Interview with Robert Borggräfe – Services Manager, University Clinic Freiburg.
Polytex: You decided to install a dispensing system from Polytex Technologies in 2012 and that makes you one of the first users in Germany. What were the reasons for you to introduce this new system?
Mr. Borggräfe: The University Clinic in Freiburg is divided into a pavilion structure. That means the clinics are split between 11 buildings on the campus. We provide around 6,000 employees with garments – some with name tags as well as pool. Each person has an individual garment stock which is usually kept in lockers. We investigated over several years and concluded that the ideal situation would be one that enables us to minimize the inventory, reduce the need to purchase garments each year whilst improving the access to clean clothes. These projects failed because there was not enough space for hanging systems and our automated transport system meant we could only transport garments folded, not on hangers. The solution came with the automated dispenser cabinet.
Polytex: As manager of all the supply services you are responsible for the garment distribution in the clinic so you are familiar with all the problems inherent to garment supply.
Herr Borggräfe: Correct – we have done everything possible to maximise efficiency within our own laundry. We invested in modern equipment, reviewed each process, cut water, energy and detergent use. We identified there was a need for further action with intelligent dispensing methods for garments because this is where big savings can be made and service improved. This is why we were on the lookout for an automation system that can be installed flexibly and makes sure there is absolute proof of what comes out of the dispenser.
Polytex: Why do you put so much emphasis on full control at the point of dispensing?
Mr Borggräfe: The dispenser is usually operated with the existing ID card which has been especially programmed. The card identified the limits each person can take. Interview with Robert Borggräfe – Services Manager, University Clinic Freiburg Practical experience with the Polytex EcoPool dispensing system Once this is reached, then that person can only get more by bringing back garments and getting a credit. This stops hoarding in its tracks. There are no more discussions about garments that have “mysteriously disappeared”. We can trace everything.
Polytex: Are there other systems that offer such control at the moment garments are taken?
Mr Borggräfe: Yes, the hanging systems also guarantee enclosed dispensing with high output speed at a central station. Here in the Freiburg clinic, we don’t have room for garment conveyors at a central point and as I mentioned our internal transport system can’t handle the pool garments on hangers. The introduction of the Polytex dispensers opened up a new opportunity: automated dispensing with a straightforward method. Other dispensers for folded garments are not suitable for our large number of garments because each item has to be registered with RFID on filling. The Polytex dispensers are filled in 20 to 25 minutes and don’t require RFID tagging.
Polytex: You purchased your first system to test how it works in practice. What are your conclusions?
Mr Borggräfe: We bought a first system as a pilot project for our kitchen staff. We wanted to see how we got on with unisex garments and how the staff managed with the new system. Prior to installing it, we had to spend around 25.000 Euro per year to replace missing garments. After well over a year in service we have not had to buy anything and it looks like that will hold true for next year as well. That means the system will have paid for itself within two years. The staff in the central canteen are very happy with it. Even temporary staff learn how to use the machine quickly and everyone has access to clean clothes whenever they need it. Die Zufriedenheit der Mitarbeiter der Zentralküche ist sehr gut.
Polytex: That means the project goes on?
Mr Borggräfe: in view of the surrounding infrastructure we have determined that the system from Polytex Technologies is the ideal approach for the Freiburg University Clinic. We will install it step by step in all of our facilities. Polytex is very fair regarding service and maintenance and that is also a very important factor.
Polytex: thanks for talking to us
Professionals confirm that the changeover to modern dispensing systems which document unequivocally each individual transaction is a good investment. The systems usually pay for themselves within 2 to 4 years and have no unwanted side effects. Cost reduction on the one side is matched by high availability and best possible space usage, making Polytex the ideal choice in many fields.