CHICAGO — For a coin laundry owner, it’s vitally important that each and every washer and dryer in their store is up and running—either in use or standing by for the next customer who carries a basket heaped with dirty clothes through the door.
But despite the robustness of today’s vended laundry equipment, there will be times, for whatever reason, that parts will falter or fail. It’s at times like this that a store owner either consults his/her stock of spare parts or reaches out to his/her equipment distributor or parts supplier of choice for the all-important component that’ll get a machine back in play.
American Coin-Op interviewed representatives from a handful of companies that make it their business to supply the parts you need.
Diana Anthony is director of parts for Tri-State Technical Services, a Waycross, Ga., distributor that represents Maytag Commercial Laundry in several East Coast states. Her company maintains a large parts inventory in two of its divisions.
D. Michael Davis is president and owner of Nashville, Tenn.-based PartsKing, which he says was the first online resource for coin-op parts and supplies in the world. Since its inception in 1999, it’s grown to become one of the largest parts suppliers in the world, Davis says, carrying parts from every major vended equipment manufacturer.
Chris Mackay is director of advertising for Gold Coin Laundry Equipment, Jamaica, N.Y. Before being promoted to that post, he ran Gold Coin’s parts department for roughly a decade. Gold Coin is a Dexter Laundry distributor, selling and servicing Dexter equipment in the five New York City boroughs and parts of New Jersey.
Andy Marcionetti is owner of Laundry Concepts, an Addison, Ill., equipment distributor whose main focus is construction of new Laundromats in the Chicagoland area, and thus maintains a full-service parts department that sells replacement parts for all brands.
Belts, hoses, lint screens, dryer rollers and the “wearable” components that customers come into contact with—door handles, coin drops, etc.—are among the parts that store owners are replacing most frequently, the experts say.
Meanwhile, water valves, drain valves and computer boards are among the more intricate parts that they see most frequently in customer orders.
It’s not unusual for store owners to purchase belts and hoses from sources other than authorized laundry equipment distributors, Anthony says.
“I NEED IT YESTERDAY!”
When a part goes down, a store owner needs its replacement immediately to get a machine back up as quickly as possible. There’s no time to waste when it comes to ordering and delivering parts.
“We have customers throughout the country,” Mackay says. “But for our customers here in New York, we have a parts department that’s open five days a week, 8:30 to 5, so most of the parts they would be in need of, they could come directly to our parts department and pick it up that same day. If it’s not something that we do stock, we have the ability, with the manufacturer, to have that part here the next day if necessary.”
“We’re centrally located here in the middle of the country,” Davis says, “so we can ship anywhere in the country, any direction, real quickly. We ship worldwide as well. We’re not just a domestic company. We ship internationally.”
“Our goal at Tri-State is to place the order, or ship, the same day the order is received,” Anthony says. “We try to do it immediately. By the end of the day, all of our parts people have processed every order that they’ve taken, either placing with the vendor or drop-shipping from our inventory.”
“We have 90% of the wearable parts on hand at all times,” says Marcionetti, whose firm specializes in Alliance brand parts. “Manufacturers are constantly making upgrades to models, and obviously the parts are not interchangeable. The list of parts grows.”
So that they can keep the right parts in stock, it’s important that distributors and parts suppliers stay in touch with the equipment manufacturers.
“It’s a daily thing,” Mackay says. “We’re constantly back and forth with the manufacturer for parts orders we’re waiting on or parts we’ll need in the future. … There are meetings that are scheduled frequently with our area sales representative. At that meeting, they’ll discuss what’s going to be available, what’s up and coming … or even the parts that will no longer be available.”
“It depends on the manufacturer, but the larger manufacturers we communicate with on a daily basis,” Davis says. “Generally, it’s a lot of e-mails and a lot of phone calls going back and forth to make sure we have the correct parts for the correct machines. Even though the model number may not change, some of the parts might have changed.”
“We work with the vendors, particularly when new equipment comes out, to figure out what should be stocked, what is going to be a fast-moving item,” Anthony says. “We, like most vendors, try to carry the fast movers in hand. In other words, water valves, drain valves, a few computer boards. There are so many different models of equipment, you can’t stock everything.”
Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!