The trend towards online services is growing in the textile cleaning industry: consumers want to find suitable specialist companies quickly and easily, and process their cleaning orders as simply as possible, for example via an app. A high degree of process transparency in the company is necessary to offer such customer friendly services, which is why machine and plant manufacturers, as well as software providers, make relevant information available online and in real time. From 20 to 24 June, the sector is showcasing state of the art solutions at Texcare International in Frankfurt am Main.

Shopping and errands are increasingly planned and transacted on smart phones, tablets and PCs. Access to shopping portals around the clock has fuelled high expectations of quick and easy access to services, primarily with millennials, but also other age groups. Instead of being bound by opening times, they want to be able to complete their tasks around the clock with just a few clicks.

This change in mindset has long since taken hold of the textile cleaning sector as well. „These days people who want to take shirts, and men’s and women’s suits, in for cleaning generally look for the nearest specialist company on their smart phones”, as Daniel Dalkowski of the European Research Association for Innovative Textile Care in Berlin says.

Acquiring customers from the younger generation

Apps are another element for unrestricted access to textile cleaning companies. User programmes, which are tailored to the sector and a company’s individual needs, connect the consumer with their service provider, who has the facility to make customisable information available via the digital customer card.

Online portals as business intermediaries

In addition to the customisable software systems for one particular cleaning company, there are also various cleaning portals on offer for digital communication between consumers and textile care companies. These follow the principle of hotel booking platforms and act as intermediaries between the two sides: The customer order is entered on an app and forwarded via the portal to a connected textile care company. They then deal with the order received according to the terms and conditions agreed. Pickup and delivery of the goods are usually part of the service here.

Industry 4.0 in textile cleaning

Thanks to easy-to-use apps, getting cleaning done is an unqualified success as far as consumers are concerned, and this is accompanied by an increased level of system digitisation on the part of cleaning companies. There are fully automated machines for taking in and returning laundry. They can receive the customer’s laundry around the clock, put it through the cleaning process and return it, all via an app.

An answer to every question

The manufacturer of textile cleaning machines, Böwe Textile Cleaning, from Sasbach, also uses modern technology to communicate technical expertise. The company has developed an app that can be used on Android and iOS systems to convey extensive knowledge on all areas of laundry care to their users. „In everyday operation, many different questions arise about the machines, procedures and textiles received”, as Böwe’s managing director Frank Ziermann says.