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It's Time to Talk About Metrics...

Reuse is not given the priority it deserves

We’ve mentioned this notion before, that organisational sustainability and procurement strategies are lacking a focus on reuse. In this article we are going to explain some of the best practices for including reuse in strategic agendas, including how to build support for a reuse project and how to demonstrate its value.


‘If you don’t monitor it, you can’t manage it’

This quote by Peter Drucker applies to everything in organisational life, including staff attendance, energy efficiency and sales performance, as well as others. If you want to dedicate time to improving an activity, system or process, you need to start putting numbers on performance and making comparisons. When you attach a set of data to performance you can begin to benchmark progress and set upcoming targets. When you set targets and goals, people begin to act, things get done and targets get achieved.


Reuse is the same

If you’re at the start of your reuse journey and you’re still using spreadsheets and email rings, our advice to you is to start monitoring the performance of this system and reporting the benefits to senior management. This allows you to improve your processes, maximise reuse and increase participation among staff. You must do your utmost to demonstrate the value of the process.


Every transaction has value

When you reuse an asset there are 

  • procurement costs avoided because somebody didn’t buy an item,
  • carbon emissions avoided because there was no manufacturing necessary,
  • there’s avoided waste because no skip was necessary,
  • there’s avoided waste costs because nobody has to be paid to take waste away,
  • there are admin time savings because no purchase orders were drawn up and
  • there are donations to charities and enterprises which offer reputational and social benefits.


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How do we decide the values?

We take the average replacement cost in each sub category. So in the category operators chairs you might have a cost spectrum of £€$50-150. We take the average and apply that value to that category. 

The same goes for the weight (KG).


For carbon we take the value of the item and multiply this by the relevant DEFRA carbon conversion factor. 

The admin of the organisation can specify the procurement paperwork savings and they can also tweak the costs of waste disposal. 


Carbon Methodology

For avoided embedded carbon we get the value of the item and multiply it by the conversion factor to give Co2e

  1. For an item in a category - example "visitor chair". We select 10 across the price range in the category and take the mean average price.  Please bare in mind "visitor chair" is a category of furniture but sometimes they get mis categorised so there might be something that is more akin to a arm chair in that group so we do have to do some manual filtering to what we relate to a visitor chair on our customer environment. So there's room for interpretation here.

  2. Once we have find the value we can then multiply by a conversion factor from DEFRA. This is the most granular data we can find on furniture and electrical categories. If you want the conversion factor document please get in touch with daniel@warp-it.co.uk


Facilities management and procurement can benefit from the data

Staff working in FM departments are often not appreciated for the work that they do as their work is often done behind the scenes and sometimes isn’t tangible. For these professionals, monitoring the effectiveness of reuse is one way of displaying their value.


Metrics become vital to the organisation

Once you begin tracking metrics, as long as the methodology is robust and stands up to scrutiny, the data becomes an important factor in decision making. The data demonstrates the vision to bring in or improve reuse and it gives kudos to those who deserve it. Senior management will also be able to see the savings made and question ‘What on Earth were we doing before?’. This is the ideal moment to appeal to the budget-makers to get a helper, assistant, intern or apprentice to work on reuse full time, and even get some storage if the demand is there. You can also ask for money to put together for communication campaigns that will encourage more people in the organisation to start reusing assets.


Reporting benefits to staff

Reuse affects every department, and the staff who participate need to be aware of just how well they’ve done. You can feed this data back and use it to encourage further participation.


Collection of data and metrics is one of the most important tools that Warp It offers, because when data is tracked, things begin to happen, starting with buy-in. With buy-in you get participation, and with participation you can begin to maximise reuse.


5 ways data can increase reuse participation when you have robust tracking of the financial and environmental savings:

  1. Senior management are often surprised by the savings and it then becomes easier to make the business case for more investment in reuse or related projects

  2. Staff like to hear about the organisation being more effective with its resources and this becomes a good news story

  3. Monthly reports sent to senior management which gets reuse and sustainability at front of mind

  4. Great for internal competition. You can encourage departments to compete against each other for the greater good of the organisation based on trackable metrics.

  5. Great for benchmarking progress against other similar institutions



We could talk all day about the benefits of collecting metrics, but instead we recommend you look at the best performers on Warp It and the benefits they’re reaping from data collection.

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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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