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Hospital Reconstruction Leads To Laundry Renovation

DOVER, Ohio -- Overcrowded ambulatory units are a problem shared by many hospitals. In 1997, Union Hospital faced this situation head on. An overload in their ambulatory unit was putting a strain on the staff, hospital facility and patients. After weighing their options, hospital management decided to expand the ambulatory unit. But expanding the unit meant other challenges for the hospital. The new unit was to be constructed on what was then the laundry’s roof, making it a two-story building. However, before construction began, the hospital’s laundry needed to be shut down since laundry ventilation shafts for dryers, ironers and washers was located on the roof of the building.

The hospital management team was left with no other option but to outsource their laundry services until the new unit was completed. After taking bids from commercial facilities, the 102-bed hospital decided to send their goods to a nearby hospital for processing. “We thought that the quality of service would be better at a hospital than at a commercial facility,” said Paul Creighton, Union Hospital’s manager of environmental services and sterile processing. “In fact, they took on a couple of our employees to help with processing the goods.”

After nine months, the ambulatory care expansion project was complete and the hospital management faced yet another challenge – continue to outsource or build a new laundry with new equipment. “We decided to build ourselves a new laundry,” said Creighton. “We felt that if we brought the operation back in-house we'd have better control over the quality of our product. Plus, it was costing us about ten cents a pound more than we would have spent if we processed the goods in-house. Our machinery was still working but it was about 30-years-old. So we budgeted funds to purchase new machinery and phase it into a new laundry during the span of four years.”

New equipment that was purchased for the laundry included two 400 pound Braun Top-Side Loaders, one 200-pound Braun Washer, two 100-pound Huebsch Dryers, and a Braun Sigma Small Piece Folder. The laundry carried over a fairly new Braun Omega Folder Cross Folder, a Rapistan overhead conveyor system and their Maxi Mover and Metro carts. Additionally, a TEA Water Tank System was purchased to fill the new washers.

Halfway through the updating of the laundry the hospital began plans for a sixty-bed expansion which would add private rooms. At that time a Braun Alpha Spreader and a three-roll Braun Delta Ironer were added since management decided it was necessary to speed up production and accommodate the extra demand.

Once completed, the laundry upgrades began producing dividends immediately. Not only were they maintaining the level of quality they required, Union Hospital’s laundry now had the capacity to keep up with higher linen demand and an annual poundage output that jumped from 750,000 pounds to 1,092,000 pounds.

“With the new and additional equipment we didn’t even need to add hours. Presently we operate from 3 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Friday and we have one person working five hours on Saturday and Sunday just doing pickup and delivery,” said Creighton. “The number of full-time equivalent employees was 8.5 and with the increase in volume they’ve gone to ten.”

Now, with the ambulatory care and in-house patient bed expansion complete, Union Hospital’s laundry renovation is viewed as a necessary and successful project that enables the hospital to handle more patients more efficiently, with the flexibility of an in-house operation, prepared for future growth.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Sodexo Laundry Services Technology Recognized By CIO Magazine

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — An innovative use of computer technology that increases operational efficiency by providing key metrics for its commercial laundry operations and has saved more than $100,000 since its implementation has earned Sodexo, Inc. IDG’s CIO magazine’s 2010 CIO 100 Award. The award recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology (IT). Sodexo’s Laundries Dashboard is a central decision-support tool that combines information from multiple systems to monitor core processes in Laundry and Linen Services businesses.

The dashboard presents Sodexo leadership and field management with key metrics in a customized, easy to use presentation. The dashboard uses Pureshare® Active-Metrics® software to gather and display appropriate information in the form of metrics for each level of management; the metrics are used to make business decisions. Because the dashboard is web-based, it can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. It also sends realtime email alerts that enable management to resolve operational issues immediately. Sodexo’s Laundries Dashboard allows for the effective management of critical areas as well as providing detailed analysis and comparisons.