In addition to recommending distributors hire a laundry expert, chemical equipment manufacturers advise them to keep abreast of the latest technological advances when diversifying into warewashing and laundry. New systems with data management capabilities can provide valuable statistics on chemicals and energy usage as well as production reports detailing how many racks of dishes or loads of laundry were washed.

“Newer, innovative dispensing systems go beyond just dispensing chemicals,” says DeCristofano. “Internet of Things capabilities and remote access to information allows the chemical field technician and/or the onsite laundry manager to monitor and manage the status of the dispensing equipment. There is also the capability for dispensing systems to provide data to assist with control of the overall operating costs and efficiencies of the laundry.”

In the absence of dispensing systems with reporting capabilities, DeCristofano encourages distributors to focus on the overall laundry or warewashing process rather than just the chemicals as a commodity when pursuing new accounts. 

“Analyze the total cost of operation — wash formulas including time, temperature, utility usage, linen wear and tear, and labor — and assign a cost to those other factors,” says DeCristofano. “Understanding the entire operation provides the ability to offer improved efficiencies by impacting and lowering total operation costs. This is the added value you bring to your customer when they use your chemical program.”

When done correctly, servicing warewashing and laundry accounts can provide distributors with a consistent revenue stream. 

“When you supply warewashing and laundry chemicals, you generate automated income,” says DeCristofano. “Once the dispensers are automatically injecting chemicals on demand, you will in many cases be generating income, even while you sleep.”

At the same time, distributors should keep in mind that, unlike jan/san dispensers, warewashing and laundry proportioners require 24/7 service. 

“There’s a greater need for support,” says Kernes. “A laundry facility can’t be down over the weekend. So do your homework and make sure you have the service side taken care of before you jump into it.”

Manufacturers of chemical dispensing systems can serve as a great resource for distributors. Many provide training and assistance with installations and maintenance to ease the transition into these new markets.

“Warewashing is pretty straightforward, but laundry has a lot of variables,” says Kinser. “Once you’ve installed the laundry system, you have to work hard to maintain it — and you’re going to be measured on your performance. If something goes wrong, you could lose the whole account, including the jan/san.”

Fortunately, distributors do not have to go it alone.  

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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