By Jeff Vanauken and Edwin Schrijvers, Lavatec Training Technicians
Like any businessman, Novo Health Services President and CEO, Karl Fillip, assessed the health of his business and evaluated the progress of his laundry facilities at year’s end. Fillip had no regrets.
In 2015, Fillip’s young startup opened facilities in the Atlanta and Nashville markets.
A healthcare linen veteran, Fillip chose Lavatec equipment to fortify his operations and he credits his startups’ success to a comprehensive plan of action and ongoing training provided by the company.
“We’ve gone from nothing to 14 million pounds of laundry a year,” says Fillip. “Lavatec has been very strategic in that accomplishment – not only from the use of its equipment, but also because they trained our team during the equipment and software installation. In fact, they continue to train and audit performance to help us reach our targeted throughput.”
Although the Atlanta plant is physically larger, at 62,000 sq. ft., the Nashville operation, at 44,000 square-feet, extends their business reach east to Chattanooga and the I-65 corridor north into southern Kentucky.
With 120 dedicated employees both facilities service 14 hospitals and 24 healthcare clinics in the Atlanta and Nashville marketplaces. Lavatec’s contribution in keeping each laundry running are a Lavatec 14-module, 132 lb. tunnel and a LP-series extraction press. Additional support comes through on the back end with both running five TT-series dryers.
“Lavatec tunnels, presses and dryers provide us with unparalleled value. Parts are quick to get and from tech to corporate support, it has been a phenomenal relationship,” Fillip says.
In addition to durable and reliable equipment, Fillip says the simplicity of the tunnel and minimal downtime has been a huge contribution to his company’s success. But as VP Greg Cox points out, the amount of training provided at installation allowed Novo Health Services’ staff to hit the ground running.
“There was quite a bit of training involved. Some of our folks got to work directly besides Lavatec’s team during installation of the whole process,” recalled Cox. “Another group of Lavatec team members came in to install the software and again, our team was able to participate, understand and learn. Since then, there have been ongoing training sessions where their technicians work with our people.”
Cox said the regular training sessions which usually occur monthly are extremely beneficial. During the session, the laundry team receives additional training and they have the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the equipment.
“Additionally, Lavatec audits the machines to make sure there are no issues. That usually takes a day or two but it isn’t downtime. It’s just to see how the dryer codes are working, if the timing is working properly and how we can increase efficiency now that our volume levels are stable,” Cox says.
“Lavatec’s team looks at everything – product efficiency through the tunnel, the dryer times, back to the shuttle transfers – and they follow up with two days of intensive training for our people at both plants. That includes classroom instruction and on the job with the equipment.”
As a startup, a good number of the staff did not have extensive experience with laundry and tunnel system maintenance so training is incredibly beneficial and important for the success of the facility, says Cox.
“It has been really helpful with that extra layer of support,” Cox adds. “And if there is a little quirk here in between we can’t figure out, our people will pick up the phone and call Lavatec. It is a phenomenal and outstanding relationship.”
Getting in on the Ground Floor
Fillip indicated the audit reports to achieve desired productivity levels were born early in the relationship. Some members of the Novo team were invited to visit the Lavatec factory in Germany to observe the equipment’s construction phase.
“We watched the assembly to get a better understanding about how each piece of equipment was built. As far as productivity, during the audit reviews we are trying to increase our rate of transfers from 25 or 27 an hour. We’d like to optimize the machine and get to 30 per hour so we can match the performance warranties this equipment is capable of reaching.”
“I can’t think of a better relationship we’ve had with any vendor. All of our vendor relationships have been strong, but Lavatec has been very forthright,” added Cox. “They have honored their commitments and were very strategic in helping us start from nothing to creating 14 million pounds of work. Personally speaking, I can’t think of a business relationship I value more than the one we have with Keith Ware, Lavatec’s VP Sales.”
About the Authors
Jeff Vanauken and Edwin Schrijvers are Lavatec training technicians. Their comprehensive training sessions ensure that Lavatec customers have a good understanding of their new equipment while imparting ways to use that knowledge to increase a company’s profitability.
Jeff Vanauken and Edwin Schrijvers can be contacted at: 203.632.8777
For more information, visit the company’s web site: www.lltusa.com