The Association for Linen Management (ALM) is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the professional development of personnel involved in the textile care industry. Its members are general managers, laundry directors, managers, and technicians providing textile care services; the facilities they serve with their services; and the equipment and supply companies who provide materials for textile care. ALM advances the use of textiles in healthcare, hospitality, correctional facilities, and long-term care providers through guidance for textile processing, management, and utilization.
Laundry processors are driven by production data. They’re constantly searching for ways to improve efficiencies while maintaining the quality customers expect. Their two greatest challenges were related to data and information, including
- Lack of uniform consensus on the formulas to calculate the industry-recognized key performance indicator(s).
- The industry’s wide variations in automation, customer market, and location in order to provide valid benchmarking.
In addition, the industry continues to experience consolidations, retiring “mom and pop” owners, and an influx of venture capitalists seeking valid data to enable sound business decisions. The absence of uniform valid data was in high demand and critical.
ALM traditionally serves individuals in the textile care services industry, providing professional development often sponsored by employers but recognized the industry-wide void of comparative plant metrics. ALM leads the industry with providing educational programs to advance operational leadership capabilities. They realized there was an additional need for benchmarking data to help the industry achieve operational improvements.
From the early 2000’s until 2010, the industrial laundry industry relied on a published benchmarking report to help them make strategic decisions about their businesses. The report provided market intelligence that allowed decision-makers to compare their operations to those of similar size and type. The report was discontinued, and the industry no longer had access to up to date benchmarking information. The industry was hungry for new data. Fairbanks realized that filling that gap was an opportunity for ALM to show leadership and build value large, industrial laundries.
As a result, ALM undertook the development of a benchmarking report that would serve the entire laundry industry and be designed for the digital age. They engaged industry experts, representing a broad spectrum of laundry types, to build the platform. The experts designed it to provide the information critical to their own decision-making needs. As a result, ALM is able to offer an interactive benchmarking platform to provide data on operational efficiencies, measures of quality, utility cost, safety performance, and profitability in industrial laundries. Participants can create custom reports that provide data essential for determining opportunities for improvement, planning resources and investments, and building or refining business plans.
With a staff of six, and in the midst of developing two other major initiatives, ALM sought help with branding and marketing for its new benchmarking platform.
ALM turned to .orgSource to guide the launch of the platform. .orgSource was an ideal partner as they have expertise in benchmarking programs and launching new research initiatives. .orgSource worked with ALM to develop a comprehensive strategic marketing plan that
- Identified the benchmarking platform’s brand and name
- Defined its value to cost-conscious healthcare and hospitality laundry services
- Recommended marketing tactics
.orgSource walked ALM through brainstorming and brand essence exercises, and honed in on the core attributes of the platform. LaundryMarksTM by ALM was chosen as the name. The name aligns with the organization’s overall image, mission and vision, and incorporates its brand identity.
The marketing plan included pre- and post-launch activities including tactics for the announcement of LaundryMarks during ALM’s major in-person conference, The Clean Show, and print and digital communications to build awareness of the new service, encourage participation, and engage key stakeholders to utilize the program. .orgSource wrote the marketing materials and packaged them for implementation by the staff.
In addition, .orgSource presented at The Clean Show about the value of benchmarking.
The launch of LaundryMarks was met with great enthusiasm by ALM’s members, trade media and the laundry industry. Fairbanks is delighted with the reception for the platform and with the possibilities for future products and reporting. Improved data and insights will make the entire laundry industry stronger and ALM is credited with leading the way to increased understanding in a rapidly changing business environment.
“Our small staff was hard at work on several initiatives, including LaundryMarksTM. Creating a launch marketing plan would have been a challenge,” said ALM Executive Director Linda Fairbanks. “.orgSource was able to assess our needs and design a strategic marketing plan that not only introduced the LaundryMarks to the industry, but also built incredible excitement about it. Their expert guidance was invaluable.”