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Did you know that linen maintenance is the third largest expense in the hotel industry, after building depreciation and staff?
Although figures vary considerably from hotel to hotel, a minimum of 20% of linen (sometimes as much as 100%!) put into service each year is said to be for replacement of "accidentally" lost or stolen goods. The explosion in energy costs and the acute shortage of labor in the sector only adds to the burden of these negative consequences.

Many chains use external service providers to outsource the cleaning of their textile assets, who themselves manage many customers. With high turnover of linen batches, RFID tracking is the technology adopted by most professionals in the sector. How is digital transformation impacting the linen industry? What are the challenges?

Contrôle des stocks de ligne  Interhospitalia

Implementation of RFID in the textile sector: what are the challenges?

Because of the high turnover of laundry batches in the hotel sector, recurrent losses lead to significant financial deficits as well as time-consuming manual counting of laundry by employees. In such a context, customers are increasingly demanding transparent information from the laundry services they pay for.

For laundries handling batches from various customers, it is important to track products at strategic stages of the washing, distribution, and manufacturing process.

In addition, to provide hotel guests with a clear view of stocks and losses in hotels, it is advisable to extend the monitoring of laundry in hotels. The double reading of laundry and hotel allows the ideal monitoring of the washing cycle of each room. 

Finally, it is also possible to chip the linen as soon as it is manufactured and to allow all actors to share information from the cotton producer if necessary. Information on the quality of the raw material according to its use can thus be traced and analyzed. 

The benefits of monitoring textile assets are as follows:

  • Improved treatment processes: thanks to the analysis of the collected indicators.

  • Improved customer satisfaction: better quality of service due to fewer manual counting errors and mixing of laundry belonging to several customers.

  • Cost reduction:
    - Massive reduction in management time due to fewer manual operations,
    - Reduction of linen losses/thefts,
    - Reduction of operational stocks,
    - Improved linen rotation,
    - Improved quality of linen depending on wash cycles, chemicals used. 

Although the installation of an RFID tracking system is an initial investment, the transparency of the information is a comfort that more professionals are offering themselves. It is a added value to your offer to propose it.

Traceability of linen in laundries, hotels and manufacturers. 

Thanks to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, professionals can track their textile products. The owner of the textile assets is often the one who makes the decision to implement tracking. This may be the linen service provider or the hotel complex directly to reduce its financial losses. RFID is a powerful geolocation technology that facilitates the tracking of a company's assets. By means of tags assigned to each product, it is possible to collect positions in real time through an RFID reader. As the reading is done through radio waves emitted by the RFID tag, the collection of information is done remotely (unlike the barcode).

Our RFID solution for laundries consists of three elements:

  1. The tag: we offer an entire range of tags, such as the UBI-Textile Tag, which differ in size, resistance, etc. The tag is the main element in the tracking of laundry. It takes the form of a fabric tag, specially designed for textile assets. It is sewn on and uses UHF (ultra-high frequency) technology to ensure efficient data reading.

  2. Hardware: the choice of hardware for data collection is made on a case-by-case basis depending on the client's activity:
    - Type of operational process to be carried out (cleaning, packaging, etc.);
    - Number of readings to be taken (number of batches);
    - Manual handling or automatic reading of labels;
    - Entrance reserved for clean and dirty linen;
    - Connection with the laundry;
    - Number of hotel rooms;
    - Internal or external governance service.

  3. The processing software: this is the last element in the chain, essential for the user. Our IT processing solution is composed of two elements. The first is responsible for "filtering" the millions of feedbacks from the RFID readers. It makes the transition between collection and display on the UBI Cloud interface. The UBI Cloud user portal displays the various indicators (KPIs) chosen. It can be identified through different accesses: management, governance, administration... To keep the confidentiality of certain parameters.

