Guy Turvill hosted the Open Day sharing the Swiss journey from 1904, when then business was formed in Cambridge to support the University Colleges and the Domestic market.
In 2004 Swiss acquired Camplings in Great Yarmouth and both businesses have grown steadily since then, focusing on the discerning customer market and seeking to deliver their mantra of “It’s the service that makes the difference”.
In 2017, Camplings relocated to new premises, also, in Great Yarmouth, building a brand new, steam-free laundry with support from key supply partners Girbau, Christeyns and WSP. In 2019, Swiss replicated a relocation to Papworth with similar valued support from their partners.
After the welcome, the visitors, together with several Liverymen from the Company of Launderers, toured the factory which services the hospitality market in East Anglia. Networking and discussions continued over lunch where Swiss Camplings’ Directors, Doug Muttitt, Craig Saunt and Mark Turvill were able to expand on the business’s story and experiences. In the afternoon, a Question and Answer session was held which provoked lively contributions. Topics covered included:-
- Environmental policy and sustainability – energy consumption, shrink wrap challenges and how we communicate what we are doing as an industry
- Steam free v conventional steam set up – the flexibility and challenges/findings of moving to a steam free set up
- Staffing challenges faced by a business which has relocated
- Finding a new site – the compromise between having solutions for the key aspects of labour supply, building size/space, road network and utility provision
- Recruitment and retention – a continual challenge for all laundries. A lack of staff is restricting our ability to recover from Covid and grow. “Selling the story” of making our businesses great places to work remains critical
- Pay rates – a general feeling rates will need to keep going up and customers will have to pay. It isn’t all about pay though, as leisure time and quality of life is becoming increasingly important to everybody. Being flexible with hours offered to staff and shift patterns is being felt and, isn’t easy to implement!
- Rodney Beale and Melvyn Rogers both offered their summations and votes of thanks citing that the industry remains friendly and that over 35-50 years, nothing has really changed! The key message is to look after your staff, money is made/lost on the factory floor, keep in communication with the Housekeepers and…. despite a painful Covid period, we will survive!
The scholars enjoyed the day, which was informative and thought provoking.