“If you’re not dirty, you haven’t been working hard enough!” Many of us have likely heard this saying before. Generally speaking, there is quite a bit of truth behind it. However, emergency services and rescue workers cannot choose the challenges of their work. Their top priority is to act quickly and purposefully in order to save people’s possesssions or even human lives. With this job comes a great deal of responsibility, and so there’s no time to be considerate of the nature of the equipment and protective clothing. In other words: even top-quality protective clothing will suffer over time; sometimes even enormously, which can be a safety risk. So it is all the more important to give your ‘second skin’ the care it needs.
TEXPORT® – one of the leading manufacturers of functional clothing – is aware of the importance of correct and regular care and maintenance of protective clothing when it comes to its protective function. For this reason, the course has been set at the headquarters in Salzburg, a considerable budget has been approved and the existing care/maintenance department has been completely re-launched. An internal competence centre was created under the name “TEXPORT® Service Team” specifically for professional care and maintenance.
It was not entirely by chance that TEXPORT® chose the name “Service Team”. “Our department is not a laundry facility, workshop or anything like that. We have equipped a highly specialised team of employees with the best available equipment because, in addition to optimum maintenance for the customer, we also wanted to achieve a considerably faster turnaround time,” explains Reinhold Pendl, who is heading this ‘special department’. It seems to have paid off. The average lead time is now only a third of what it was before! This is of course a significant advantage for emergency services, as operational readiness can be restored much quicker. It is therefore no coincidence that similarities were drawn to a Formula 1 service team, which is known for its speed and perfection.
“What exactly does the TEXPORT® Service Team do differently and how do firefighters benefit from this?”, was our direct question. It was answered just as directly: “Our Service Team is the primary point of contact for all matters relating to care and maintenance. Specially trained experts first sift through all items of clothing and forward them to the divisions responsible for cleaning, impregnation, sewing or repair as required. Even the first step of the inspection is of huge importance, as only trained specialists can identify damage that is often not visible to the customer. All Service Team departments are bundled with us in the Salzburg headquarters. We even employ our own certified tailors in order to be able to carry out complex repair work on the high-tech materials professionally and quickly. Of course, the team also pays meticulous attention to ensuring that the operational capability and the conformity with standards are maintained,” says Reinhold Pendl.
In order to be able to shorten the average throughput time for customers by up to two thirds, it was also necessary to optimise the logistical processes or even to create a completely new logistics chain. This ensures that the entire service process is fully traceable, even in the case of particularly demanding jobs. The automatic information about the current condition of the protective clothing that has been submitted is another significant improvement in the flow of information. The subject of costs should also not go unmentioned; especially when there is more to be done than the customer originally expected. “If additional costs arise, the customer will be informed, all details about the necessity of the work explained, and we will only start after the customer has given their approval,” says Team Leader Pendl. If the repair effort is disproportionate to the costs, the customer will be informed about this precisely, because in such cases buying a new item of clothing is often cheaper and more beneficial in the medium term than a repair.
Even if the TEXPORT® Service Team only started at full speed relatively recently when it took off in August 2017, the total of xxx protective jackets and trousers processed so far speaks volumes: the concept is able to best meet the innumerable individual needs that fire brigades place on professional care and maintenance.