Christoph Hoffmann FIH reports on how students at Doncaster College are getting valuable insights into the wider hospitality supply chain
“The key to a great relationship with your textile rental provider is communication and trust.”
This was the main message delivered to hospitality students from Doncaster College when they visited linen provider, Imperial Laundry in January. Based in Nottingham, Imperial Laundry celebrated their 100th birthday last year and currently have fourth and fifth generations of the founding family working for the company.
Students of Doncaster College’s BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Hospitality and NVQ Level 3 Hospitality Supervision courses attended the site visit as part of a scheme set up with The Omni Group and Holiday Inn Express Doncaster. With the help of the Textile Services Association, the students visited Imperial Laundry to understand the wider hospitality supply chain.
In 2015 The Omni Group – Omni Facilities Management, Holiday Inn Express Doncaster and Doncaster College started a partnership enabling BTEC Hospitality students to gain work experience in a fully commercial hotel as part of their studies. With this initiative now in its second year, we were looking at adding additional value to the student learning experience and to cover additional aspects of the industry; hence we organised this visit to Imperial Laundry to enable the students to see and understand the housekeeping supply chain better.
As future team members, supervisors or managers in the hospitality industry, it is important that the students gain a good understanding of the industry as a whole; considering that the success of the housekeeping operation in a hotel is closely linked to the outsourced laundry operation, we believe that showcasing a laundry operation as part of this work experience initiative broadens the student’s horizons and might make them aware of career opportunities in this part of the hospitality industry.
At Doncaster College, students are studying in preparation to either move onto a degree in hotel management or to head straight into the hospitality world of work. Working in the college’s award-winning College AA Rosette training restaurant, The Waterfront Restaurant, and undertaking the work experience at the Holiday Inn Express, students encounter linen every day.
By visiting a laundry before embarking on their careers, the next generation of managers will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the customer/supplier relationship as well as where the linen comes from and the effects of linen abuse on the product and the supplier.
The main message that was put across to students by Imperial Laundry’s leadership team and the Textile Services Association (TSA), the trade association for laundry and dry cleaning companies, was that communication is vital to achieve optimum levels of service. But, additional to communication was the principle of “trust”. The laundry industry delivers linen to thousands of sites across the country with numerous disaster recovery plans in place for instances that may affect delivery. The textile rental providers deserve trust. It’s this trust that the provider will deliver that helps the flow of linen.
Trusting a provider reduces stock hoarding and stock hoarding provides a smoother production process in the laundry and better quality stock for the hotel. The Doncaster College students really locked onto this principle and it is hoped this will filter across into their daily treatment of their linen providers in the future.
Gillian Farrar, head of membership and communications at the TSA, gave a brief overview of the wider industry to the students and told us that there are hopes to coordinate a broader relationship with hospitality educators to roll out more site visits and develop stronger bonds across the hospitality supply chain from the educators upwards.
The trip was a success and the students walked away inspired with different career options in mind and a new-found appreciation for the table cloths set on their training restaurants’ tables.