This is an EcoQUIP fast track project developed under the LCB-HEALTHCARE project and continued in EcoQUIP. Clean beds are seen as essential at The Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and they clean 70,000 beds each year. The hospital has ambitious targets to reduce its carbon footprint and has committed to decrease its energy use by 20% on 2008 levels by 2020. One source of energy and water use was linked to the machine for bed cleaning, which was due to be replaced in 2013. This machine was both labour intensive and inefficient in its use of energy and water. The hospital set out to identify and procure a more effective and sustainable solution.
The project adopted the Forward Commitment Procurement method. In line with the FCP approach, a cross-departmental project team was set up consisting of representatives from across the hospital including energy management, infection control, logistics, environmental affairs, contracts and of course procurement. An external facilitator from the Dutch organisation for Applied Scientific Knowledge (TNO) managed the process with the support of the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills. The team was first tasked with determining the outcome based requirement prior to undertaking a market sounding which was launched via a Prior Information Notice outlining its objectives and the timelines for awarding a contract.
The team also helped to identify the wider market by contacting other hospitals with similar needs. Six other hospitals in the Netherlands expressed an interest in the outcome of the consultation. The team also determined the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the existing solution so that this could be used for comparison with proposed new approaches.
The market consultation began with a short survey to confirm supply chain interest. A market meeting day was attended by about 60 people, representing suppliers and the other interested healthcare organisations. The purpose of the day was to provide the market with insight into the hospital’s needs, demonstrate the commitment to innovative procurement and the potentially broader demand for a solution, facilitate partnerships and consortia--‐building and discuss the process. The market meeting day gave the Erasmus MC project team confidence that there was both interest and capacity in the supply chain to deliver the specified outcomes.
A tender was launched using the competitive dialogue procedure. On the basis of the market consultation, Erasmus MC developed an innovation-friendly procurement strategy and set three objective award criteria for the new bed cleaning facility:
This was a radical change from normal procurement practice at the hospital. By making carbon footprint an award criterion Erasmus MC sent a strong signal to the market that suppliers have an important role to play in reducing embedded carbon, both in their products and their supply chain.
Eight candidates passed the pre-qualification stage and were invited to participate in the first round of the competitive dialogue. Over the dialogue period of the number of participating operators was reduced from eight to the final two who were invited to tender. The winning bid came from a Dutch SME, IMS Medical, who developed an innovative solution based on robotics technology adapted from the automotive manufacturing sector. The contract is structured in two phases with an initial demonstration period being undertaken part funded by both parties to confirm the suitability of the solution within the hospital’s operations.
Innovation often involves cross fertilisation between supply chains. In this project robotic technology, developed for car production lines, has been adopted to solve the problem of bed cleaning in hospitals. The solution was provided by a Dutch SME that combined robot‐technology from the car manufacturing industry with a patented steam nozzle. The robotic arms are programmed to ensure that the steam jets cover the whole of the bed surface. Robotics is widely used in the automotive and other industries, with an increasing number of applications in the world of healthcare.
The calculated reduction in Total Cost of Ownership is 28% and the calculated reduction in embodied carbon is 65%.
Contact the procurement project coordinator: Maarten Timmermann
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