Office furniture for new hospital persuades on all fronts
In 2018, three hospital campuses merged into a single location. The new AZ Sint-Maarten at Liersesteenweg in Mechelen spans a whopping 105,000 m2 where patients are cared for with the utmost commitment. With regards to the interior, AZ Sint Maarten could count on Pami’s office furniture. Their products persuaded with their ergonomics, look & feel and robustness. Furthermore, Pami proved to be a pro-active partner able to respond to changes without jeopardising any deadlines.
The patient comes first
On 15 October, AZ Sint-Maarten received its first patient at the new complex at Liersesteenweg. A project that took over five years and thousands of hours of meetings to build. The new hospital is a merger between three campuses in Mechelen and Duffel and emerged as a care-centered building. Technical Director Jan Claesen took on the role of project leader for its construction. “We worked on a dozen policies to formulate a concept. A key aspect was that the building had to become a truly patient-centered healing environment. One example of how we achieved this is by surrounding the building with greenery and providing six pleasant patios inside the building where patients can relax.” AZ Sint-Maarten wants to implement this green character both literally and figuratively speaking. Claesen: “We endeavoured to minimise CO2 emissions. For example, by opting for cogenerators and heat pumps.” In addition, AZ Sint-Maarten was committed to creating a pleasant work environment. “One way of doing this was to focus on the logistic processes. We minimised the walking distance for employees and provided them with all possible technology and ergonomics for them do their job optimally and guarantee the best possible patient care.”
Choosing new office furniture
An important element in ensuring ergonomics was the choice of office furniture. Which adds up in a hospital with a surface area of 105,000 m2. AZ Sint-Maarten needed 430 workstations, 900 cabinets and 600 tables. The award criteria of the public tender required a competitive price but also took the quality of the products and delivery flexibility into account. Claesen: “There were several reasons for us to commit to new products instead of recycling our existing furniture. Firstly, you want to use the momentum to avoid a mixed bag of materials and styles. On the other hand, you want to keep lead times as short as possible. The hospital had to be fully equipped, prepared and inspected to perfection to monitor patients properly from the get-go. This demanded new furniture.”
As a senior buyer, Johan Vertommen was responsible for the interior of the new building. But he was not alone. All echelons of the hospital, each with their own speciality, were represented in a workgroup tasked with assessing quotations and testing the products. “Pami won the tender because they scored well in all areas. For example, the fact that they do everything in-house, including production, was a big plus for us. After all, it is inevitable for a project of this scope to be subject to changes. It is easier to adjust course when production is done in-house. Plus, we didn't have to adhere to standard dimensions. Everything could be tailored to the space. Furthermore, their references vouched for the fact that they had kept to their agreements. This is absolutely vital in a project of this size.”
An exemplary partner
There was never a moment where Claesen or Vertommen regretted choosing Pami. Claesen: “Pami was an exemplary partner throughout the project. We had a single point of contact who consulted us on a weekly basis to ensure seamless alignment of the production schedule, delivery and installation. A challenge in its own right due to the large amount of furniture needed to populate the hospital and the wide range of contractors working on site. Plus, a lot of changes and additions had to be dealt with during the project. Pami was always on the ball and managed to deliver on time every time. Despite the fact that everything was made-to-measure.” Vertommen was also impressed with Pami’s pro-active approach. “Healthcare is our speciality, furniture is theirs. They made us aware of possibilities that we had not considered. Their height-adjustable tables are a great example. Those were not part of the original plan. But we followed their advice and now our employees are able to conduct their consultations both standing and sitting. We find that many of our people take advantage of this possibility and alternate throughout their day for better ergonomics and less back pain."
In the end, the users are the ones to make a final assessment of the products. Once again, Claesen received nothing but positive feedback. “The sturdiness, beautiful finish and modern look and feel of the furniture are all elements that were well-received by the employees. They were also very happy with the ability to adjust the height of their desks to their personal needs. To us, this is the best possible proof that Pami was the right choice”, concluded Claesen.
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