Laundry Pool Items

Wäscherei Stich Tags 70,000 Laundry Pool Items with UHF RFID

Rental linen and RFID reduce inventory levels and investment volume.

The Bremen laundry Stich plans to double its tagged laundry pool from 70,000 to 150,000 by the end of 2020

The laundry company is equipped with modern machinery and processes about 26 tons of laundry daily. Services include house-specific and individual fittings, for example customerspecific linen with embroidery. In addition, customers have the option of acquiring laundry pool items from the laundry Stich for special events, such as weddings.

9,000 Beds, 30 Delivery Points

Wäscherei Max Stich is planning to participate in a tender for a major project at the end of 2020. The offer comprises UHF RFID tagged laundry pools for 30 facilities in Northern Germany and is expected to be realized by the end of 2020. This corresponds to a total of 9,000 beds, each with a triple linen set. Since the laundry cycles of the respective facilities vary from one another, rental linen and RFID can be used to reduce inventory and investment volumes.

Moritz Stich, Managing Director Wäscherei Max Stich, explains the RFID integration during the on-site appointment of RFID & Wireless IoT Global in Bremen.

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Family Business in the Third Generation

JYoung entrepreneur Moritz Stich, has been running the Wäscherei Max Stich in the third generation since 2013. The family business was initially founded in 1936 as a small laundry for men and women. Today, 110 employees work for the innovative and largest laundry in Bremen. Textile logistics customers are supplied within a radius of 150 kilometers, as far as the northern German islands.

70,000 Laundry Items Tagged Since 2018

"The main reason behind the decision to integrate UHF RFID technology was the re-equipment of a hotel customer. At the beginning of the contract, three hotels in Bremen were supplied with rental linen tagged with UHF RFID. The chain currently consists of 60 hotels, two of which are located in Bremen and are still supplied by the laundry company Stich. The expensive rental linen was provided with embroidery – about three times as expensive as comparable linen without embroidery – and purchased with 5 sets of stock per bed.

Normally, a pillow, for example, costs on average between three and five euros. In this case the price is already between 12 and 15 euros. The aim: To eliminate the loss of cost-intensive goods, to have a transparent view of the washing cycles, and to be able to precisely locate the goods," says Moritz Stich as he explains the beginnings. A total of around 40,000 pieces of linen, for the hotel with 300 beds, were equipped with UHF RFID transponders. Contracts with terms of between three and five years are customary on the market.

Hotel Linen Must Have 5 Sets of Stock

What is the composition of the 5-fold laundry inventory? Moritz Stich explains: "On average, eight different pieces of linen are needed per bed. Together, this makes a total of 40 items of laundry per bed in the 5-fold linen set. Once the guest has vacated the room, the 1st inventory is delivered to the laundry for cleaning. At the same time, the 2nd set is prepared for the next guest. The 3rd stock is needed to cover the travel time between the hotel and the laundry, and to have a linen set in stock. The 4th set is intended for guests who extend their stay at short notice and need new laundry sets. In addition, losses of inventory must also be taken into account. Linen losses vary depending on the facility. On average, around ten percent of bed linen and 15 percent of terry towels are stolen every year. The largest inventory items among them are high-quality bathrobes and sauna towels, often with the company logo. As a result, an additional 5th stock is created."

The benefits of the UHF RFID technology: Increasing transparency so that all stocks can be located at any time and laundry cycles can be monitored. The result: Eliminating long waiting or search times for individual linen pieces. Lost or defective goods can be reordered and replaced immediately and the circulation of inventory is smooth.

The Reduction of Inventory is the Ultimate Goal of Hotels

Without RFID technology, hoteliers would not have transparent inventories. Exact localization would not be possible. An exact number of individual laundry items would be impossible to determine. Any loss would not be detected or checked. From a hotel's point of view, sufficient linen stock has the highest priority.

"Hotel operators do not want to be placed in a position where they cannot rent rooms to guests because bed linen or towels cannot be provided. For this reason, many hoteliers prefer to use rental linen. If the hotel takes over the investment under its own management, then cost-saving measures are often preferred and a smaller inventory is created", says Moritz Stich. and explains: "Then not a 5-fold inventory is bought, but instead a 3-fold one. Due to the large number of customers, we receive lower purchasing prices than a single hotel."

