti even supplied the steam boiler, a custom rectangular finishing table and spotting table to aid in the speed of recovery. Mach 1 Engineering installed all of the equipment with brand new pipework, water tanks, compressor etc – lead foreman, Ashley Cadman, fitted the work in around getting married abroad!

This really was a team and industrywide effort and Home and Dry want to thank everyone in the industry who came to offer support.

Willkins and her team gratefully acknowledge the tremendous efforts made by the manufacturers, their distributor, TexID, Mach 1 Engineering installations. They also want to add a special thank you for the loyalty of their customers for sticking with them, and to Pressing Needs for coming to the rescue on processing. And finally, to the Home and Dry team for their dogged determination to get everything up and running again.

Home and Dry Laundries suffered a small fire with extensive smoke damage on 11 April 2019 at their main processing facility based in Chichester, West Sussex.

The cause of the fire was undetermined. Julia Willkins, principal at Home and Dry, states, “We have always been very safety conscious and it was disappointing that the external investigators could not identify the reason.” The damage extended to customer garments and contract linen as well as all of the machinery, fixtures and fittings on the ground floor.

Willkins, realising the importance of business continuity concurrently started the claims/ recovery procedure as well as put into action the disaster recovery plan she hoped she would not ever have to use. Pressing Needs, a nearby laundry based in Southampton, kindly accepted diverted linen and provided lower than market rate pricing for the duration of the additional work load.

With the help of Pressing Needs, as well as the use of commercial launderettes in the local area, Home and Dry were fully operation within three days of the incident. All claims for customer garments and linen were quickly settled ahead of the main claim with the insurers. All staff were retained during the downtime and redeployed to other parts of the business namely, home cleaning services, driving duties and even home pressing. The machinery was taken away and independently assessed for possible reuse. Unfortunately, the smoke damage and possible concealed heat damage meant they were a total write off.

WashCo (SLS) came and cleared the damaged machinery so the repair works to the building could commence. They also supplied a small roller ironer and finishing tables, on very short lead times, so that retail work could continue at the site.

Specialist contractors sent from the insurers, carried out a thorough clean and redecoration of the ground floor.

Once the space was suitable for outside contractors in mid-July, Vaughan Concepts completed an initial space plan of the replacement machinery. Newly hired operations manager, James Glue, having entered the industry just two weeks earlier from the office supply industry, swung into action, managed the cost levelling process, made recommendation to Willkins and created an action plan to get the facility up and running by the end of August.

Given the restraints of traditional August factory shutdowns, Willkins and Glue made a case to Stahl and Barbanti to produce and ship all equipment in time for a relaunch of the facility at the end of August. Both manufacturers, realising the urgency of requirement, adjusted their production schedules to accommodate the request with the Stahl washers and dryers arriving on site one week after order placement.

The Barbanti finishing equipment specification needed pinning down so Willkins, her daughter Stephanie and Glue flew out to Mirandola, Italy to visit the factory. Having decided on the exact finishing equipment required, Barbanti was able to ship all product at the end of July. Barbanti even supplied the steam boiler, a custom rectangular finishing table and spotting table to aid in the speed of recovery. Mach 1 Engineering installed all of the equipment with brand new pipework, water tanks, compressor etc – lead foreman, Ashley Cadman, fitted the work in around getting married abroad!

This really was a team and industrywide effort and Home and Dry want to thank everyone in the industry who came to offer support.

Willkins and her team gratefully acknowledge the tremendous efforts made by the manufacturers, their distributor, TexID, Mach 1 Engineering installations. They also want to add a special thank you for the loyalty of their customers for sticking with them, and to Pressing Needs for coming to the rescue on processing. And finally, to the Home and Dry team for their dogged determination to get everything up and running again.

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