How to innovate annually 150 million textile kilograms? CleanLease explains

At ChainCargo we pursue a sustainable lifestyle, and it doesn’t only start and end with reducing empty kilometres, we believe that it reflects on our team and partners.


We recently visited our partner CleanLease in Eindhoven, where Arnoud Clement (Project Manager Supply Chain & Transport) gave us a tour and shared the entire “behind the scenes” process. Imagine; 15 facilities, 138 trucks, thousands of kilograms of textiles cleaned a day. A major job, with major innovations. We were very excited to listen to their story!


CleanLease is the industry leader that specializes in cleaning and leasing textiles to hospitals, healthcare institutions and holiday parks.



Coen van Boxtel meets Arnoud Clement
Arnoud Clement (on the left) and Coen van Boxtel (Head of Sales & Marketing at ChainCargo)

ChainCargo and CleanLease started their cooperation back in 2020: “We got in touch with ChainCargo because we wanted to be sure that our incidental overflow would be delivered in the most sustainable and efficient way.”


We asked Arnoud a couple of questions about his role, innovation at CleanLease and collaboration with ChainCargo.


Enjoy!


Can you tell us a bit about CleanLease, what does the company do, what is your vision?


Our vision is to provide specialized integrated services for Cure, Care and Leisure in the Netherlands and Belgium. With textile cleaning and textile leasing, we distinguish ourselves from competition in hygiene, sustainability, logistics, technology and footprint (countrywide appearance). We provide clients with complete textile care so they can focus on their core business; “taking care of their patients, clients and guests”.


We focus on 3 market segments:


Cure

We provide hospitals with clean comfortable and sustainable uniforms, surgery costumes and caps, insulation jackets etc., bed sheets and other textile items.

Care

In this sector, we work with elderly care homes and mental health institutions. We take care of the bed linen and personal clothing of the residents. All the articles have a microchip inside, so we always know to whom the item belongs. This prevents items to get lost.

Leisure

Leisure is for CleanLease synonym with holiday parks. We take care of all the bad- and bed linen that guests use in holiday parks. We have a fully dedicated RFID laundry location in Ooij that services our customers with smart solutions on the packaging and track and trace.


Our competitive advantage is the intensive cooperation between our customers and CleanLease. We don’t just pick up dirty and drop off clean textiles, we extend our services and provide the in-house employees to distribute the items throughout the facility. For instance, when the CleanLease truck arrives at a hospital, 10 to 20 people are waiting to unload it and to make sure that all the containers are distributed through the building.

We provide logistic and textile solutions in all our segments and we always want to optimize processes and therefore costs.


Interesting fact: we clean more than 150 million kilograms of textile each year. 😊


"Interesting fact: we clean more than 150 million kilograms of textile each year 😊".

People outside the hospitality or healthcare industries might not be aware that the service that CleanLease provides exists. Why don’t hospitals and holiday parks own their textiles but use services like yours?

Mainly because textile requires big investments. Decades ago, hospitals exploited their own washing centres and had large linen rooms. The development in the healthcare market based on new technologies resulted in less bed capacity, more daily care and consequently less beds and hospitals. Mergers and cooperation between hospitals resulted in more efficient organisations based on outsourcing services that were not related to the direct care of patients. Therefore also laundry services were outsourced to companies like CleanLease.


And we do what we are good at – providing clean textile products every day. Reliability is key in our business. Without the services we deliver, hospitals e.g. cannot operate. Also, during the pandemic, we continued our services and made sure that all the textiles are being cleaned perfectly, and hospitals or healthcare institutes should not worry if there are any covid bacteria left in the sheets or uniforms. This required significant extra investments in textile, safety measures, and adjustments in the flow processes.



You are a Supply Chain Project Manager, can you tell us more about your role?

I am responsible for organizing transportation in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, we have 15 facilities from which 138 trucks cross the roads in the Netherlands every day. Additionally, to the 138 trucks we own, sometimes we use transport companies like ChainCargo, which provides transport services when it’s needed: if demand increases, mainly during the holiday season or summertime.


