Kann they do it … yes, they Kann!

Jan Raycroft goes out and about to meet the team at Kannegiesser UK at their HQ in Banbury

Kannegiesser’s impressive premises in Banbury

In more ways than one, Kannegiesser UK is in exactly the right spot. For a start, the leading service and support partner for industrial laundries has a wealth of technical expertise offering swift ‘right first time’ response to customers.

But there’s much more to it than that, as we learn during a visit to their HQ in Banbury, Oxfordshire, during which we’re taken on a fascinating tour by service manager Ian Smithson. There’s a lot to see, from the programming suite to support customers’ faults, the extensive infrastructure to support the department and a trip downstairs to marvel at the huge stores section holding some £4 million worth of 30,000 different product lines of genuine Kannegiesser spares, from screws to larger complicated components of all shapes and sizes.

They might look like row after row of carefully categorised spares to most of us, but there’s no doubt these are Kannegiesser’s ‘jewels in the crown’ where they have strived wherever possible to have the parts on the shelf for their customers.

This is also supplemented with a vertical storage system which has a height of 12m and can store many thousands of components all of which their position is remembered with special software. This enables the team to call off any spare parts required in a very efficient way as the system knows where the required parts are stored and on which shelf within the vertical conveyor.

There’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place in this huge space. Talking of being in the right spot, Banbury, a historic market town, has become something of a high-tech hub itself in recent years including various Formula One teams which have their headquarters in or around the town. Like Kannegiesser UK it has retained a community spirit while making the most of links courtesy of its central position in England’s business network.

The Kannegiesser name may be synonymous with first class and high-quality industrial laundry equipment and the project teams which can design new plant from concept through to operation, but Smithson is also clearly proud of the ‘family feel’ of Kannegiesser, experienced both onsite by UK staff and stemming from the ethos of the parent company based in Germany. It’s a bond they share with what is the wider family of their customers, and it feels generational as Kannegiesser has built up this unrivalled service over more than 75 years.

Over the last 30 years Kannegiesser UK have been successful in delivering both individual machines to designing ‘latest state of the art energy efficient’ new builds and major refurbishment. This has enabled Kannegiesser to invest in their service support operation both with their field technicians and the team at Banbury.

“It’s a relationship built on trust,” says Smithson. “We’ve been with the customers before the pandemic, of course, but have witnessed alongside them the extraordinary ups and downs and knock-on effects within laundries during the past two years. Some sectors dropped dramatically and then healthcare took centre stage. The laundries had to prioritise, and we did too in line with their needs. “We saw demands in our garment systems as the NHS changed from nurse’s uniforms to scrub suits, almost overnight, which led us to review and bolster our garment spares and provision”. “Food processing was important and was consistently prioritised all the way through the pandemic, while hospitality plummeted and led to laundries shutting, with staff furloughed or losing jobs. “When some of the larger laundries reopened their plants they were not running the shifts they usually do. Our service teams experienced all of this alongside them, doing their utmost to support laundry operations.”

The same duty of care was extended to Kannegiesser’s own staff as the mainly Banbury office-based team who link with the 15 specialists ‘out on the road’ overseeing installations and service faced the end of ‘work from home’ and a return to their desks. It’s clearly a happy working environment, not just from seeing the relaxed atmosphere but how this positivity is reflected when dealing with customers on the phone. The company’s duty of care was used with installations as during the pandemic Covid protocols were introduced at all installation sites so that the Kannegiesser teams could work safely within the government guidelines. Smithson recalls: “We all felt very much part of the process. People wanted to get back to work together. The question was ‘Do you feel safe here?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, we do.’ Wellbeing and mental health were also on the agenda, and it’s gone very well.”

The centralised spares team really does work like clockwork, helped by impressive order processing software. They keep a close eye on performance indicators and know that 92.5 per cent of spare parts arrive where they’re needed next day or even better by using a carrier providing same day delivery.

The sheer size and range of stock held onsite very much helps to counter the global problem of supply chain issues. Smithson and his team encourage best practice housekeeping by laundries to avoid snags such as premises forgetting to re-order recommended parts which could easily be held on their own site. “That and regular maintenance makes it less challenging for them, and in turn, us. But we can ship up to 10 o’clock at night Monday to Friday and have an out of hours rota across the business to deal with emergencies.”

One of the offices is jam-packed with an extraordinary mix of technical equipment, electrical components, spares, screens and keyboards. It’s the programming suite where not only can technicians simulate a fault onsite, but through a secure link obtain remote access to a customer’s machinery and so diagnose a fault or solve an issue. Most of all it means that if a spare part is required it’s already been identified and can be swiftly on its way to the laundry, with an engineer primed to fit it. They know time is money for laundries and that head-scratching is costly.

There are many years of expertise in the Kannegiesser team, but it’s good to see a mix of ages within their ‘can do’ technical, service and sales sides. Even so, Smithson wishes more youngsters would see the value of engineering as a career and not think working with laundries doesn’t sound ‘sexy’ enough. “It’s true the lifestyle is not Hollywood, but it’s rewarding work, both in a team and with your own projects, that throws up new challenges but still has a family fit.”

Our conclusion from the visit shows us how the Kannegiesser service and support team are market leading, able to support all their customers with their older or the latest equipment and with their field based technicians offer a most professional and valuable service to the UK laundry industry.

