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INVESTIGATIVE REPORT — Get into Laundry, young man!

For 2015 the scientific authority Isfol forecasts growth in a sector which operators interviewed by Detergo also confirm as being increasingly lively and diverse. It is also tied to the textiles sector valorization as an historical keystone of Made in Italy in the hospitality and health sectors. In this respect, it has come to embody the classic slogan that in the ‘800 incited young Americans to “go West”.

“Get into laundry, young man!” If there still were iconic journalists like Horace Greeley in America and in Italy, today it would be the headline of a nine column front page article in the daily newspaper economy section. “Get into Laundry, young man!”, a title in bold characters just as huge and emphatic as “Go West, young man!” used by Greely in the ‘800 to fulfill his “mission” and encourage new generations to travel long and far to the wild west, back when that land had not cities or infrastructures.
Two centuries is a long time, but since it did not lessen the impact of such a great slogan, all we need to do is change the destination. Hence washing and ironing machines can fittingly replace horses and saloons. As back then, it is important for “young men” to know where to go, and today that would be the world of laundry instead of American Indian lands. This also ranks among the professions with the greatest market demand as of the beginning of 2015 according to the classification published by studenti.it, a very popular website. In the first place are in fact “laundry and cleaning service professionals”, respectively followed by “wholesale market sales representatives”, “buildings cleaning professionals”, “metal workers and tool makers”, down to the 5th place where we finally find the first degreed workers in the classification, engineers.
Not surprisingly, the 6th through 10th place in the top ten list are occupied by tourism industry staff, lawyers, teachers-trainers, nurses and insurance workers. As a matter of fact studenti.it references a rather authoritative source of data, Isfol, the Ministry of Labor research institute which constantly monitors demand and offers in the Italian job market. Data that is confirmed by Isfol analyst Maria Grazia Mereu: “We should point out that within the scope of our research, laundry and professional cleaning services are in the same market sector. But even within this context, the employment indicators for 2015 are positive, considering that we are talking about an estimated increase of approx. 500 thousand jobs. Our estimates are also positive for the next two years, 2016 through 2017, in spite of a drop in the parallel sector of textiles and clothing”.
“This data should be food for thought on many topics, and quite carefully pondered” says Luciano Miotto, managing director of Imesa, a laundry machines manufacturing company headquartered in Trento. “First of all, we must send young people the correct message about our sector and its current trends – continues Miotto, who is also president of the EXPOdetetergo International trade fair, held not too long ago in Milan. – as it would be wrong for us to let our youngsters think that being in the laundry sector these days only means taking care of the beloved shop on a street corner of their neighborhood. A shop that fortunately continues to exist, but within a much larger supply chain the scope of which has grown to encompass production and maintenance of garments and key market sectors such healthcare and tourism”.
“The moment they realize – Miotto concludes – that today’s laundry business means promoting Made in Italy in hotels, restaurants and hospitals that use specific textile products, will prove that we sent the right message, one that is truly bound to create new work opportunities for entrepreneurs, craftsmen and operators of both wet and dry cleaning laundries”.
“This data is something we looked forward to and much appreciate in terms of validating some of our choices – explains Gabrio Renzacci, president of Renzacci, a dry cleaning machines manufacturing company headquartered in Città di Castello, in the region of Umbria. – I am referring to innovation, which has always been the backbone of our company. It is not by chance that we have an in-house lab dedicated to research and continuously develop innovative products capable of satisfying the need for overall cleanliness, which is now inseparable from vitally important aspects such as the health of the environment in which we work and clean”. “In line with this belief – continues sales director Marco Nicolini – Renzacci has introduced to the market machines bearing the innovative CleanBio’ mark, which stands for priority and utmost care for the Environment”.
On the other hand, real life shows that a sector with such impressive structures and sales as that of industrial laundries is characterized by bouts of innovation and virtuosity, which indicate a better state of “health” in terms of ideas and investments. As a matter of fact, in our Country hundreds of companies are tied in the best possible and most efficient manner to key market sectors such as healthcare, food service and tourist accommodations. It is made possible by actions targeted to ensure a healthy environment, which these days is an indispensable requirement for both the healthcare and the tourism sector. Therefore on one hand, the future of industrial laundries seems to be characterized by a high level of automation that saves energy and protects the environment, and on the other by specialized professionals at all levels, who can suitably manage a variety of highly sophisticated production processes, machines, operating systems and logistics (which translates into demand for engineers, specialized chemists, waste management, transport companies).
“In this yet uncertain economic period, the Isfol data published on studenti.it although it should be assessed in a conservative manner, in nonetheless comforting – says Corinna Mapelli, sales director of Trevil, an ironing equipment manufacturing company in the Milan area. – They lead us to believe in an economically viable supply chain where laundries can grow and offer seasonal or full time jobs both in traditional shops and in new and larger structures such as shopping centers”.
All the voices we heard seem to befit and validate the slogan for 2015: “Get into Laundry, young man!”.

by Stefano Ferrio
Detergo Magazine n. 1 Januaru 2015

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