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TITANS OF INDUSTRY


installation or anywhere where a large number of inhabitants need to share a common laundry space. Finally, the home or consumer segment, where Alliance is also experiencing “some really nice growth,” according to Pyle. According to Pyle, one of the


A line up of Alliance International laundry appliances


parts of the machine, the electronic controls, which help our customers generate more revenue. We also have fi eld service people whose total focus is to provide training and technical support. No other company in the commercial space can do this. We can because of our scale. To have personnel supporting our brands is another differentiator of our company,” he says.


Alliance International offer customers two types of product categories: a small chassis and a large chassis washer product, the latter is a washer extractor and a larger tumble drier. While each type of product serves different segments and markets, the approach to marketing them is quite similar. “We try to maximise the requirement of the amount of water, the temperature of the water used and the energy consumption,” says Pyle. “We do this through the electronic control.” Alliance’s acquisition of Belgian competitor Primus Laundry Equipment Group in March 2014 enabled them to incorporate new control technology that Pyle describes as: “the most innovative product our industry has seen in the last 15 to 20 years.” This acquisition, says Pyle, “fi lled gaps on the product side that we felt that we were going to have. It established a bigger footprint in Europe, which was a desire of


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ours, and that product platform then gave us the springboard for where we believe our growth is coming from in some of those emerging markets.” So, would Pyle describe Alliance as an acquisitive company? “We don’t just say, ‘that company looks good, let’s buy it’. It’s a bit more strategic than that,” he says. And Pyle knows all about that


strategy, having worked across so many facets of the Alliance business. “Our history has always been in the commercial laundry space. That provides a clear direction for us. We don’t get into debates internally – as some of our competitors do – of vying for attention, resources or investment. We wake up every day thinking about commercial laundry, that’s what we do, it’s who we are.”


Market insight


In the commercial laundry sector there are four segments that Alliance services. First, on-premises laundry, for operators such as hotels, hospitals or anywhere where there exists a requirement to actually do laundry on site. The second is the laundromat segment, which in many mature markets is the coin-operated market for people to wash their own clothes. Third is ‘multi-housing’, a shared or common laundry for an apartment building or condominium, military


advantages Alliance International has is that they have products and a presence in every one of those four segments. “That is a differentiator from, not all, but many of our competitors. When you compare the North American business verses the international business, there are growth opportunities in each of those segments internationally. We have only just begun. Even though our market position is quite strong, when you consider the laundromat market, you have countries such as China, where you don’t have launderettes. It’s a totally emerging market, a country of 1.4 billion people, that is a much more secure opportunity.” For Pyle, those emerging markets,


whether in Asia, parts of Latin America, or even some parts of Europe, the opportunities are signifi cant. “We’ve seen, since the fi rst laundromats back in the 50s in the US, that every emerging market goes through the same evolution cycle with respect to our industry. I never use the word ‘guarantee’, but it’s highly predictable that when certain economic and social demographics are in place, right behind that is an opportunity for our business. We feel very fortunate to have that history, to be the largest in the world, but we’re also humbled by that. “It’s a credibility issue. Not just with the product itself, but with the relationships we have with our customers. We are largely selling through a distribution base, and someof those distributors have been with Alliance for 50, 60, 70 years, so we’re on our second and third generation of those relationships. It’s hard to put a value on that. We know how important it is, but it carries with it a responsibility that we want to continue. So, you combine that


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