Efficient Textile Supply
Fully automated cabinet system for the dental clinic of University Witten / Herdecke
Berendsen GmbH West, based in Hagen, Germany, is a full-range textile provider for the public health sector. The company’s convenient textile rental service enables it to handle the complete washing supply of hospitals, clinics, senior citizens’ homes and the like in central Germany. Efficiency plays a key role in this context; this is why the clinic has opted for automated merchandise dispensers from Deister Electronic. The ‘Smart Cabinet System’ simplifies the handling of washing on customers’ premises, ensures transparency regarding merchandise movements and guarantees that sufficient clothing is available for all employees at all times.
Installed Smart Cabinet System in the Dental Clinic of University Witten/Herdecke
The first ‘Smart Cabinet System’ installed by Berendsen became part of the grid at the Dental Clinic of the University of Witten / Herdecke in December 2016. The clinic’s management had insisted on a fully automated cabinet system as a prerequisite for a full textile supply in the interests of a better overview of washing movements of the total of 130 employees. Since its commissioning in Witten, the ‘Smart Cabinet System’ has been operating smoothly: all employees receive a card authorizing them to withdraw articles of clothing. All they need to do is use the card to identify themselves at the dispensing cabinet, which then provides access to its contents. At the end of a work shift, the worn clothing is thrown into a chute that automatically registers the articles of clothing returned. This provides numerous benefits, as explained by Peter Kettig, who is responsible for the project at Berendsen: “The ‘Smart Cabinet System’ facilitates a functioning pool of employee clothing. Registration of the articles withdrawn and returned leads to each employee only removing the items to which he or she is entitled. Hoarding of trousers and tops is thus eliminated. In comparison with a person-related system, we have managed to drastically reduce the volume of washing made available.”
Control function with cost benefits
And what about the customer? “Customers clearly benefit as well,” says Kettig. “For one thing, the number of clothing items supplied by us declines, lowering the hiring costs for the clinic. For another, we have already registered a lower volume of disappeared clothing that needs to be financially compensated by the customer. The fewer clothing items disappear, the lower the residual value payments for the clinic. In addition, cases in which clothing items are not treated particularly gently can be identified and thus reduced accordingly. This also has a positive impact on the customer’s residual value payment. The system therefore pays off for the customer – despite the flat hire that we additionally charge on the ‘Smart Cabinet System’.”
Topless? Never again...
Do employees of the clinic also benefit from the fully automated solution? Kettig also has a positive answer to this question: “As the ‘Smart Cabinet System’ comprises a clothing pool, a new employee already receives the fitting work or divisional clothing on his or her first day at work. This is important to ensure a professional appearance. In contrast, the entire supply process for person-related clothing takes a great deal longer. During this [transitional] phase, employees need to make use of emergency solutions. This, incidentally, can also happen with systems that lack a monitoring function: whoever makes excessive use of the clothing supply will cause others to remain empty-handed.”
Here today, somewhere else tomorrow
The Dental Clinic in Witten is equipped with a total of six dispensing cabinets and one return chute cabinet from deister electronic. The cabinets are mounted between the ladies’ and gents’ change rooms, which has proved to be a practical solution for the employees. Nevertheless, the system could be relocated at any time; after all, it is extremely flexible and has a small footprint. “Only a data cable and a power outlet are needed for a cabinet that is part of the ‘Smart Cabinet System’. These are things that are quite common or standard features in any modern building these days,” explains Kettig. “This makes it very easy to increase the number of cabinets or to relocate parts of or the entire system whenever this is necessary as the workforce expands. Kettig speaks from personal experience: the number of dispensing cabinets originally planned had to be upgraded by two units at short notice. It only took half a day to set up and connect the cabinets to the IT system installed on the customer’s premises.
In response to the question as to whether he had believed the ‘Smart Cabinet System’ to be so uncomplicated, Kettig says: “Well, I’ve certainly tested and put it through its paces since February 2016. And it worked virtually from the very beginning.” He received the same information from his customer, by the way. “The Dental Clinic at the University of Witten/ Herdecke is absolutely thrilled with its installed ‘Smart Cabinet System’ from deister electronic. It operates smoothly, is disturbance-free and supplies the desired overview of work and divisional clothing needed and handled.”