I am also involved with the development of transport for the short and long terms. Development of our transport vision for the future: how can we make our logistics operations more efficient, how to make our transport more sustainable by using alternative fuels, training our drivers and using route optimization software.

We already have one hybrid truck and one truck that runs on BioCNG (compressed natural gas). We continuously try to find new opportunities and make further steps to make the fleet more sustainable, e.g. to invest in HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel.


Besides, I actively support transport optimization and take care of the positioning of our fleet within our CleanLease facilities network. It is important to keep good communication with colleagues from other sites and discuss the technical condition of our trucks and verify the capacity needed vs. the capacity available at all of our sites. If needed, we transfer trucks from one to another site.



How would you describe innovation in your company?

Innovation and sustainability are almost always connected. We set some ambitious goals to reduce our carbon emissions and are executing a broad program to improve our ecological footprint.


Regarding transport, we are the first company within our branch that joined the Lean&Green program. With this program, we made a plan to further reduce our footprint pure from a logistics point of view. As mentioned before, we are implementing programs to make our transport more sustainable such as; transfer to alternative fuels, reoptimize our logistics and optimize the planning of our routing.


"Innovation & Sustainability: We introduced a reusable insulation jacket that replaces 100 disposable jackets".

When it comes to innovation and sustainability, CleanLease accelerated significantly and made great steps last year. The best example is the transfer from disposable to reusable items in the cure market. We developed a reusable medical insulation jacket that is used during the surgery and care of the covid-19 patients. The interesting thing is that one reusable medical insulation jacket replaces 100 disposable jackets. We have developed this jacket in close collaboration with people who use them daily; our customers! And we already have 50.000 of these reusable insulation jackets on the market!


Regarding innovation and textile, we are moving from regular cotton and bio cotton to recycled cotton (GRS). This GRS cotton obtained the highest sustainability qualification. As you may know, to make a cotton sheet you need to use a lot of water. Therefore, recycled cotton requires much less water...


And the last thing to mention is that we track our assets. We do that by using RFID microchips in our textile and roll containers. This contributes greatly to optimizing our inventory and those of our clients and results in optimal use of our assets.




CleanLease was founded over 100 years ago, how did you adapt to new technologies?

In the past, everything was done by hand and right now, the focus is shifting towards automation and robotizing processes. Hiring skilled and qualified people in every branch is difficult, especially during the peak seasons. Therefore, by robotizing processes we can take care of the same amount of textile with fewer people, it’s all about efficiency. It also brings important benefits for the employees because it takes over heavy manual work and improves their working conditions.


Maybe we will have self-driven trucks in the future as well. But one thing I truly believe in is that we will do everything we can to realize a zero emission company.


"Maybe we will have self-driven trucks in the future as well. But one thing I truly believe in is that we will do everything we can to realize a zero-emission company."


What was the trigger to start talking with ChainCargo about cooperation?

We were looking for a solution for our transport overflow. We have regular transport schedules based on the agreements with our customers. However, the standard schedule will change if the client changes the facility or adds extra branches. So if we have an incidental overflow which not fit within the standard schedule we usually do not perform this transport by ourselves because it creates extra empty mileage and is less efficient.


When our client needs urgent transport we have a few possibilities, one of them is outsourcing. That’s why we got in touch with ChainCargo. We wanted to be sure that the transport we will not operate ourselves, will be taken care of in the most sustainable and efficient way.


"We think that by using ChainCargo we can reduce empty and unnecessary kilometres for us and generally in The Netherlands."

We also have some centralized internal services, but we don’t have daily transports between the various CleanLease sites, so we outsource those transports to ChainCargo. This way our sites can focus on their core business, and ChainCargo can support our internal services. We think that by using ChainCargo we can reduce empty and unnecessary kilometres for us and generally in The Netherlands.


We at ChainCargo always emphasize that collaboration is the foundation of efficient and sustainable logistics. Therefore, we are thrilled that CleanLease trusts us, shares our vision and continues to work with us on this mission!





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