The Laundry Pool System: Increased Productivity

Not having to process laundry separately according to customer corresponds to an increase in production output of around 20 percent. The main advantage is that machines no longer have to be customized. "Let's take a hotel with 100 beds and a hotel with 1,000 beds as an example. For the laundry, this means: For the first hotel, ironing takes ten minutes and for the second hotel, one hour. The machines have to be refitted between each change. During this time the mangles are idle. The time required for each individual reprogramming is around ten seconds, but extrapolated, the program configuration takes around 200 minutes a day.

Thanks to the laundry pool for all customers – there are no more interruptions or production downtimes," says Moritz Stich, and continues, "thanks to RFID technology, fresh goods can be packed and prepared for delivery to the customer as soon as the dirty goods are picked up – even before they arrive at our laundry. Each customer has a different laundry circulation, which can be balanced out by utilizing laundry pools. As a result, the total inventory can be reduced and costs saved. For the use of tagged laundry pools, for example for the tender at the end of 2020, the investment volume for the laundry will drop from 500,000 to 300,000 euros.

5 Million Items in Circulation – Only 1.4 Percent Tagged

Moritz Stich does not consider it advisable to tag the entire laundry inventory. “To tag all 5 million items with UHF RFID transponders would not be feasible even within five years. It is much more important to equip high-priced items of laundry, like bath and sauna towels, with UHF RFID for security reasons. In addition, we thereby generate transparency about the individual laundry cycles, about when the goods were delivered, or when they were returned to us, etc. Currently, around 70,000 items of laundry are tagged with UHF RFID transponders.”

This does not only result in in-house advantages for the laundry. The benefits can also be passed on to the customers, for instance theft by hotel guests can be proven. “The further handling is then left to the hotels. The UHF RFID technology only secures the goods,” says Moritz Stich. “Furthermore, it is also possible to use UHF RFID for other high-priced goods, for example to secure televisions or Bluetooth boxes against theft”.

How are the UHF RFID Transponders Integrated?

“There are two alternatives to this. One option is to affix Tagitron's UHF RFID transponder to the textile using a hot plate. The cost for patching is 1.50 euros per piece of laundry. The second option involves the UHF RFID chips being sewn into the hem by the textile suppliers. This is mainly used for new fabrics,” explains Moritz Stich. A total of six UHF RFID readers from Tagitron Transparency Through UHF RFID The benefits of RFID technology: Increasing transparency so that all stocks can be located at any time, and laundry cycles can be consulted.

The result: No lengthy waiting or search times for individual items of laundry. Lost or defective goods can be reordered and replaced immediately, and there is seamless circulation of inventory. are installed for data capture within the laundry. Two of them are located in the incoming goods area, the remaining four after completion of the cleaning process. So far, no readers have been integrated inside the machines.

Advantages of RFID Integration for a Laundry

  • Transparent data is generated
  • Precise inventory: Loss and theft can be localized
  • Goods cycles are optimizedt
  • Lost or defective goods can be reordered immediately
  • Increased productivity
  • Cost savings
  • Decreased investment volumes
  • Total inventory is reduced

Advantages of RFID Integration for a Laundry's Client

  • Lower prices for rental linen
  • Less private investment
  • Theft by guests can be proven
  • Optimized laundry cycles guarantee sufficient stock on-site
  • Use of RFID technology can be extended to other objects

Source: RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Special Edition Laundry 2020

Niklas Van Bocxlaer
Niklas Van Bocxlaer
Exhibition Manager
Lüneburg near Hamburg, Germany
Anja Van Bocxlaer
Anja Van Bocxlaer
Editor in chief and Conference Manager
Lüneburg, near Hamburg, Germany
Jan Phillip Denkers
Jan Phillip Denkers
Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Lüneburg near Hamburg, Germany
Vanessa Tan
Vanessa Tan
Editor & Marketing Manager
Lüneburg near Hamburg, Germany
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