SPL Spotlight: Shining a light on our team

Michelle Brown: Leading from the front

The SPL Spotlight Series will shine a light on various SPL team members nationally that embody our values, and set a prime example for the entire business. This week, we sat down for a chat with our passionate Albury Branch Manager, Michelle Brown.

After more than a decade with SPL, Michelle has never been more driven to build on the tangible results of her hard work.

Starting with SPL in 2010 and having worn many hats: from the production floor, to Customer Service, and now Branch Manager, Michelle has seen enormous change for the better within both the industry and SPL in her time.

“Whilst a decade may not seem a long tenure to the broader trade, our evolution as a company has been huge in that time and the opportunities afforded to me off the back of hard work and dedication remain a major motivator. Having the tangible opportunity to work towards achieving greater professional success is important to me. I feel like I can take up greater challenges and risks without the fear of failure.” said Michelle.

An all-rounder that has performed a myriad of tasks, Michelle reflected this week on the various accomplishments that have led to her current success. Her approach has allowed her to maximise the learning opportunities at each step of her journey.

“I was originally employed to work as a laundry hand, where I developed an understanding of the Washing / Sorting department. Learning how to process towelling and working on the ironers, catching, and packing products. After working on the floor for around a year, I was transferred to a customer service role that involved one-on-one interaction with our customers, amongst many other tasks, which was invaluable.”

This role gave Michelle an extraordinary ‘coal-face’ understanding of the expectations of linen service customers – insights that still inform how she goes about business today.

“It involved engaging new customers, setting up accounts, and problem solving just to name a few. Importantly, it also taught me just how little understanding our customers have of the laundry industry, and what is involved to supply their business with linen.

This drove me to further educate myself on processes within the laundry so that I could share this with our customers, improve their understanding, and in turn, manage their expectations more effectively.”

Michelle’s growth as a team member and leader led to further innovation for the branch.

“My Customer Service phase was one of enormous learning and highlighted to me the positive impact I can have for customers. It led to me developing the self-confidence to conduct Open Days at our facility to drive transparency. A few years on I was promoted to Branch Manager at Albury around 2013.”

Michelle’s passion for the industry and dedication to setting a high level of service for customers has led to an undying search for ways to improve customer relationships. Initiative-driven, unprompted innovation has been a key to her success.

From setting up a sterilising room at the Albury branch, to transforming the way in which operating theatres and the CSSD Departments transport and receive their sterilised theatre packs through standardisation (which resulted in a significantly better result for our partnership), no opportunity to improve service has been left unchecked on Michelle’s watch.

“The theatre packs process involved some of the key public and private hospitals, like Ramsay health, MLDH, AWH Albury Wodonga and Calvary Riverina coming together to be guided through the suggested process. It was a huge challenge as theatres and CSSD departments in the healthcare industry are understandably very rigid with the products they are supplied”. The result saved on labour costs, improved delivery and has since become standard for the sector.

Managing clients has been all about education, innovation and transparency for Michelle. From plate testing on linen, to reporting on monthly product and revenue usage to improve customer linen budget management, to introducing new internal processes ranging from hygiene and cleanliness validation within the branch, and improving cost-effectiveness of linen transitions for new healthcare customers.

She has upgraded reporting of data and test results for healthcare customers, and played pivotal role in the Albury Branch’s claim as the first SPL branch to achieve SAI Global Certification.

Her dynamic approach has led to Michelle becoming closely involved in Healthcare tenders for SPL, synchronising linen transitions, and more. A personal highlight was her involvement in two of SPL’s largest healthcare accounts, in both Albury and Adelaide.

“It was a huge thrill to bring my passion and knowledge to the table in contributing to the winning of business for SPL. I have also recently completed another AWH linen transition of significant annual value which will be in place for the next 5 years for Albury.”

The industry can be mentally and physically taxing at times, and we all have good and bad days. We were keen to find out what drove Michelle day in, day out to achieve her best for SPL clients.

“Success comes in many forms in this industry – from hitting to targets, to customer satisfaction, team motivation and more - and leading by example is what motivates me to do my best. Knowing that my hard work and dedication helps to build strong relationships with our team and customers is what keeps me coming back to work every day. Compared to previous roles in my career that were somewhat repetitive, my current role is challenging and no day is the same. The challenge of discovering new ways to improve our customer relationships and guest experiences is what It brings out the competitiveness in me. I now find myself ambitious and having the tendency to want to succeed in all things I apply myself to. I’d like to think that feeling rubs off onto our team as I support them.”

A dedicated leader, Michelle derives just as much satisfaction from seeing her team flourish.

“Providing our team members with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills to achieve success is very fulfilling. Playing a part in helping our team members achieve these abilities, and work towards higher roles is gratifying and rewarding knowing you have played a part in their success”.

Michelle has also benefited greatly from working closely with her client in the healthcare space.

“I work beside a wide range of talented people in the healthcare sector. I really value the opportunity to learn and increase my understanding and skills within the organisation, whether learning from work colleagues or customers. Educating myself on the healthcare industry has played a major role is being able to set a high level of service with our customers.”

Looking ahead, a heightened level of transparency across the business was cause for great optimism Michelle said.

“Over my time in the laundry business my approach has to me performing a key role in evolving SPL values and guidelines from a service perspective. It’s exciting just to be able to tell my story and I hope others can learn from it or glean a similar sense of optimism about SPL and where we are headed. I look forward to reading their stories as well.”

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