Sherborne School – Laundry

Sherborne School


Sherborne School was established in 1550 as King Edward’s School, a free grammar school for local boys. The school took on its current form as a boys’ boarding school in the 19th century. This change was due to the vision of Reverend Hugo Daniel Harper, who was headmaster from 1850 to 1877. Today, the school accommodates a little under 600 boys, the majority of whom board.

The Background

At the request of the Board of Governors, Simon Butcher, Services Bursar at Sherborne School, commenced a strategic review of several aspects of services provision across the school including the laundry. Due to the potentially significant amount of work involved in such a detailed review Minerva was appointed to assist.

Initial interviews were conducted in all eight boarding houses which confirmed the school were utilising six different suppliers. Furthermore, each boarding house had their own preferred supplier and their own processes with in-house laundry. A number of the houses outsourced all of their laundry, whereas some washed the entirety in house, others used a mix of external companies and their in-house facilities. Further to this, the Matrons and Housekeepers all had their bespoke preferences as to how garments were laundered, i.e. whether uniform trousers were dry cleaned or simply washed and pressed. The interviews with each house enabled Minerva to gain an understanding of how they were processing their laundry, which days the washing was collected and delivered and their supplier preferences.

Alongside the interviews Minerva collated all the necessary data required to undertake a full evaluation of the costs. This included analysis of hundreds of invoices.

The invoice assessment revealed substantial variances in the prices being paid for the same services from different suppliers. This data enabled Minerva to negotiate price reductions from all suppliers based on the ‘best price’ from each one.

Interviews were also held with each supplier to ensure that their feedback, and suggested improvements, were considered.

The resultant audit report was in excess of 100 pages and took almost 2 hours to present, such was the level of detail contained therein. The report provided all the information the school required to be able to make an informed decision on the right way forward. Content of the report included details of the new tariffs Minerva had negotiated with each of the proposed suppliers, analysis of their financial standing, detail of the outputs of the various interviews, as well as recommendations on how to streamline the laundry process and gain full compliance across the school site.

The Results

The school has reduced the number of suppliers utilised from 6 to 4. All boarding houses will be using the same suppliers for the same items which are all collected and delivered on the same days. The school are benefiting from cost savings in excess of 30% which equates to a significant £ amount.

The suppliers working with the school now have formal contracts in place, giving them ‘security’ and enabling them to offer fixed pricing giving the school the benefit of greater visibility of future expenditure.

The services team now have a strong grasp of what is happening across the houses, how much they are paying per item and the services provided by each supplier.
Post completion of the project Minerva remained in continuous contact with the school to help with the implementation. Boarding houses were migrated one by one to guarantee a smoother transition.

Customer Feedback

“The detailed work which Minerva have carried out for the School has been so valuable to us in analysing and enabling us to restructure the laundry process across all areas of the School. It was a pleasure working with such a friendly team at Minerva and good to be able to cut through the historic practices to identify the most efficient and cost effective solutions for the future.

The review documentation and report were extremely detailed and have been used as a point of reference when filtering the changes down to the areas of the business that are already benefiting from Minerva’s work. I am happy to recommend Lorraine Ashover and the Minerva team”
Richard Fowke, Estates Bursar, Sherborne School December 2014

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