3/27/2018

“Round Table” Business Organization Hosts 79th Annual Meeting


First-ever presentation from Japanese industry leaders offers new international perspective

Northbrook, IL, March 27, 2018: Each year, the Round Table of Launderers and Dry Cleaners gets together to share industry ideas - even secrets - that help fuel the success of participating companies. That approach was the theme of the 79th Annual Meeting, held in early March in Costa Rica, when guest speakers Ken Uchikoshi and Bill Odorizzi of Sankosha USA, Inc., delivered an international perspective of the cleaning industry. Their presentation provided a unique opportunity to compare leading industry practices in the United States with those used in other countries.

Tom Zengeler, President of Zengeler Cleaners, has worked closely with Sankosha USA, along with its international headquarters, located in Tokyo, Japan. Tom's personal relationship with the company spans several years and resulted in Zengeler Cleaners hosting an international delegation of Japanese cleaning industry leaders in the summer of 2013. That visit was reciprocated when Tom was invited to attend a leadership conference in Japan in the fall of 2015.

"Adding the international flavor to this year's Round Table conference provided an entirely new dimension to the meeting," Zengeler said. "The conference participants are already successful in large part because we research and use best-in-class equipment from companies like Sankosha. Hearing about the techniques, products and equipment used in other countries helps keep us competitive and clearly adds to the benefits of this event. The presentation also affirmed that the leading cleaning companies in the USA already employ very similar strategies."

The Round Table gathers each year for an open exchange of ideas and innovation while collaborating to find solutions to challenges in its ever-changing industry. This emphasis on working together clearly differentiates the Round Table from similar organizations in other industries. "Our open exchange of ideas is the life-blood of our group, where each participant's 'price of admission' is to play an active part in the presentation of at least one topic at the conference," continued Zengeler. "Since no two companies are direct competitors, we can freely exchange confidential information. This makes the Round Table Conference a 'must-attend' event for Zengeler Cleaners every single year."

The Round Table was founded in 1940 when Herb Koch, Lee Workman and Barrett Finn, industry leaders of that era, called for a "Sales Managers Pow-Wow," which was held in Allentown, PA. The meeting moved to NYC for the next 5 years, and became known as the Laundry Management Group. In 1950, the name was officially changed to the Round Table Conference and has remained that way ever since. Today, many "2nd-generation members" are part of the group. The Round Table has never had a paid facilitator; rather, the responsibility is passed from member to member.

Pictures of Ken Uchikoshi (left) and Bill Odorizzi are attached below. For more information about the Round Table, please contact Tom Zengeler, President of Zengeler Cleaners, at 847.272.6550, ext. 14. Zengeler Cleaners' has eight (8) retail locations, with stores in Deerfield, Hubbard Woods, Northfield, Winnetka, two Libertyville stores, Long Grove along with the company's headquarters store in Northbrook, Illinois ... and Online at zengelercleaners.com.