- by Ulf Silfverström -
Sustainable enterprise means constantly working to reduce the environmental impact. For a long time, the laundry industry has been warm to the heart and contributed to a clean image.
"The industry has a responsibility," says Fredrik Lagerkvist, to inform the market that there are better alternatives to cotton. "
The road ahead may look different, but clearly the development will continue. We ask the question to CEO Fredrik Lagerkvist at Textilia how they work for sustainability? Textilia has most of its sales from public operations and in addition to reducing the environmental impact in its own production, Textilia has also chosen to push for new materials and more efficient flows.
A RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYONE
- The industry has a responsibility, Fredrik Lagerkvist says, to inform the market that there are better alternatives to cotton. Whether cotton is organic or not, it requires large areas of cultivation and plenty of water, a scarce commodity in many countries today.
Instead, Textilia is trying, as much as possible, to get wood-fiber-based textiles into its range and is happy to see this spread on a broad front. It reduces the environmental footprint.
- It is when we make new agreements that it is possible to make changes to the fabric stock. Slowly but surely, customers take in new materials. When we discuss with our suppliers we always have the sustainability aspect in mind, emphasizes Fredrik Lagerkvist.
GIVE THE TEXTILES NEW LIFE
Sustainability is also about making better use of the resources that already exist. Discarded textiles are now mainly used for heat recovery and for Textilia it is about 100 tonnes each year. But the options come.
- Now there is technology to break down the fibers and sew new textiles from them, says Fredrik Lagerkvist. They are given a new life.
MORE EFFECTIVE FLOWS
The flow in garment distribution can be improved through closer cooperation with customers. It provides both environmental and efficiency gains in customer operations. Textilia has a current and clear example - the new NKS hospital, New Karolinska Solna, with the ambition to become one of the world's most sustainable university hospitals.
- When the decision was made on NKS 2008, we were contacted. Together with Coor, who manages the property management, we have had the opportunity to influence the design to optimize the textile flow.
The idea has been to get work clothes closer to the users. NKS is big. It will take time to move if the distances to the garment release become too large. Say that the hospital's 6 employees instead save a few minutes each morning and every night. It quickly becomes many hours every day.
RFID Keeps Checking
- In the worst case scenario, it can affect hygiene if it takes too long during the working day to collect replacements. We have therefore chosen a wardrobe-based solution with RFID that keeps track of the garments. We place the wardrobes in several places in the hospital. This increases flexibility and reduces the time for movements and the risk of queues, says Fredrik Lagerkvist.
- It is also important that the textile flow fits into the hospital's other flows of food and medicines, for example. A goal is a high turnover rate on the textile stock. Much new thinking has been required to achieve it with garments that are effective and workable, yet effective from a flow perspective. It provides a profit for the environment and reduces the need for investment.
"In essence, it is important to see textile service to healthcare as the business-critical service it is."
COOPERATION IS QUALITY
The right solution for each task is a quality requirement that is likely to have an ever greater impact. In recent procurement, Fredrik Lagerkvist has seen questions about quality and continuous cooperation. How does the textile service company want to work with the customer? How can the company live up to the requirements?
- This is important. We usually have long agreements, 5-7 years, and the hospital's operations are subject to change many times during those years. That is why it is important to participate - all the time.
- In essence, it is important to see textile service to healthcare as the mission-critical service it is. If we do not deliver textiles to the hospital for a few days, the operation stops. There will be no operations, there will be nothing. I think our industry is good at highlighting our perspective. We deal with textiles every day and it is clear that we know best.