A dedicated room for training and support of both customers and colleagues

Need a roller? It won’t take long for Kannegiesser UK to have the right one on its way to you

Jan Raycroft goes out and about to meet the team at Kannegiesser UK at their HQ in Banbury

Kannegiesser’s impressive premises in Banbury

In more ways than one, Kannegiesser UK is in exactly the right spot. For a start, the leading service and support partner for industrial laundries has a wealth of technical expertise offering swift ‘right first time’ response to customers.

But there’s much more to it than that, as we learn during a visit to their HQ in Banbury, Oxfordshire, during which we’re taken on a fascinating tour by service manager Ian Smithson. There’s a lot to see, from the programming suite to support customers’ faults, the extensive infrastructure to support the department and a trip downstairs to marvel at the huge stores section holding some £4 million worth of 30,000 different product lines of genuine Kannegiesser spares, from screws to larger complicated components of all shapes and sizes.

They might look like row after row of carefully categorised spares to most of us, but there’s no doubt these are Kannegiesser’s ‘jewels in the crown’ where they have strived wherever possible to have the parts on the shelf for their customers.

This is also supplemented with a vertical storage system which has a height of 12m and can store many thousands of components all of which their position is remembered with special software. This enables the team to call off any spare parts required in a very efficient way as the system knows where the required parts are stored and on which shelf within the vertical conveyor.

There’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place in this huge space. Talking of being in the right spot, Banbury, a historic market town, has become something of a high-tech hub itself in recent years including various Formula One teams which have their headquarters in or around the town. Like Kannegiesser UK it has retained a community spirit while making the most of links courtesy of its central position in England’s business network.

The Kannegiesser name may be synonymous with first class and high-quality industrial laundry equipment and the project teams which can design new plant from concept through to operation, but Smithson is also clearly proud of the ‘family feel’ of Kannegiesser, experienced both onsite by UK staff and stemming from the ethos of the parent company based in Germany. It’s a bond they share with what is the wider family of their customers, and it feels generational as Kannegiesser has built up this unrivalled service over more than 75 years.

Over the last 30 years Kannegiesser UK have been successful in delivering both individual machines to designing ‘latest state of the art energy efficient’ new builds and major refurbishment. This has enabled Kannegiesser to invest in their service support operation both with their field technicians and the team at Banbury.

“It’s a relationship built on trust,” says Smithson. “We’ve been with the customers before the pandemic, of course, but have witnessed alongside them the extraordinary ups and downs and knock-on effects within laundries during the past two years. Some sectors dropped dramatically and then healthcare took centre stage. The laundries had to prioritise, and we did too in line with their needs. “We saw demands in our garment systems as the NHS changed from nurse’s uniforms to scrub suits, almost overnight, which led us to review and bolster our garment spares and provision”. “Food processing was important and was consistently prioritised all the way through the pandemic, while hospitality plummeted and led to laundries shutting, with staff furloughed or losing jobs. “When some of the larger laundries reopened their plants they were not running the shifts they usually do. Our service teams experienced all of this alongside them, doing their utmost to support laundry operations.”

The same duty of care was extended to Kannegiesser’s own staff as the mainly Banbury office-based team who link with the 15 specialists ‘out on the road’ overseeing installations and service faced the end of ‘work from home’ and a return to their desks. It’s clearly a happy working environment, not just from seeing the relaxed atmosphere but how this positivity is reflected when dealing with customers on the phone. The company’s duty of care was used with installations as during the pandemic Covid protocols were introduced at all installation sites so that the Kannegiesser teams could work safely within the government guidelines. Smithson recalls: “We all felt very much part of the process. People wanted to get back to work together. The question was ‘Do you feel safe here?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, we do.’ Wellbeing and mental health were also on the agenda, and it’s gone very well.”

The centralised spares team really does work like clockwork, helped by impressive order processing software. They keep a close eye on performance indicators and know that 92.5 per cent of spare parts arrive where they’re needed next day or even better by using a carrier providing same day delivery.

The sheer size and range of stock held onsite very much helps to counter the global problem of supply chain issues. Smithson and his team encourage best practice housekeeping by laundries to avoid snags such as premises forgetting to re-order recommended parts which could easily be held on their own site. “That and regular maintenance makes it less challenging for them, and in turn, us. But we can ship up to 10 o’clock at night Monday to Friday and have an out of hours rota across the business to deal with emergencies.”

One of the offices is jam-packed with an extraordinary mix of technical equipment, electrical components, spares, screens and keyboards. It’s the programming suite where not only can technicians simulate a fault onsite, but through a secure link obtain remote access to a customer’s machinery and so diagnose a fault or solve an issue. Most of all it means that if a spare part is required it’s already been identified and can be swiftly on its way to the laundry, with an engineer primed to fit it. They know time is money for laundries and that head-scratching is costly.

There are many years of expertise in the Kannegiesser team, but it’s good to see a mix of ages within their ‘can do’ technical, service and sales sides. Even so, Smithson wishes more youngsters would see the value of engineering as a career and not think working with laundries doesn’t sound ‘sexy’ enough. “It’s true the lifestyle is not Hollywood, but it’s rewarding work, both in a team and with your own projects, that throws up new challenges but still has a family fit.”

Our conclusion from the visit shows us how the Kannegiesser service and support team are market leading, able to support all their customers with their older or the latest equipment and with their field based technicians offer a most professional and valuable service to the UK laundry industry.

A dedicated room for training and support of both customers and colleagues

Need a roller? It won’t take long for Kannegiesser UK to have the right one on its way to you

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