Providing Turnkey Laundry Solutions to the Healthcare Industry Australia-Wide Since 1968 [Interview][Transcript]

Steven_Borg_Aqualogic_Laundry_SystemsGuest: Steve Borg
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: After leaving school Steve started working for Aqualogic in 1993 as a Storeman. He then changed to Spare Parts Manager before working as a Service Technician. While the majority of his Career with Aqualogic has been in the Sales Department, his time spent in Service gave him an in-depth knowledge with hands on experience of the company’s products and services. He is currently the Sales Manager and spends a lot of his time working with Industry Professionals on ways to improve process which, in turn, benefits their clients.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Aqualogic Laundry Systems Sales Manager Steve Borg joins us to share information about their products and services. An Australian owned company, they supply and service commercial, industrial laundry equipment and ancillary products as well as providing various preventive maintenance programs. They supply to various industries including the Government Health System such as Hospitals, Private Hospitals & Aged Care facilities. Also, they supply to the Hospitality Industry and almost every Correctional Facility in New South Wales. Their technicians are factory trained and they hold a large stock of spare parts in multiple states.


Transcript

Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and joining me today is Steven Borg. Steven is the sales manager of Aqualogic Laundry System. And we haven’t spoken to a laundry company before but those of you who work in hospitals will know that it’s a critical component of keeping the system working. So Steven welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Steven Borg: Thank you Wayne. Thank you for having me on your show.

Wayne: It’s a pleasure. Now as I mentioned in the introduction, I guess everyone who works in a hospital just assumes that the dirty linen goes somewhere and clean linen comes back. But I guess you guys provide that service in between so tell us a little bit about your services and what’s geographical footprint you manage.

S: Yeah, look Aqualogic is a Australian owned company. We supply and service commercial and industrial laundry equipment and ancillary products such as Trolley’s. As well as providing various for the maintenance programs in the industry.

W: Okay, it haven’t occurred to me that preventive maintenance is important in the laundry business.

S: Yeah look, preventive maintenance is probably just as important. It’s not more than the actual products themselves.

W: So Steven do you operate Australian wide then with the supply of equipment?

S: Yeah look, we are Australia wide for a lot of our products, with offices in Brisbane and Sydney including regional areas. And we have about 35 staff and growing.

W: And it’s a firm that’s quite old. I can see in my bio that it’s been around since 1968.

S: Correct.

W: That’s almost as old as I am, Steven.

both: (laugh)

S: Yeah 1968, it’s been around for a long time but the company has changed quite a bit as part of growth which is really a good thing.

W: Yeah, and of course over the period of time you’d expect some change. Now Steven most of our listeners are clinicians of one sort, their doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and also a fair number now in aged care. So we get the acute care staff in the hospitals and the aged care staff in all of the residential facilities. What’s the message you’d like them to take away from our chat today?

S: Look, well first of all we do supply to various industries including the government health systems such as hospitals, private hospitals and aged care facilities. We also supply to the Hospitality Industry and almost every Correctional Facility in New South Wales. And look just on correctional, it’s quite important because it’s having our machinery in all of the correctional facilities is a testament to the durability and longevity of our machinery. It’s actually the inmate themselves are operating the machinery. And as you can imagine criminals may not treat the machinery as with care as a laundry operator in other industries. Being an Australian owned company, we’re fortunate to be able to fit machinery which is mostly suited to the Australian market. Australia is fairly remote to the rest of the world so we need our machinery to last long time, we need a strong reliable machinery even the least amount of electricity, water gas and over all energy. The machines which they need to operate are very important. We have a service team of 17 employees and not sub-contractors which is currently three times the size of our closest opposition. Our technicians are factory trained and we hold a large staff of spare parts in most of the states. But in short we will arrive sooner on site, will diagnose the problem with more accuracy and will have the right spare parts that’s required and if your supplier cannot guarantee high performance and in all these areas, they probably should be asking questions.

W: Yeah, it comes to my mind that they’re not doing the laundry with love.

S: It’s correct, yeah we’re definitely not treating the machinery with that amount of care. But look, there was a client we serve many years now over a dozen and they keep coming back, so we’re happy.

W: Is there anything special about the linen process for the health sector or is it the same throughout all of the sector?

S: Look there’s definitely a different process involved in dealing with government versus private and they often have different interests. So government really wants stability when they purchasing and a company integrity, uniformity this quality are obviously important to all industries. But we find best overall value for money paramount to the private sector. We work with a lot of the aged care providers both for profit and not for profit sectors. So there’s two main sectors for the aged care groups and they are both very different. But ultimately those for all industries, having fresh clean linen and showers backed up our supplier they can ensure their laundry operates seamlessly is vital to all our client. It’s often challenging but it’s what we pride ourselves in achieving.

