The first task in effectively managing linens is to determine the appropriate inventory level for all types of linen used in the hotel. It is important that the inventory level for linens is sufficient to ensure smooth operations in the housekeeping department. Shortages occur when the inventory level for linens is set too low. Shortages disrupt the work of the housekeeping department irritate guests who have to wait for cleaned rooms reduce the number of readied rooms, and shorten the useful life of linens as a result of intensified laundering. Although housekeeping operations run smoothly when inventory levels are set too high, management will object to the inefficient use of linen and to the excessive amount of cash resources tied up in an overstock of supplies. The par number established for linen inventories is the standard stock level needed to accommodate typical housekeeping operations. One par of linens equals the total number of each type of linen that is needed to outfit all guestrooms one time.

One par of linen is also referred to as a house setup. Clearly, one par of linen is not enough for an efficient operation. Linen supplies should be several times above what is needed to outfit all guestrooms just once. Two par of linens is the total number of each type of linen needed to outfit all guestrooms two times; three par is the total number needed to outfit all guestrooms three times; and so on. The Executive Housekeeper must determine how many par of linens are needed to support efficient operations in the housekeeping department.

When establishing a par number for linens, the Executive Housekeeper needs to consider three things: the laundry cycle, replacement linens, and emergency situations. The hotel’s laundry cycle is the most important factor in determining linen pars. Quality hotels change and launder linens daily. At any given time, large amounts of linen are in movement between guestrooms and the laundry. When set¬ting an appropriate linen inventory level, the Executive Housekeeper must think through the laundry cycle in terms of the hotel’s busiest days-when the hotel is at 100 percent occupancy for several days in a row. If housekeeping manages an effi¬cient on-premises laundry operation, the laundry cycle indicates that housekeeping should maintain three par of linens: one par-linen laundered, stored, and ready for use today; a second par-yesterday’s linens which are being laundered today; and a third par-linens to be stripped from the rooms today and laundered tomorrow. Executive Housekeepers also need to figure in guest requests for extra linens, and linens for rollaway beds, sofa beds, and cribs.

The second factor to consider when establishing linen par levels is the replacement of worn, damaged linen, or stolen linen. Since the linen losses vary from property to property, Executive Housekeepers will need to determine a reasonable par level for linen replacement based on the property’s history. The need for replacement stock can be determined by studying monthly, quarterly, or annual inventory reports on which losses and replacement needs are documented. A general rule of thumb is to store one full par of new linens as replacement stock on an annual basis. Finally, the Executive Housekeeper must be prepared for any emergency situations. A power failure or equipment damage may shut down a hotel’s laundry operation and interrupt the continuous movement of linens through the laundry cycle. The Executive Housekeeper may decide to hold one full par of linens in reserve so that housekeeping operations can continue to run smoothly during an emergency.

Exhibit 1 Sample Par Calculation
This is a sample calculation of how to establish a par stock level for king-size sheets for a hotel that uses an in-house laundry operation and supplies two sheets for each of the property’s 300 king-size beds.
300 king-size beds x 2 sheets per bed = 600 per par number
One par in guestrooms 1 x 600 = 600
One par in floor linen closets 1 x 600 = 600
One par soiled in the laundry 1 x 600 = 600
One par replacement stock 1 x 600 = 600
One par for emergencies 1 x 600 = 600
Total number     3,000
3,000 sheets / 600 sheets/par = 5 par      

Therefore, the hotel’s laundry cycle, linen replacement needs, and reserve stock for emergencies suggest that a minimum of five par of linen should be maintained on an annual basis. Properties using an outside commercial laundry service will need to add a sixth par to cover linens in transit.

Exhibit 1 illustrates a sample par calculation for the number of king-size sheets required for a hotel with 300 king-size beds. In this example, 3,000 king-size sheets should be in the hotel linen inventory at all times. Similar calculations need to be performed for every type of linen used in the hotel. Both Properties are to maintain a 2.5 Par Level.


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