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Reuse of Surplus Assets and Furniture in Healthcare, NHS Humberside



Warp It are pleased to welcome Alex Fowler (Environmental / Sustainability Manager) from the Humber NHS Foundation Trust to talk about his rollout and implementation of their new reuse program; The Warp It system. They are just a couple of months into this project and are already enjoying the benefits that it brings.

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After less than 12 months of operation NHS Humber have smashed their targets. To see up to date savings for this project please see here.



This interview took place in the early summer of 2017

Hi Alex, jumping straight in, you’ve really impressed us here not only by how quickly you’ve rolled Warp It out, but by how you’ve built momentum in such a short amount of time. How did you manage that?

Well when I was thinking about going with Warp It, I raised the idea with the Chief Executive and Chair of the Board. They gave their verbal approvals straight away, and then I went for it. I got the right people in a room, so, procurement, hotel services, facilities, and one of the staff governors who was really keen to run with the idea. Having the top down approval put everything into place because everyone was already onboard. Once the senior level start pushing it, you can’t really stop it, so that was a big help. We can move qjuickly in healthcare when we we see obvious benefits!

It sounds like the senior figures didn’t need much persuasion, how did you approach them?

I showed them where we had been wasting disposal money and produced some figures on what the organisation could save through reuse of furniture, plus some case studies from other organisations. I met with a governor and the Chair of the Board, and then the Chief Executive and I just ran through everything with them.

 Tell us how you used a Gantt chart to begin the rollout?

Well, when I first looked at the guide to embed Warp It, I was a little overwhelmed. I read through each section and ticked off the things I’d already done. Then I looked at everything that was remaining, and it was quite a lot, so I put it into a colour coded Gantt chart. I colour coded each section down the side, and I gave myself a time limit for each one. I put four weeks along the top of the spreadsheet and used it that way. Doing that I could easily visualise where I was heading and what I was supposed to be doing.

Editors note: We actually nicked Alex's idea to improve our on boarding experience. You can download it here or by clicking below.

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What do you think about the initial savings in the first couple of months since launching?

I’m surprised. I’m very surprised at how much we’ve saved, not just money-wise but also on carbon reductions. After just eight days I think we’d saved £4,000 and two tonnes of carbon. Being able to visualise that is really great for the project. We’re a small trust though, and not on the carbon reduction commitment, so it’s more just something we want to do and track. We don’t want to waste any NHS money or see useful things go to waste, so that’s a big thing for all of us here.

You put together a video for your communications, we’ve seen that idea implemented once before. What was the reasoning behind that?

To be honest I thought there’d be more people doing it. As a Trust, I think it’s something that we’ve been pushing to communications anyway. They mentioned doing a vlog, and there were some eccentric ideas for how we could make it exciting, but in the end we kept it simple and went through what the system does, and introducing it to the staff that will use it. We filmed it on an iPad, and I was pretty nervous. I was reading some bullet points that I’d written down. I think with a video as opposed to text, it reduced the chance of staff just glancing over it and not being interested. Having something to watch is a good use of five minutes and is something a bit different.

You told us that ‘Warp It runs itself’, which we are very pleased to hear. Can you expand on that?

Well, once you get the hard part out of the way, onboarding people, solidifying policies, going through the embed guide etc, it’s just about getting the system working for you. When it’s released into the wild and the emails are all setup properly to give people instructions about how to collect or send smaller items, how to post stuff, different estates and connecting it with removal companies, you don’t get any phone calls after that because the automation takes care of it.

You’ve done a great job in rolling it out so quickly, do you have any tips you can share?

Set it up properly and get buy in from senior management. If you’ve got a storage area you can use, make use of it, and when launching Warp It, try and have as much stuff listed on there as possible, so people can have a look around at examples. If I could go back to the start, I’d put even more stuff on there.

What was the point you realised you could benefit from Warp It?

We had a few ward closures and office closures and it was my job to swap and change equipment. There was a problem with some of the beds, so I had to swap the non-compliant ones for compliant ones from another ward. I was looking at all the stuff and asking myself how I could monitor it. I could have done a huge spreadsheet but it would have been very time-consuming, and then I remembered our conversation and found an email address to get back in touch.

What are your future plans for Warp It?

We want to see how the year goes. We have a target of more than £20,000, which I think we’re going to smash (Since this interview Alex has smashed his target!), and we’ve got an intranet page as well which allows people to view and monitor the progress. But that’s just keeping on top of things. One of our big plans is to start selling items and having a charity arm as well, so we can donate items to the local charities that we like.

And the most important people- the staff- what do they think?

We've had some good feedback. 

Being able to re-issue unwanted goods across the trust is amazing! I'm not a fan of waste and this ticks all my boxes! Having worked for the trust for 25 years I have seen a lot of waste and this system is brilliant! Well done whoever came up with the idea - wish we had been doing this years ago!!

Judi Cole

And my personal favourite which sums up how we are over here on the East Coast of Yorkshire:

I needed chairs....there were chairs.

Thank you very much for sharing all of that great information Alex.

 If you would like to  share your experiences about your reuse journey then how about we have  chat and produce an article so that we can share our learning? No need to be a Warp It customer- just get in touch by clicking the image below. 

reuse focus case study


Here's another Warp It hack

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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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