Warp It are pleased to welcome Mike Hodkinson from Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Mike is here to add some insight into why his organisation opted to improve the reuse of surplus furniture and equipment, and how it has solved some of their waste stream issues.
Like many organisations pre-reuse system, useful assets were not being managed efficiently, and opportunities were being missed. We asked Mike what was happening in their organisation specifically and he told us
‘Looking back it seems terrible to say but due to time and storage limitations, essentially, all surplus furniture was being skipped and sent to landfill’.
For any organisation doing this, it’s important to know that there is a better way, a way that helps finances, the environment and the local community.
The problem with throwing excess furniture away is that the physical potential of these items is lost, maybe forever, but certainly to the organisation. Not only could another building or department make use of them, but so could local charities or small businesses. Environmentally, sending things to landfill is a disaster, but from a social perspective, missing the opportunity to help those who need it, could be even greater.
We asked Mike how he perceived the problem, and he told us
‘I couldn’t live with myself really, because of the sheer amount of furniture that we were getting rid of. We are all taxpayers at the end of the day’.
We were curious about how it got to this point, and Mike told us
‘Perhaps it was a lack of storage. It was something that the transport team had always done’.
Fortunately their reuse system has been granted extra storage space in some recently-closed wards.
Mike and his colleagues all recognised this waste of resources, so we asked him what they did about it. He said
‘We knew we needed some kind of programme that works to document all of the surplus furniture and try to get it out there and reused. That was when we came across Warp It’.
The next step was to ask for help. Mike told us
‘We brought Warp It in to show us their service, and we chose to run with the programme’.
Making change is not so simple as signing up to a software or a programme and expecting it to just work. There needs to be policy changes, an educational marketing campaign and early adopters who can drive engagement, just to name a few essentials.
We asked Mike about the initial uptake and changes that took place. He was happy to say
‘We had support from various senior management figures and that helped us to implement it. Then we tweaked policy: Anyone who requests or tries to procure new furniture gets sent to Warp It, to check first. I talk them through how it works, how to bid for things, and also how to list surplus items that they may have themselves. It’s all been very, very positive, even though I’ve made the process almost mandatory’.
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are one of the latest organisations to join our £100k club - organisations who have made more than £100,000 total savings on Warp It.
Mike told us what he thought about Warp It and the results, stating
‘It’s great! Absolutely superb! We’ve saved a lot of money over the past three years, nearly £120,000 in fact, which speaks for itself’.
The Learning Curve
Looking back and reflecting on a project and the journey it has taken is an important part of project management, as to remain accountable and spot opportunities for future growth. We wanted to see what advice Mike would give to other organisations who are in the same position that Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust were once in.
He told us
‘Well, I’d tell them to stop throwing away assets immediately. Their next step would be to get in touch with other Trusts who have set up reuse programs. Talk to me or other Warp It members, people who have been using the service for years. If they do this, they can find out how good it is, and hear some encouraging success stories’.