Last year in November, LVL Evolution launched a large and modern plant in Belarus to produce “Lozhka v Ladoshke” (Spoon in Little Palm) brand canned baby food. Being a food production facility, it has the highest sanitary requirements for workwear. LVL Evolution weighed all the options and decided to outsource this task by signing a workwear maintenance contract with Lindström. Andrey Belyakov, Head of Production at the plant, explains why this is more cost-effective than managing your own laundry room.
“Our production facility was launched quite recently, just one year ago. At its design stage we were planning to handle our staff’s workwear cleaning by ourselves: the site layout included a laundry room and other utility rooms. But in the end, we didn’t even buy any equipment for them and decided to outsource workwear care instead. We called for bids among companies specializing in this field, and ultimately chose Lindström, the most experienced service provider.”
Why did you prefer this option to your own laundry room?
At first glance, it may seem cheaper to deal with all the processes yourself. But this comes with certain resource requirements and costs that may not be evident at first: you need to buy equipment for the laundry, hire workers, constantly monitor the process, account for the cost of sewage, etc.
After adding up, it turns out you don’t gain all that much. Plus, there’s the question of convenience and quality: just because you do something yourself, it will not by default turn out well. At the end of the day, cost effectiveness was not the main reason. Its convenience, that’s what impressed us: we don’t have to worry about arranging all these things, like cleaning, washing, disinfecting, doing laundry, anymore.
Could you tell us how this whole process is arranged?
We now have about 100 people provided with workwear: 11 sets for each employee. The room initially designed for laundry now has special lockers in it, individually assigned to each employee. At the beginning of the shift the laundry room manager opens the lockers and hands out clean workwear sets to the employees. At the end of the shift workwear is brought back to the room and put in a specially designated place. Every Tuesday Lindström van arrives to pick up dirty laundry and drop off clean workwear, which goes into the personal lockers.
Lindström also does minor workwear repairs if required. When obviously outworn, the workwear set is replaced with a new one. The service agreement describes this in detail. When we hire a new employee, we use an online channel to inform what size clothes they wear and how many sets they need, and their workwear arrives within a week.
Why 11 sets per person, specifically?
First of all, we need a new clean set for each workday, we also account for the fact that workwear may get really dirty in the process. Our employees do use arm sleeves, gloves, and aprons, but things happen. So sometimes you need to change into a fresh set of workwear in the middle of the day. And by trial and error we discovered 11 sets of workwear to be the exact number people need to easily change clothes whenever required.
What are your plant’s requirements for workwear?
Our line workers wear white jackets and trousers. The sleeves get fastened, as does the collar, right to the very top. The body needs to be exposed as little as possible, according to sanitary requirements and labour safety standards. The technical team wears trousers and work gowns, the cleaning team wears green jackets and trousers, the engineering team wears grey overalls and trousers with special pockets for tools.
Do you think workwear affects the company image?
Of course, every employer must take care of their employees and provide them with comfortable workwear to safeguard their health and make the work process easier. I used to work as a labour safety engineer at a forestry enterprise, and even though we were not getting enough funding, I still fought tooth and nail to procure special workwear for loggers, because this is a highly hazardous job. So, if a company is fully stocked on workwear, this shows how much its top management cares for its people and their safety.
We did not brand our clothes, because our employees work exclusively within plant premises and no unauthorised people are allowed inside, due to our strict sanitary requirements for visiting food production facilities here in Belarus. So there is really no point in displaying the brand logo. We just looked at the contractor’s selection of workwear available, chose the most suitable models, and then tweaked some minor details to suit our preferences.
Photos: Anna Zankovich, probusiness.io