TSA Spring Conference, Hilton St George’s Park, 15-16 April 2024

TSA Conference buzz: the future is positive – so long as we collaborate as we evolve

Given the huge challenges that the laundry industry has faced in recent years, the buzz at the TSA’s 2024 conference had a remarkably positive feel when it came to business prospects and the future.  Sure, there are still problems with issues as varied as The Red Sea and energy prices – but the industry is adapting to the new business environment and evolving to meet new challenges and utilise new opportunities. 

Part of that evolution is an increasing understanding that working together collaboratively is making the industry stronger and giving it a bigger voice – which is where trade associations and events like the TSA Conference come in.  One of the delegates, Jackie Smith of Bryant Plastics, commented “What stands out about this event is we all get together, there’s no such thing as a rival when you’re here, everybody just talks. It’s all very inclusive and everyone can get behind it. Over the years that I’ve been coming things have got better and better and better. I think the TSA are doing it the right way… otherwise I’d be telling them!”

The 2024 edition included a major focus on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing.  Adrian Thomas of Via Vita talked about supporting mental health training in the industry, and the need for companies to evolve their attitudes towards mental health.  His equation is simple: people perform better if they are happy.  The TSA’s Emma Anderson led a workshop on diversity and inclusion – it’s clear that the laundry industry’s engagement with diversity and inclusion, as with mental health, is rising.  For example, the number of women in management is going up – it would be good to see that growth becoming more rapid!

The TSA revealed the findings of De Montfort University’s research into hygiene compliance and EN 14065.  Essentially it highlights a big opportunity for laundries to take on more work from any organisations that rely on hygienic laundry results, such as the NHS.  Simon Fry of Micronclean commented on the industry’s ability to process laundry not only more hygienically but also more sustainably and economically than on-site facilities. Opeque’s Richard Newton warned that the approach needed to be an evolution not a revolution – hygiene is a very sensitive issue and no good would come of scaremongering.

The industry is also evolving in terms of its sustainability.  TSA’s Shyju Skariah talked about the industry sustainability roadmap that the association has produced, presenting some of the tools that are available to help businesses meet their green aspirations.  These include a calculator so companies can measure their carbon footprint. 

Conference also had stimulating presentations from speakers as diverse as the Times’ economic columnist Simon French and TV and radio political correspondent John Sergeant.  However, the optimistic mood was summed up in TSA CEO David Stevens’ address, “Crystal Balls,” in which he looked at where the industry might be in 2030.  Hopefully, amongst other things, we would be rid of single use plastics and there would be a 50/50 gender split…

The next TSA Conference will be on 16th and 17 October at the Hilton St George’s Park.  For more information contact the TSA. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 

E tsa@tsa-uk.org

T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

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