Snowhite and the story of the grey towel

Over 60 years’ experience, knowledge and performance in the laundry business has taught Snowhite a thing or two. The company’s laundry process has been developed to ensure that every client receives not only a fresh and bright finish to their linen but that it is hygienically safe and free from harmful bacteria. Which is why Snowhite never proffers a grey towel.

Getting the formula right, not wrong

A quick look at Snowhite’s client list shows that this company works with Malta’s 5-star hospitality, healthcare and catering organizations as Malta’s largest laundry. So how has Snowhite achieved this? And how does a white cotton towel become so grey?

Let’s deal with the towel first because this provides much insight into the Snowhite story. The greying effect on a towel’s surface comes from the build-up of lime scale and detergent within the towel’s fibres. Problems like these occur when linens have not been given the correct washing cycles and inherent treatments. This also explains why the grey towels are heavier and have a rough finish. And why, when properly washed by Snowhite, they regain their original brightness and fluffiness. That’s because they have been washed properly using Snowhite’s advanced tunnel washer laundry process and the application of solid know-how. The art – and the skill of quality standards in commercial laundry – is getting the mix right. After all, not all commercial laundries and hoteliers have the right technical know-how and experience to achieve these kinds of optimum results as an independent laundry provider.

That’s because both the laundry and dry-cleaning processes

involve the careful coordination of a number of sub-processes involving sophisticated equipment, reliable staff and a high degree of laundry knowledge. Correct washing formulas are core to the business. So choosing the ideal loading levels, time frames, water temperatures and chemical and detergent combinations for each type of linen is a process perfected with experience and patience over time. An error in any one of these parameters can lead to a significant waste of time and resources, broken delivery times, stained or damaged linen and the loss of a client’s capital investment.

Independently audited laundry results For those businesses that depend on optimum laundry results based on their own high quality standards and their customers’ approval rating, they will be reassured to know that Snowhite initiates self-imposed audits performed by foreign-based industrial chemists on a quarterly basis. These audits cover the detergents used, the quality of the water, the brightness of results; in effect, the entire washing process. Management’s technical know-how and standard of finishing ensure that damages and complaints are kept to a minimum. Not surprisingly, audited figures reveal that damages account for 0.0001% of sales value.

5-star service to 5-star clients

The challenge for Snowhite has been to focus on providing premier services for up-market establishments, primarily within the hospitality, healthcare and catering segments to meet the higher standards that 5-star clients expect – and demand. The company accepts this challenge by, not only matching client expectations but where possible, exceeding them. This approach has helped the company win and – more importantly – retain major hotel chain contracts over the years. Tailor-made services are another way of ensuring premier services to fit clients’ specific briefs. Snowhite delivers different washing parameters using Windows-based computer technology for linens with different dimensions, weights, and fibres. This technology drives the individual programs and washing cycles of the company’s two tunnel washers to match the client’s exact laundry requirements. Part of that washing process lies with Snowhite’s onsite water treatment softening plant and a reverse-osmosis system. They ensure that purified water is the only water that is used. Additionally, the only detergent brands that have been tried and tested to ensure reliable performance levels by the company are international detergent brands that are taken directly from chemical plants in Italy.

A Snowhite beginning

Snowhite’s origins date back to 1955 as a modest garage-based enterprise. Over the years the company has grown to become Malta’s largest laundry in turnover, workforce and load capacity (the company processes a staggering 24,000 kg of dry-weight linen during a typical 8-hour shift.). This growth has been fuelled by company’s rigorous commitment to provide the highest quality services to the market. The company’s client base, market share and solid reputation are the hard-won results of this commitment.

A number of industry firsts

This committed approach has allowed management to anticipate market changes and obtain competitive advantages in production efficiencies and cost savings based at its 4,000 square meter purpose-built processing plant in Qormi. It has led to a number of ‘firsts’ in Malta’s laundry and dry-cleaning industry. Malta’s first 14-module, 50g computerized tunnel washer was installed at Snowhite’s premises in 1995 to handle industrial loads and achieve the desired hygiene standards. The investment allowed the company to cope with larger washing loads, reduce turnaround times and improve washing standards. Economies on this scale also provided water savings of 60-70% compared to conventional, commercial washing machines. The company invested in a second tunnel washer in 2006 doubling capacity and offering greater flexibility to its clients. In the company’s dry-cleaning section, ‘firsts’ include computercontrolled machines that process various textiles in a hermetically sealed system. This system guarantees extremely low solvent emissions and is environmentally friendly. Snowhite will be installing a new calendar machine in the first quarter 2008 to improve the finishing results of table linen by eliminating creases, including the awkward task of ironing circular table linen.

The linen hire service

In economic terms, it’s the crisp, clean folds of a hotelier’s cash flow that makes Snowhite’s linen hire service so appealing. That’s because Snowhite’s linen hire service for hoteliers, caterers and healthcare centres relies on the high quality 100% Egyptian cotton linens that are tried and tested, proven in the company’s washing process to maintain its quality and durability. So taking advantage of Snowhite’s rental contract has made hoteliers more competitive in a very competitive hospitality market. By saving the capital costs of buying bed linen, towels and table linen, cash flow can be released for investment elsewhere in their core business. In fact, a number of hotels have used this heaven-sent opportunity to improve their product offering, increasing their room rates as a result. Other hoteliers now operate lower inventory levels, for obvious reasons, freeing up all that storage space. Perhaps all this explains why so many 4- and 5-star hotels on the island entrust Snowhite with their bulk laundry and dry-cleaning requirements.