Production on demand is an environmental act
Lindström’s story of sustainable manufacturing
In today’s environmentally aware world, manufacturing goods without minimising an environmental footprint is no longer a ‘go’. Sustainable manufacturing not only creates more sustainable products with an optimised life cycle but also creates a safer environment for employees and customers in the long run. Lindström’s approach to take care of our planet and its people by producing only on demand and leaving zero burdens on the environment is one of a kind.
Jarmo Vahtervuo, Vice President, Procurement and Supply Chain at Lindström tells the brand story of sustainable manufacturing.
What is the Production on Demand (PRODEM) manufacturing practice?
PRODEM or the PROduction on DEMand is a dynamic customer-driven textile manufacturing practice developed by Lindström in 2015-16 in response to ever-changing customer demands. The main idea behind PRODEM is to be closer to our customers and react quickly to their needs, to be flexible in delivering new, additional and replacement orders of all scales using sustainable raw materials to optimise on-demand production even further. Presently, we have PRODEM sites in Latvia, Hungary, and India. The next production site is going to be in China. Via this approach, we are getting closer to customers in every region where we operate. Our European, as well as Asian customers, can get the garments from the nearest production sites.
How would you define the ultimate environmental and societal value of PRODEM?
PRODEM sustainable manufacturing practice is based on the idea to manufacture workwear per demand only. The order from the customer acts as a signal to start production. Garments are cut, sewn, controlled, coded, and delivered to service centres and further to the customer premises under an agreed upon schedule. Such manufacturing practices can meet even the small-scale need of the customer with short lead time and simultaneously reduce overproduction, minimise textile waste and avoid unused garments in customer stocks, thus, helping our customers become more sustainable.
Moreover, the key consideration in PRODEM is the use of eco-friendly raw materials that are easy to maintain in a long life cycle. At Lindström, 90% of garments are Öko-tex 100-certified and designed from durable materials to endure the ensuing wear and repairs. Because the selected production materials are durable, they open up the option of repairing the garments in use and save the need to produce more than four million new garments per year. Hence, PRODEM, with its eco-materials and processes, proves that it runs on the most service-efficient and sustainable practice in textile manufacturing.
What kind of customer orders can be produced on demand?
Within a production on-demand manufacturing practice, customers can place orders for additional garments or the replacement of their existing garments on a daily basis. The total lead time from placing the order to delivering to the customer can vary from three to eight days. Such short lead time in getting new or replacement garments gives customers efficiency in their everyday operations and makes their rental textile partnership with Lindström a comfortable journey. Also, PRODEM can first take delivery orders and, depending on their volume, the total lead time may vary from one week to a maximum of four weeks. Moreover, PRODEM can produce products with special measurements. PRODEM is a flexible textile manufacturing practice that proved its mettle during the Covid-19 pandemic when the need for healthcare garments by the healthcare industry jumped overnight. Our PRODEM sites responded timely to the healthcare systems with the needed number of garments in Asia and Europe.
How flexible is the production on demand to follow service modifications?
To make the workwear service customer-tailored, service lines are diversified into Workwear Full and Workwear Flex. For Workwear Full Service, production is based on the employee number of the customer and the design modifications are done per user need, making the Workwear Full Service fully customer-tailored. Alternatively, the Workwear Flex Service production is based on volumes of specific workwear sizes in need. The key value proposition in this service line is that by producing a reasonable amount of workwear on minimal stock, customer workforce changes, however frequent they may be, don’t present a challenge anymore. Production on demand is suitably flexible to fit both service lines. Moreover, the stocks of different regions are cross-utilised, making the production process even more sustainable.
What are the sustainable development goals of production on demand for the future?
Our ambitious sustainable production goal is to leave zero burdens to the planet. We already reduce textile waste via the reusability of our workwear – we produce one-third of the workwear for the customers. By 2025, our ambitious sustainability goal is to reach 100% recyclability of textile waste. Our goal for the future is also to have carbon-free electricity solutions on production sites. That implies the implementation of solar panels as a local solution or purchasing only green electricity.
What advice would you give to manufacturing businesses at the beginning of their sustainable manufacturing journey?
As the pressure to minimise negative environmental impact intensifies, customer centricity is an essential mindset to adopt and could answer the most challenging problems like over-production. Understanding and anticipating customer needs can shape win-win actions that are inherently sustainable and serve the customer in the best possible way. Our PRODEM facilities allow us to do exactly that. Being stationed at the customer site, not only can we respond quickly to customer needs, we can also avoid carbon emissions expelled via deliveries and excess stock.
We practice sustainability every step of the way in our processes and start at the design phase of the workwear.
Have a look inside PRODEM Latvia!