Inventory management remains a critical aspect of industrial laundry’s business operations, both historically and in the present day. Historically, inventory management practices were rudimentary, often relying on guesswork rather than data. Decisions regarding inventory were frequently made based on intuition rather than accurate information.

In contrast, modern advancements such as RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification)technology have significantly improved efficiency and accuracy when it comes to inventory management. In the laundry industry, systems such as bar codes were considered an advancement prior to RFID technology.

Unlike bar codes, which require direct line-of-sight scanning, RFID tags can be read without direct contact or specific orientation, mitigating issues related to physical handling, damage, or dirt that can affect bar code readability.

At Plymate, we’ve embraced the pinnacle of inventory management solutions. Our adoption of ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID technology, known for its exceptional sensitivity in tracking, allows us to precisely monitor garments throughout the cleaning cycle.

“We originally invested in high -frequency  RFID  technology for a couple of key reasons.  One being we really saw an opportunity to kind of establish a differentiator, in our marketplace.  We are still the only ones servicing the greater Indianapolis area  that has this technology,” President Ben Warnecke said.  “A lot of our competitors scan [bar codes] and have other technology that they tout as being accurate, but when you are really looking at providing a level of transparency, data accuracy, delivery accuracy, that is all the customers really want and high frequency RFID is the way to get there.”

Plymate invested in RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology in 2015 and since then has reaped the benefits of setting a new standard in service delivery.

“It gives us the ability to display on every service invoice exactly what was picked up and what’s being delivered back to the customer,” Service Manager Nate Dilley said.  “When questions arise, we’re able to quickly see the status of every garment and communicate that information back to the customer in a timely manner.  It’s just one example of how we live by our core value of ‘Do It Better’.”

What is RFID Technology, How Does it Work?

RFID chip technology not only tracks garments but also flags them for repairs or upgrades, ensuring customer needs are met efficiently and effectively.

Without RFID technology, the workload would be distinctly different. Processes would revert to being more manual, slower, and error-prone, eroding the crucial trust between a service provider and its clients.

“Week in and week out, I think customers most enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing we have complete and accurate deliveries.  But, perhaps even more beneficial is our ability to quickly address any questions, needs or concerns. RFID helps us ensure the customer’s needs are met the first time.” Dilley said.

Internally, the benefits of Trak-Mate, Plymate’s RFID technology system in day-to-day operations are also substantial. Plant Manager Steve Ferguson notes the precision it brings to monitoring the lifecycle of each garment, enhancing the usability of items, increasing efficiencies, and managing costs. All uniforms and carpeted mats at Plymate are now chipped, and the integration of scanning software from Positek RFID and our route billing software partner Alliant Systems has been successful, fostering a strong partnership.

“It is solidly part of our current process at Plymate and I see the capabilities expanding in the future,” Ferguson said. “As the costs continue to stabilize, the opportunities to utilize RFID in other aspects of our business will increase.”

The Future of RFID in Industrial Laundry Services

Looking ahead, the future of RFID technology is not just about maintaining the status quo but about pushing boundaries and improving service quality.

“It has been by far and away the best investment we’ve made in quite a long time and it is a technology we are grateful to offer to our customer base,” Warnecke said.

As the only uniform and mat provider in the Indianapolis metro and the surrounding area with this technology, Plymate stands out as a future-focused company providing this level of service. For Plymate, RFID technology isn’t just a tool; it’s a commitment to service excellence. It’s a promise of reliability and provides a partnership that values transparency and trust with all clients.