    Lecteur mobile UBI Laundry 1 (1)


Traceability solutions in the linen supply chain allow monitoring and analysis of how linen items are :

  • Processed: cleaning and reconditioning stages;

  • Distributed: transport to the hotel complexes;

  • Used: number of batch rotations per week, month... ;

  • Returned: transport to the laundries;

  • Managed: general follow-up.

Good to know: linen maintenance, key figures

Here is an estimate of the time required to manage the laundry service for the following concrete case: a 4-star hotel with two hundred rooms and an occupancy rate of 80%. It would have 60,000 pieces of laundry washed per month (for an average stay of 2 days).

Manual counting and control of linen

Administrative tasks

Inventory of linen in stock

90 hours/month

30 hours/month

10 hours/month


These costs correspond to the essential steps of a laundry activity, some of which are conducted daily:

  • Linen receipt ;

  • Trolleys dismantling ;

  • Counting (manual or automatic) ;

  • Delivery notes checking ;

  • Departments distribution ;

  • Clean and dirty linen dispatching ;

  • Contact with the various actors...

This type of calculation is an interesting basis for KPIs monitoring before the installation of the asset tracking system. We can see that the potential for time savings, and therefore financial savings, is significant for a structure of this type.

Consequences of monitoring textiles in laundries

UBI Solutions implements RFID solutions in hotels and industrial laundries. The UBI Laundry solution was developed to improve laundry management and ensure a seamless customer experience. 

  • The implemented solution allows :

  • Identification and location of assets;

  • Simplified management of textile products;

  • Seamless integration of care process data;

  • Generation of reports by customer or by item;

  • Error detection in each process;

  • Control of all parts in circulation.


All the information collected is stored in a cloud, giving users access to a whole range of concrete data on the process: 

  • Visualisation of flows ;

  • Quantities stored;

  • Number of losses;

  • Rotations between batches of sheets, towels, etc.

During the implementation, the first challenge is to train the customers on the importance of optimizing linen management. This gives them the ability to know whether they are losing or reducing costs of linen along the processing chain and can evaluate the direct or indirect costs involved. Once the assessment is quantified, the client understands that it can make significant savings, and then focus on improving the quality of the service they offer to their customers.

Finally, the main advantage that UBI Solutions offers to its customers when implementing an RFID solution is transparency. If you are a professional in this sector, the RFID textile tracking solution is the way to establish a relationship of trust between hotel and laundry suppliers but also manufacturers thanks to the information accessible in real time by both parties.

Indeed, tracking laundry by RFID throughout the entire wash cycle offers complete transparency on:

  • Losses: information on the last location of the linen, actual invoicing of losses to the right service provider.

  • Mixing of linen: frequent during the washing process when batches are mixed. With better transparency of flows, invoicing is more accurate.

  • Theft: thanks to the possibility of recording statistics on the "disappearance" of linen, it is easier to take concrete measures.

  • The quality of the washing process: identification of abnormal wear and tear of the linen according to the number of washes.

  • The financial model: RFID gives a clearer view of the price factors (price of linen, financial cost, life span, number of washes, rotation, number of sets in circulation, etc.) and makes it easier to monitor actual costs. The company is able to offer customers a transparent and predictable business model.

The three key points of the article :

  • Textiles (bed linen, uniforms, towels, etc.) can be tracked during their refurbishment using discreet RFID textile tags.

  • The data collected is visible to service providers and customers. In the long term, processes are improved: customer service is better and cost savings are seen.

  • Above all, RFID meets the need for transparency of the laundry services that professionals pay for. It also enables the automation of inventory and asset management processes.

RFID in the textile sector is gradually becoming a tool for automation, but also for transparency. The introduction of an RFID system considerably reduces the costs of washing and makes the flow of the laundry business more transparent.

Sharing information implies a rethinking of the way of working, and of the relationships between the players in the sector. It is a business model that can only work if all players adopt it, agree on a common goal and share the values. Transparency as a business model has already proved its worth in the food industry for the monitoring of animal products.


Renaud Munier

Renaud Munier