From what was an old warehouse in Lonsdale, Minda and SA Group Enterprises’ Facilities Services has in a few short years created an opportunity not just for supported employment, but also purpose and skills development.
Our commercial laundry is a bustling operation, from its original Brighton facility processing five tonnes per week, the purpose-built laundry which opened in 2016 is processing upwards of 120 tonnes of linen and clothing every week.
Facilities Services Commercial Manager Nils Wartemann says around a quarter of the laundry staff are supported-employment positions and they play a crucial role in what services and contracts the business can secure.
“The significant portion of our operation is contracts with aged-care providers, hospitals, accommodation and hospitality, but we’re also able to secure contracts for things like clothing that other companies can’t do,” Nils says.
“Our supported employees give us a competitive edge in that these loads are sorted by house address or by resident and that’s not something that can be automated.
“We have 34 supported employees on site, not just in sorting, but also in receiving and going out on the trucks and their accuracy and determination is fantastic.
“They offer us a level of agility in business that we are very proud of.”
The laundry is powered by what Nils describes as the ‘Mercedes class’ of machinery brought in from Denmark, but there is also a nod to history with the original machines from Minda Brighton still in use today.
“These Customer Own Goods contracts can be things like uniforms or personal clothing and linen and the staff use the original machines to wash and dry them prior to getting them sorted ready to go back to the clients,” Nils says.
“It’s about more than that as well, for our supported employees this is also an opportunity to learn new skills and grow, and it is a great way for them to socialise as they work together as a team.”