One less thing to worry about
A new laundry facility, a new system for the supply of linen, and new and personalised clothing for all employees. When the Sint-Trudo Hospital in the Belgian town of Sint-Truiden switched to the laundry services of Nedlin about 2.5 years ago, there were a lot of changes. In the present day, Monique Strauven (Head of maintenance at Sint-Trudo) and Linde Van Haen (Account Manager Healthcare at Nedlin) have to laugh when they think about that challenging start. It was also the start of a very special collaboration.
What is the secret of this collaboration? “This may be a cliché, but our secret is good communication. Being able to switch gears quickly, and always talking to each other about everything”, says Monique resolutely. “Especially during the starting phase, when you are switching from one laundry facility to another, this is essential. You really have to be attuned to each other during such a crucial time, while you haven’t even worked together yet. This can be fairly challenging, for all parties involved, but soon you end up on the same page, almost automatically. Provided that everything goes well.”
A look behind the scenes
Before they got there, Sint-Trudo had to choose to work with Nedlin, and the collaboration had to be realised. Monique: “Our contract with our former laundry facility was coming to an end. Through a public tender, we started looking for a suitable new candidate. Nedlin was a candidate that other hospitals from our network, such as the Jessa Ziekenhuis in Hasselt, already had experience with. Nedlin scored excellent points for service and quality right away”, says Monique. “The test packages with bed linen and clothing that we had requested in order to compare all looked very good. But we were especially impressed after visiting the Nedlin laundry facility in Elsloo. Linde: “In a situation like that, we always invite the interested party to visit our laundry facility. Then they can see how we work with their own eyes, and make a more informed decision than when they only have a proposal on paper”. Monique: “At first, we did have some doubts about the distance. The fact that it was a Dutch, meaning a ‘foreign’ company, felt like a significant distance to us in both a literal and figurative sense, but everything turned out more than okay”. Linde: “We are active in the markets of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. So distance is not an issue for us”.
And then you decide to start working with a new laundry facility, and this change has to be implemented at a certain point. Monique: “That was such a challenge! We really needed a smooth transition. The linen from the former laundry facility has to be taken away by a certain deadline, and we needed to have the new linen at that same moment. There were about 80 containers of linen that had to be delivered and distributed over the whole hospital within one day". Linde: “We fully facilitate a transition like this for our new clients. We take a look at the logistics, identify any points of improvement, and give advice about optimisation. All of this is recorded in a plan, which will function as a roadmap for the changeover day”. Monique: “In the end, our patients didn’t even notice, and that may just have been the most important thing to us”.
New bed linen
Well, the switch wasn’t completely unnoticed. “The arrival of duvets for the patients, in the official colours of Sint-Trudo, was noticed by most people. Previously, we didn’t have duvets and fitted sheets, just an under sheet, top sheet and a bed spread. The Medideck from Nedlin isn’t just more comfortable for the patients, making the beds is also an easier and quicker process”, says Monique.
Nedlin scored excellent points for service and quality right away.
First in, first out
She continues: “Another improvement for us, is the way we receive the clean linen. With our current system, we leave the linen in the containers. We wheel these containers all the way to the beds, which is a lot less work. We work according to a ‘first in, first out’ system. With this system, we are required to use all the linen within a certain amount of time. The linen that is supplied today, will be distributed over the beds no later than tomorrow. By now we have also learned that the distance is not an issue. The bed linen is supplied three times a week, but if we have insufficient stock, extra deliveries are always possible. Work clothing for our staff is supplied by Nedlin every day. This way, we can limit the supply in our linen room, and save time and space".
Personalised work clothing
One of the most recent changes at Sint-Trudo since they started working with Nedlin, is the new work clothing for staff, and the management of this. Linde: “Sint-Trudo had problems with shortages of work clothing for staff. The previous laundry facility supplied everything by size, by department and on hangers. If there was not enough, certain sizes tended to be ‘hoarded’ by employees. There was not a lot that could be done about this. Now we have switched to a system with personalised clothing, that is supplied folded, like a package, with a number for each employee. When employees enter the dressing room, they will see their clean clothing with their own number. We work according to a 48 hour system, so the clothing that is handed in on Monday, will be back at the hospital on Wednesday”. Monique: “Furthermore, we can easily order additional clothing online, for new employees as well. We frequently receive an overview of what we still have in stock, and what needs to be ordered extra. As soon as we get below a certain minimum amount, we receive an automatic notification”. Linde: “This way, the hospital is in control of the clothing packages, but we manage the supply”. “And since we started working with the new system, no one has been ‘borrowing’ clothing from colleagues. We will know right away!” Monique adds with a smile.
At the moment, the Sint-Trudo Hospital is working on getting a JCI Accreditation. This is an international certification for hospitals in the area of quality and safety. In order to accomplish this, the hospital has to comply with a long list of quality requirements. Monique: “By now, we know that everything to do with laundry and linen has been approved. Together with Nedlin, we looked at the points that the auditors would focus on beforehand. One of the measures we have taken, is the introduction of fabric container covers, to cover clean linen. This way, we can reduce the use of plastic. This is an initiative from Nedlin". Linde: “At this point, it’s in our DNA to contribute ideas for our clients about the best and most sustainable solution”. Monique: “It is no easy task for us, within the frameworks, laws and regulations for hygiene and safety. So it’s very pleasant to have help. For us, it’s one less thing to worry about!”.