José Luis Jacques
Director General
Lavartex
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View from the Top

Technology: A Key Factor to Ensure Clean, Safe Operation

Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:32

Q: How much does the healthcare sector contribute to Lavartex’s business?
A: Lavartex has three divisions: healthcare, hospitality and the recently launched industrial uniforms area. Healthcare is our largest division now, followed by hospitality. The industrial uniforms division focuses mainly on the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, foodstuffs and chemical sectors.
We provide services in 29 states. We are only missing Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur, which we expect to enter by 2021. We are happy to work with service-oriented hospitals that aim to provide the best care possible to their patients. Our services ensure that products arrive either hygienically clean or completely sterilized to the hospital.
Q: What are the main gaps Lavartex has identified in Mexico’s hospitals and how do these influence your operations?
A: Mexico still lacks the necessary healthcare infrastructure to care for its large population. There is a wide gap between the services provided by the private and the public sectors. Moreover, the quality of service in public institutions can vary widely depending on the institution. Some federal hospitals have standards equal to those in private hospitals while some state institutions have large deficits in services and supplies, especially at the primary care level.
From the beginning, Lavartex’s goal has been to provide high-quality services comparable to those of first-rate hospitals across the globe, regardless of whether clients are in the public or private sector. Very few private hospitals in Mexico hold a Joint Commission International certification, but each day more and more are moving in that direction.
Q: How is Lavartex investing in technology to guarantee it provides high-quality services?
A: Lavartex has three core principles: safety, honesty and discipline. Our safety practices extend throughout our entire operation, from our clients to our employees. We aim to prevent all work accidents and ensure that products arrive safely and hygienically clean and/or sterilized to their destination. Lavartex is the leader in clean products for hospitals thanks to these practices and we see it as our responsibility to continue promoting the best safety standards throughout our entire distribution chain. To do so, we invest in training and certifications for our personnel to ensure they follow standard procedures. We also monitor our suppliers and only work with those we can confirm adhere to high safety standards.
Q: What technology investments set Lavartex apart from its competition?
A: While our oldest plant is 97 years old, we continuously invest in state-of-the art equipment to increase our productivity and quality of service. In 2018, we expanded our plant in Tlaxcala that now incorporates equipment comparable to that of European facilities. We are beginning to invest in the use of robots at our plants and in the digitalization of our systems, mainly at the point of delivery and in operational controls to improve customer experience. We are planning to incorporate a radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchip in all fabrics, which will greatly facilitate inventory control. At this point, 35 percent of our CAPEX covers innovation in software and hardware to improve our processes.
Q: Why is technological investment so important to Lavartex?
A: We are gradually incorporating technology into our services and processes. Companies that do not adapt will disappear. Few of our competitors are investing in this switch because most are following labor practices developed in the 1970s. Mexico is still a labor-intensive country but many industries, including automotive, aerospace and healthcare, are gradually incorporating more technology. If we do not perform this switch alongside them, we will be unable to work with them.