Good question! Thanks to a very fruitful business meeting recently, we have come up with three reasons why procurement should lead on the reuse of surplus assets.
This article comes after a very interesting implementation meeting for our software with Rotherham and Doncaster NHS in the UK Health sector. The meeting was attended by the waste manager, the head of procurement, the head of capital development, the head of facilities, and a couple of other interested parties.
Without further delay, here are our three top tips
Tip 1 - Procurement and waste are linked
The waste manager asked us: “Who should lead on reuse?”. Our response: “Usually our standard answer is sustainability, procurement, waste or facilities. But, because it’s really a collaboration between all of these departments, it can be whoever wants it the most”. The waste manager thought for a moment, and then he added: “If we badge our reuse programme as something led by waste, or by myself as the waste manager, then it gets badged as the back end, or the wrong end of reuse. Reuse needs to be tackled earlier because when an asset becomes waste it is already too late. It has been assigned to disposal. Reusuable assets in the skip or dumpster is a sign of a broken system- a sign of a broken procurement system”.
Advice: Procurement should lead on waste because they buy in the new equipment and have the most influence in replacing new purchases with reused items.
Tip 2 - No purchase orders
If you reuse an asset internally, you stop somebody buying a new asset, by transferring ownership to another person. On the other side, the disposer gets rid of an unwanted item without adding to the waste pile. Separate from these two people is the person sat in procurement who doesn’t have to search and procure a new item, fill out paperwork or get on the phone. Time is saved by all parties. No purchase orders!
Advice: Procurement should lead on reuse because it’s a massive time saving activity and will make their jobs a lot easier once employees embrace the change within the organisation.
Tip 3 - Pre-loved and pre-owned
The waste manager we mentioned before said “There’s this negative connotation with waste. People are usually happy to take a secondhand item, but they hate associating it as being someone else’s waste. They prefer to think of it as something pre-loved or pre-owned”.
Advice: Procurement should lead on reuse because once they can change the mindset of the organisation to stop seeing surplus assets as something dirty or unwanted, and they start seeing it as pre-loved, they’re going to get a much greater buy-in. This mentality will spread into other areas of the business and is great for resourcefulness.