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Laundry industry poised for ‘long overdue’ tech revolution, say experts

14 Oct 2019

Gulf Laundrex Conference speakers see the future of laundry and dry-cleaning as an exclusively online service

Dubai, UAE: Regional operators are revitalising the laundry and dry-cleaning industry by offering Software as a Service (SaaS) programmes and online marketplace apps that appeal to and align with evolving customer preferences.

With the introduction of dedicated apps catalysing a dramatic impact on the UAE’s laundry landscape, how service providers are embracing emerging technologies to spearhead the introduction of proprietary, data-led platforms will be a chief focus at this year’s Gulf Laundrex Conference.

The one-day conference, presented by Texcare and taking place on the closing day (17 October) of Middle East Cleaning Technology Week, will run under the theme ‘Laundry turning 4.0’.

Rachit Ahuja, the CEO of QDC Software, a cloud-based SaaS provider, believes that while operators have used tech-based point of service (POS) systems for years, the implications of technologies as tools to scale-up business have only recently been in vogue.

“The laundry and dry-cleaning industries have been adopting these technologies without knowing for some time now,” said Ahuja. “This started with the introduction of SaaS based laundry POS about five years ago. Now we can see the extent to which ‘Industry 4.0’ is affecting our domain.

“From advanced conveyor systems, to machines communicating through software and applications, technological advancement is helping us do business more efficiently, effectively and smartly.”

Ahuja maintains the only way to keep up with customer preferences is embracing the online transition. “Our customers are changing so businesses must keep pace with evolving demands.

“The transformation from physical stores to virtual ones is one of the major ways of staying relevant,” he added.

Ahuja also points to other Industry 4.0 technologies, and how they can feed data back to operators, as crucial for developing and growing businesses.

“In the past two years, IoT and cloud computing have become more commonplace and relevant in the laundry industry. With laundry machines now passing on process information, customised applications and emerging SaaS solutions act as both a POS and fully-fledged business management system. The biggest change has been the ease of scaling up in a smart way.”

Nouri Al-Enezi, Co-founder & Managing Partner of technology company JustClean
Nouri Al-Enezi, Co-founder & Managing Partner of technology company JustClean

Speaking ahead of his presentation, ‘New Technologies and Future Trends’, Nouri Al-Enezi, Co-founder & Managing Partner of technology company JustClean, said the laundry industry’s long overdue tech revolution has already had a dramatic effect on consumers and operators.

“Taking the laundry business online is upgrading a largely underdeveloped sector,” said Al-Enezi. “The process is having a big impact on the overall industry.

“We’re integrating technology into the daily lives of consumers who connect with laundries and have all their laundry service requirements taken care of much quicker and more easily.”

JustClean, which has witnessed significant regional growth since launching in 2016, sees the shift to online as a move taking the industry to a new level, giving it a smart new image consumers can identify with.

“Most people don’t call restaurants to order food anymore, they do it online. The regional laundry industry is moving in the same direction and, over the next five years, we expect to see an almost exclusively online business. Laundries that don’t follow this trend will fade,” added Al-Enezi. “The regional laundry industry is being revolutionised by new technology, and it’s happening very quickly.

“JustClean’s growth underlines how market-leading applications connect consumers and laundries to optimise functionality and performance. The numbers are growing daily because consumers get a faster and improved all-round service.”

Gulf Laundrex presented by Texcare Conference, will follow a full schedule of sessions taking place on the exhibition floor during the first and second day of the show. The opening day will provide insights in the Facility Management Conference, with a focus on the challenges and the opportunities facing the industry, it will be followed by expert keynote presentations and panel discussion highlighting sustainable cleaning practices on the second day Cleaning Conference.

The three-day Middle East Cleaning Technology Week opens on 15 October at Dubai World Trade Centre. Along with the trio of conferences, the event is made up of the Clean Middle East Expo and the Gulf Car Wash Car Care Expo.

In the free-to-attend conference, delegates can digest expert presentations and panel discussions on automisation and digitalisation in laundry, the future of textiles, best practices for the industry and the region’s growing laundry demands.

Middle East Cleaning Technology Week is organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, and will host 50 exhibitors from 15 countries. 

The Clean Middle East Expo will highlight innovations in cleaning and hygiene practices, while Gulf Car Wash Car Care Expo will present car wash and maintenance services at the Middle East’s only dedicated platform for the industry.

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