W: Yes, it does strike me to that one of the things you don’t think of that’s going to bring any institution to halt very quickly if it doesn’t work.

S: Absolutely. And I don’t know, maybe you have to be in the industry to clarify to those realities, but that is the case.

W: Yes, speaking of being in the industry, Steven my favorite question. In every industry there are misconceptions. What’s the biggest misconception amongst your customer, you’re clients that drives you nuts and keeps you awake at night?

S: Yeah, great question. Look here are a few thoughts, laundry is not our core business. For example private hospitals tend to send their linen out. And look I agree, this laundry is not their core business but clean fresh available linen is an important part of ensuring that their core business runs smoothly. So having your laundry, enabling you to have full control of the final presentation of your linen, delivered on time and will often save you a lot of money. And as long as you’re with the right partner dealing with the right company, that’s probably the most important. I guess the second main thing which we know it’s in the minds of our customers is if “I buy the cheapest product I’m gonna save money.” And we know the cliché “you get what you pay for.” But I guess I’m thinking more of the holistic solution. So buying a product should be just as much about the company and after sales service as the product itself. If I may I might actually just list a few of the considerations …

W: Yes, sure.

S: …people should think about. Our after sales service, I mean many technicians does your supplier actually have? If the supplier only has a few technicians, it’s difficult to offer quick consistent service. Do they use sub-contractors or company employee? So sub-contractors are great but they may not have the same level of expertise as the supplier and they probably won’t carry all the spare parts for every model in every brand, kind of results in extended machinery downtime. Spare parts, it’s critical. There’s no point in being on site promptly because you have to wait a week for the parts to arrive from overseas and we see this on so many occasions, yeah. Does the company provide sound technical support or do they get …. a technician whose trying to answer your question while fixing someone else’s machine, it is just frustrating to anyone. We save our clients a lot of money fixing issues over the phone and this is currently a free service we provide with our in-house sales support team. It’s also gonna minimize machinery downtime and there’s no travel required. But systems, there has been a lot of change in technology lately. So we put a lot of time money and resources into making sure that we have systems in place, service of machinery tracking is a big leap in technology which allows us to know exactly where every technician is at all times, maximizing their efficiency. Each technician carries an iPad with a service report application. And once they complete that, the service report then gets prompted to an email to the facility for electronic filling. And maybe more so in the aged care sector, but it’s very beneficial because they get audited and when the facility gets audited they want proof that the machines have a preventative maintenance program so it just makes a lot easier for them. I guess last of all, what extra service does the company providing? An example is a “free laundry analysis” that we do, we follow this up with the report detailing our findings and recommendation. So a member of our team will spend a few hours in a laundry observing processes, looking for efficiency zones, from when the bed is stripped, the sorting process, wash process, dry folds to final distribution. And this often results in reducing the total cost per processed kilo of goods, it can save them a lot of money. Usually a little or no monetary outlay often simply by changing a few processes.

W: Steven it’s always a pleasure talking to someone whose passionate about their topic. And I hear the passion in your voice when you’re talking, the notion of laundry sounds from outside the industry, it’s such mundane thing. But clearly and obviously to you it’s a major component.

S: Well yes, 22 years straight out to school of being in laundry, it’s most of my life than. We actually sell a washing machine which is over a million dollars. For one washing machine, just for using linen and I often say this to people and it’s just kind of opened up because I guess you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s another whole world.

W: That’s very true. And speaking of not knowing what you don’t know, how do people get in touch with you? Because clearly you’re a man who has some answers, what’s the best way for people to get hold of you?

S: Look, definitely they can contact us via our website aqualogic.com.au, myself just by calling out our office number 02 8850 1300. We’re always available, email, different ways to get in contact with us. And I’m sure they’re the same that I find it my mobile phone is never switched off, I get emails on my phone all day and unfortunately for my wife think so, it’s all night as well. And look the good thing is to answer people’s questions very promptly by having that service.

W: Steven I’m always getting into trouble for mentioning phone numbers and websites before people have their pencils ready. So due warning pencils ready, that phone number again was Australia Sydney 02 8850 1300. And the website is www.aqualogic.com.au.

S: That’s correct.

W: Steven it’s been a pleasure having you here with us. Thank you very much for your time this morning.

S: Wayne, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

W: Now I’ve been talking with Steven Borg the sales manager of Aqualogic Laundry Systems. If you’ve missed my chat, you’d missed the discussion with a man who’s passionate about something that’s critical in healthcare – the laundry. But the good news is there’s a transcript on our website at www.hpr.fm. There’s also a sound archive so you can listen to the interview again both on YouTube and on SoundCloud and there are links to both of those, also on our website. My name is Wayne Bucklar, this is Health Professional Radio.