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Should Procurement take a bigger role in reuse ? (Yes!) with Andy Hay, NHS Tayside

Let’s give a big hand to Andy Hay from NHS Tayside, who has joined us to talk about exactly why it’s simple math for procurement professionals to lead on reuse of furniture, equipment and supplies in institutions.

We talk:

  • Sustainable healthcare.
  • Why procurement should take an active part in encouraging reuse in an organisation.
  • How they have made procurement savings of over £210K on a £10K investment.

We’re really pleased to share this conversation with you, as well as some of the great things that Andy has told us in the past about reuse at NHS Tayside.

Read on as Daniel (in bold) talks procurement with Andy.

Andy. I talk to some procurement managers who do not see encouraging reuse as something procurement should even get involved in. Some procurement managers aren’t as enlightened as you and Molly Kerr from City of Edinburgh Council (Case study), Or Kirsty Hughes from Heriot Watt Uni (Interview)  for example, so how can I talk the talk about reuse? For example, why would procurement people be interested in setting up a reuse platform?

The cost avoidance numbers are really key. Capturing procurement savings is important, so you need to properly embed reuse to show the true savings and return on investment to win support.

Sometimes the procurement manager says to me it’s not their responsibility to reduce procurement. Obviously I’m left scratching my head…

To me, it is a part of the procurement journey. The mantra of the Scottish government and their procurement journey is ‘do you really need to buy it?’, so from that point of view, the buyer has ultimate responsibility over that. They shouldn’t be buying things blindly when there are opportunities to reuse and repair assets. In an ideal world these opportunities will always be there, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. The issue occurs when procurement professionals don’t consider alternative avenues.

What’s better in your opinion, guidance or regulation?

Great question Daniel! Procurement is guidance, but sustainability is down to regulation. In the wider picture of procurement, the buyer needs to practice sustainability that goes beyond just regulation. For larger procurement deals you are almost duty bound to demonstrate sustainability and capture the evidence. Anyone in procurement who tries to argue that reuse is not their responsibility should look at point number one of the procurement roadmap - don’t buy if you don’t need to. Plus, tell them to think of all the cost avoidance opportunities!


Do you think that in our discussions with procurement managers we should focus on cost avoidance whilst addressing the first rule of procurement?

Honestly, if a procurement manager is not supportive of reuse, I would say that they are afraid of culture change. Perhaps they are worried that if people stop buying tables and chairs new then it might affect supplier contracts. It also requires a lot of collaboration to introduce reuse, so there could be other motivations, or a lack of motivation for change.


Andy has been a supporter of Warp It from very early on- adopting circular procurement before anyone was talking about it; here are some of the tips he has shared with us in the past.

Highlighting the need for departments to work together

“Warp it is owned by Procurement, but Facilities are really the key players in making it a success and they have been great.”

There has to be somebody willing to take the lead

“I think I am the “Warp-it Guy” (amongst other things), our chairman supports this and we have exec support – this makes a big difference. Success does not happen overnight. It takes time and patience to change behaviour in large organisations.”

“It took a wee while to get going but now we have reached a kind of critical mass with people wanting to use it and avoid buying new. Sharing with public sector partners too has been a great opportunity  to feel part of something bigger”



NHS Tayside.png

Savings made since joining Warp-it to January 2018.  See here for up to date figures.


Hinting at the need to overcome cultural practices

“Fear of giving stuff away is one of the most challenging issues. It doesn’t feel natural to public sector budget holders, but throwing stuff away is worse!”

Highlighting some of the benefits

“The system lets people do the sharing without needing a matchmaker, or a warehouse. It shows that we intend to reuse which is a key part of the Procurement Journey. When staff want to buy something we want them to think ‘Do I need to buy this in the first place?’”

“The system has great Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the User Interface is nice and clean.”

Thanks for sharing Andy!

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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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