Today’s increasingly connected world has created a permanent power shift towards the client in the customer/supplier relationship. Gone are the days where a company can be successful without being customer-centric in their corporate vision and business ideology.
The modern healthcare laundry industry and their relationship with nurses, doctors, and infection prevention specialists have certainly felt the impact of this ideological shift. The paradigm is real: how does a laundry operate a low-cost manufacturing facility in North America while at the same time delivering some of the highest quality, safe and fiscally responsible linen the industry has ever seen?
The answer can be found through having healthy communication between the hospital, the laundry and the textile supplier and ultimately determining where each party’s tolerance levels lie in terms of price, quality and performance. Simple, right?
Reducing dependency on Cotton
The healthcare laundry industry has seen a dramatic change in hospital linen material composition from cotton-rich items to products with more of a synthetic base over the last decade. In general, items made with a high polyester content will last longer and dry faster – two principles that every healthcare laundry strives for. If you add into the equation the fear of another cotton crisis like the one of 2009-2011, which sent prices of this commodity skyrocketing, it seems like a no-brainer for a healthcare laundry to try and convert all of their linen to synthetics. Why don’t they then? Because at the root of it all, laundries, like every other company in the world, need to cater to their client base. The negative stigma surrounding synthetic products in the linen and textile industry is still very much alive, however, there is evidence that a change is coming.
Beyond 100% cotton
Laundries need to work together with their linen suppliers and their healthcare clients to develop products that increase Pounds per Operator Hour (PPOH) without compromising performance in the hospital. At George Courey, we have developed an Operating Room Towel in a purely synthetic composition. Gone are the days of the 100% cotton huck towel that has dominated this space for decades. Our new 100% polyester OR towel performs to the satisfaction of laundry operators and hospital staff alike. This is truly a game changer and is an example of a product that was developed using a customer-centric approach and involving trusted partners throughout the process.
Through dialogue, it will become increasingly clear that polyester is a friend, not a foe, and amazing products exist and are being created every day that satisfy a laundry’s P&L as well as satisfy the increasingly prevalent need to be customer-focused.