Specialised linen services provider SPL is a leader in the implementation of RFID technology for the laundry industry worldwide. Working with hoteliers to maximise efficiency in the housekeeping department by reducing time spent on inventory management, SPL have introduced the Managed Linen Service.

“Linen supplied to our customers for many years now has included a small RFID chip which assists us in simplifying and automating many aspects of the linen supply chain,” SPL’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Sarah Rowley, explains.

Over the past few years, SPL have audited, tested and trialled its Managed Linen Services and is now progressively introducing this unique system around the country with Victoria the first recipients of this new service. Run from its site in Broadmeadows, the largest commercial laundry in the Southern Hemisphere, the service is now being replicated in South Australia and Western Australia which are in the final stages of implementation and will be closely followed by its key Queensland sites – Cairns and Brisbane.

SPL’s RFID Scanning technology

A hotel’s linen needs can vary greatly depending on occupancy levels, and often traditional ordering systems can result in inconsistencies affecting linen circulation for the hotel.

By monitoring returned linen against agreed on site stock levels and automatically generating replacement orders, the service removes the need for traditional ordering and provides the laundry and hotel with much needed visibility of the movement of linen.

“Once stock levels are agreed, the on-premise stock will be maintained at that level, assisting the hotel to avoid overspending, reducing time spent on inventory management and increasing confidence in what they have on site and what is being delivered,” Rowley said.

“These levels can be adjusted by item or across all stock items to cater for peak trading periods or alternatively be reduced during low occupancy periods.”

Gone are the days of over or understocked pantries of linen, SPL can cater to a hotel’s specific needs, ensuring that stock is maintained, hotels don’t overspend on product they don’t need and are using the linen they order when they need it. 

“The Managed Linen Service also provides us with how long a piece of linen remains on site. Whilst there are some reasons for linen to remain on a site, it’s best when it is at its freshest and not stored in a pantry for long periods of time. We encourage linen use within seven days for this reason and to also ensure linen circulates between hotel and laundry consistently.”

RFID technology

SPL also uses this innovative technology to not only track the movement of linen but to also track its lifecycle, specifically to provide information about its usage.  

The small Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip sewn discretely into the linen will track its unique journey from purchasing, through to daily use, and final discard.

Rowley says this data can be used to optimise linen inventory and ensure the highest quality standards are maintained.

“That data gives us information about the length of time that linen has been in use to determine when it should be reviewed and when it should potentially be taken out of service; so, the quality level of linen will remain high,” she said.

The chips have been selected for their durability with testing confirming they can be safely laundered over 200 times with a higher than 99% accuracy rate.

By reducing staff requirements and through better stock management, the Managed Linen Service, utilising this RFID technology, is designed to be more time and cost efficient for both hotels and for SPL whilst ensuring linen circulation is better managed.