Member Spotlight: Ruth Mitchell
Ruth Mitchell is currently Route Optimisation Planner at Berendsen Hospitality. She has recently taken an active approach to engaging with the wider industry and has been getting involved with the trade association through attending the SIGs and joining the Logistics Knowledge Network. Ruth is also a journeyman of the Worshipful Company of Launderers having completed TSA’s Textile Rental Management Course in 2016.
TSA caught up with Ruth to learn a bit more about her role and her views on the industry.
TSA: What does your current role entail?
Ruth: It ranges from feeding data into a route planning system to mapping daily volumes with the production teams across multiple factory sites. I ensure that factories are not being adversely affected by transport routing. I am actively involved in the commercial reviews of the broad customer base, working with service and logistic teams to ensure all customers are being delivered to on the correct vehicle type with the correct drop frequency. This helps align our production and logistics requirements whilst servicing the customer needs. The final piece of the project is to optimise the route for cost and fuel efficiency, working with the drivers to obtain buy-in. My role brings together the different business steams to review route optimisation from a strategical vantage point, rather than just the logistics team.
TSA: What’s your view on the latest logistics systems available on the market?
Ruth: I think the logistics sector used to be split into three key elements: trucks/drivers/fuel. It’s never been a topic the rest of the company engage with. The last few years there have been some exciting advances in technology that surprise and delight colleagues and customers alike. These range from devices that promote driver training through to asset tracking and customer communications. The range of products now available for route planning and fuel management mean that the focus and energy of our business now sit firmly with the Logistics Managers.
TSA: You used to work on RFID as a project, what role do you see RFID playing in the future for the industry?
Ruth: RFID gives us another piece in the jigsaw, another vital bit of information. I always remember my Dad telling me as a child when working on a woodwork project “measure twice, cut once” – this applies to a lot of things. Unless you have the accurate numbers to work with, you may not end up with what you expect. There have been some great examples provided by RFID where we have been able to address real customer stock control issues with the customer, enabling greater rotation and a firmer relationship because we’ve had the data to back up our claims. Customers have even gone as far as changing their policies and procedures because of the RFID results on their behaviour. I think that RFID does have a role to play but the benefits need to be promoted to the customer and they need to be shown that it is a tool for them too.
TSA: What drew you to the laundry industry, where did you start off and what do you like about it?
Ruth: I started with Berendsen, when it was Sunlight, in their Clinical Solutions Division and worked with General Managers who had come from the Flat Linen business. We would discuss the linen business and while I enjoyed the Clinical Solutions, the Linen sounded like it had more of an “edge” to it.
I was lucky enough to move into a Management Training Scheme and was assigned a mentor within the Flat Linen Division. Following the yearlong scheme, I was then offered a job by that same mentor and have not looked back since! I have taken on roles in logistics, health & safety, service, textile management and General Management roles too. Within most of these roles, I’ve worked with and learned from suppliers such as chemical companies so I have been able to gain a solid understanding of how their processes interlink with ours.
The thing I love about the industry is the people. I have never worked in an industry where you can bring individuals together, who on a normal day would be fierce competitors, but at events like the SIG’s – work together in their areas of expertise for the greater good of the industry. I am really looking forward to being part of the Logistics Knowledge Network because I think the Knowledge Networks will be a breath of fresh air with new ideas plus, a fantastic way of improving, keeping our company employees safe and encouraging others in the industry to get involved.
What do you value?
Let's not sell our laundry short, says Sarah Lancaster of Total Laundry, in a call for the sector not to race to the bottom.
Member Spotlight: Michael Wilson, Jackson's Workwear
Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of Jacksons Workwear.
Member Spotlight: Maurice Salvoni
A Lifetime in Laundry: Maurice Salvoni