- Created on Sunday, 03 September 2006 01:57
- Written by Laundrytoday Staff
“The expertise from over 15 years in the business that I bring to the table is the biggest difference between our company and others,” says Robert Schreane, president and CEO of Dramatic Healthcare Services (DHS) a year-old healthcare support service company.
“When I sit at a table I understand what the environmental director needs.”Schreane’s background in both healthcare and environmental services makes him an effective manager of DHS a company that provides laundry services. The company plans to begin providing environmental services, i.e. patient food, snack bars, pest control and landscaping services.
Based in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, DHS currently handles the linen services for two hotels in Cleveland, TN, two hotels in Chattanooga, TN as well one 220 bed hospital, Stonecrest hospital in Smyrna, TN. The hotels services by DHS have about 60-70 rooms each and log an annual poundage of approximately 182,000. Stonecrest Hospital has an annual poundage of 400,00.
The company’s current service radius is 100 miles however they have plans to expand to a 300-mile service area covering southwestern TN, Atlanta, Birmingham, AL and Nashville.
Schreane first considered starting DHS during his tenure as chairperson at THESA (Tennessee Hospital Environmental Services Association) in the mid-1980s and thereafter as Environmental Service Manager at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, TN where he witnessed hospitals’ concerns regarding linen contracts.
“Most of the laundry providers knew very little about what hospitals need,” he says. “Often they were run by people who had been in other industries and didn’t know the ins and outs of the laundry field.” Schreane began scouting around for backers for a healthcare support service company that would handle linen contracts for hospitals and hospitality centers and provide services that hospitals normally outsource, such as housekeeping, maintenance, air conditioning, providing patient food, snack bars, pest control and landscaping.
“It’s hard to get someone to listen to your story and take a chance on you,” says Schreane describing the six years it took him to secure financial backing. However, his persistence paid off.
Schreane received letters of intent from two hospitals and hooked up with O’Dell Equipment Inc. of TN to partner in the venture. Then he secured $1.7 million with the help of the Marion county government, Tennessee state legislators, the local business chamber and Sequatchie Concrete Company.
By October 2005 DHS, a minority business enterprise (a governmental classification defining a business where the majority stock holders are minorities) was ready to provide full service support to the healthcare and hospitality industries while a separate entity, Reliable Laundry, handled the actual processing of the linens.
“The set up is that Dramatic is available to manage your laundry on site, in another state, while Reliable is located in S. Pittsburgh, Tennessee and deals with the everyday things for our company,” said Schreane. “It’s two separate companies with the corporate office in Chattanooga, Tennessee.”
The South Pittsburg facility is located in an abandoned sock-manufacturing factory. “My investors owned a construction company so renovating the factory was not hard,” says Schreane. “We put about $200,000 into new electric, new trenches and new lighting.”
As of now DHS and Reliable Laundry only use the bottom floor of the 70,000 square foot building and operate with 16 employees and one shift daily. But according to Schreane they have the capacity to process 10 million pounds a year with two shifts.
The laundry, run by Marshall Puckett, plant manager, currently operates with the following equipment; two 135 pd Milnor washer extractors, two 170 pd Huebsch gas dryers, two Milnor 450 open pocket washer extractors, 2 Norman 600 pd gas dryers, an 8 pocket Milnor CBW with a 35 bar press and two cake shuttle, two Milnor 600 gas dyers to accompany the tunnel. Finishing consists of; a Chicago Century 3200 two-roll 32” chest ironer, with a Skyline folder cross folder with stacker and an Air Chicago small piece folder.
While plans for expansion exist, for now DHS and Reliable Laundry are focused on providing their customers with superior service.
“We’ve had just 14 pounds of reject linen since we started with Stonecrest which is a great low number considering we process several thousand pounds a day for that same hospital,” says Schreane. Meanwhile Schreane is also looking at turning a profit and repaying his loan which totals 1.6 million within the next 3-5 years.
“It takes 2-3 years to pull in good contracts,” he says. DHS is in just the right hands to achieve that goal.
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