What is Textile logistics and what benefits does it have?
Textile logistics is primarily a partially automated, internal solution for handling, distributing and storing work clothes in the workplace. For those industries where the staff have to switch to a special set of protective and hygienic work clothes before they can start working, such as in healthcare or in food production, it is of the utmost importance that the work clothes logistics system works well.
The advantage of a textile logistics solution is that it streamlines and simplifies personnel clothing management. This is true both when it comes to optimizing the textile assortment and creating efficient internal logistics and garment distribution. The delivery and return of work clothes must flow as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. It is important that long queues do not form during rush hour and that clothes supplies are not exhausted.
In the healthcare sector, employees are required to change clothes daily. A textile logistics solution gives you a confirmation of whether this actually happens. It can also confirm that the staff does not take out more garments than they need. Knowing which garments are in place reduces the unnecessary purchase of new or additional clothes.
In food manufacturing, there is no requirement for changing clothes every day, BUT, in order to meet hygiene requirements, good cleanliness and HACCP-approved work clothes which can only be used at the workplace are required.
Strategic internal logistics
An automated textile logistics solution allows staff to collect or leave their garments on their way to or from work at one of the pick-up and return stations located at strategic locations in the company. There are solutions with smart, interactive wardrobe cabinets that can be placed near the end user, such as in changing rooms, or in the corridor outside. Alternatively, a larger common space with good flow can be used, where several staff members can withdrawal their work clothes at the same time.
Reduce the risk of loss and the hoarding of clothes
The risks that may arise if you have no form of automated textile logistics solution for work clothes are that the staff:
May start the work day by standing in line
Risk that the size or the special garments they need will not be on the shelf when they arrive
May become stressed and root around in the clothes piles, thereby reducing the hygiene of the garments or creating disorder, so that the right garments are not in the right places.
If this scenario is recurring, you run the risk that employees will start picking up extra garments to collect in their cabinets to assure their own access to the clothes they need. This means that more garments will need to be purchased to secure the supply of work clothes for everyone.
Chip in clothing is a basic requirement
The first step for taking control of textile logistics is to mark all work clothes and textiles with an RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification). These chips are often embedded in a hem or waistband of a garment. There are different types of RFID chips and different technologies have different advantages and disadvantages. You can read more about these in our post Pros and cons of different types of RFID chips.
Different solutions for different conditions
There are various textile logistics solutions to choose from depending on the scope of your business, the physical building and, of course, which investment is the most feasible for you. Options include everything from having your regular textile storage equipped with a portable chip reader and an alarm arc. To the most advanced, large-scale solutions, such as a conveyor that brings out each person’s clothing on a hanger, after reading their ID card.
Textile logistics gives you CONTROL
A textile logistics solution gives you control over what textiles you actually need and where your work clothes actually are. It tells you whether they are on a storage shelf or in the laundry, who has them right now and who may have forgotten to return their clothes at the end of the day.
It also provides regular statistics on how many clothes disappear in a month. This happens to more clothes than you might think. They may not even have physically disappeared but are perhaps in some employee’s personal cabinets. Since each textile is equipped with a unique chip, you can see who picked it up last and who did not return it. This assures that the users are responsible for their clothes.
You also get:
Control of investment
Control of reinvestment in textiles
Control of existing textile stock. Such as how many times the garments have been washed, whether they need repairs, or whether a garment has been “consumed” or worn out
Control of turnover rate. For example, whether you have a large stock of “shelf heaters”, i.e. garments that almost no one uses
Control of hygiene. By knowing how long ago a textile was washed and whether it can still be classified as clean
Control of each individual textile through full traceability
IN CONCLUSION – A smart textile logistics service will both simplify the day for those who wear the work clothes AND give greater control of the textile stock, the hygiene and the waste of textiles for the investing company.