Interview With Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust: Duncan Robjohns, Senior Buyer

8th December 2021

Welcome to the eighth of Dakota’s exclusive customer interviews.

This time, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Duncan Robjohns, Senior Buyer at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, to find out how Dakota has worked with him and his Team as their incumbent printer label supplier.

Formed on 1st October 2017 as result of a merger between Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM), the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) is one of the largest acute Trusts in the UK, employing over 20,000 staff. Responsible for running a family of ten hospitals across seven separate sites, MFT provides a wide range of services, from comprehensive local general care through to highly specialised regional and national services.

Read on to find out more. 


The Team at Dakota

1. What are your main areas of responsibility within the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust?

I work within the Senior Corporate Division of MFT, managing contracts within the Estates and Facilities Team and the wider corporate structure. I am currently working on clinical waste management tenders and a decontamination tender, as well as several telephony workstreams within the Trust in order to support the Clinical and Scientific Services Division.

2. How long have you been a Dakota customer?

We have been a Dakota customer for as long as I can remember. I have worked here for ten years so the relationship with Dakota definitely pre-dates my personal purchasing experience within the Trust.

3. How did you first come into contact with Dakota?

We are a long-term Dakota customer, so I continued working with them when I took over this role to set up label orders throughout the Trust.

4. Which products are you currently using?

We currently purchase both thermal and custom labels from Dakota. 

5. How are the products used within your facility?

At MFT we use both the thermal and custom labels for sample labelling. The custom labels however have a red strip at the top of them which serve to identify high priority samples which require a rapid turnaround from our paediatric and adult A&E departments. Once the samples are received by the specimen reception department, they are loaded on to the preanalytical system in priority to non-urgent samples. This helps the labs to identify the most urgent cases so that they can be dealt with quickly, allowing care to be administered to the patient as quickly as possible. 

6. What type of product were you using before you deployed your Dakota product solution?

Before we deployed the new Dakota labelling solution we were using ‘normal’ thermal labels for the samples, however these new custom labels now help to identify critical cases for prioritisation and provide an extra layer of sample recognition. 

7. What have been the main benefits you have experienced/achieved as a result of your Dakota product solution?

The main benefit of the new solution is that high priority samples are quickly processed, helping to improve efficiencies and patient flow throughout the Trust. We are required to report 90% of all A&E samples within one hour of receipt; the introduction of the custom labels from Dakota has helped us to hit this target. This gives clinicians more time to treat patients and make informed decisions on the next steps of care, so we have achieved a much faster response to critical incidents than we were able to accomplish before. 

8. Why did you choose to work with Dakota?

As I mentioned previously, Dakota was the incumbent supplier prior to my commencing my current role, but we continue to work with Dakota because they are such a great company to work with. They worked with us to provide effective solutions to our pain points in terms of efficiency and sample throughput, whilst delivering the best value through unit cost and delivery management. 

We have a system in place with Dakota whereby they manage automatic bi-monthly deliveries of our labels which gives us peace of mind that all our wards always have the supply of labels they need. This takes away so much stress from our operational processes as it’s one less thing to think about. The delivery costs are also reduced as we have fewer product deliveries. Everything is always delivered on time to our exact requirements and specifications.

9. What are Dakota’s specific USPs?

Dakota’s main USPs are their customer service as well as their ability to offer effective solutions. Our Dakota Account Manager, Danielle Gregory, has been extremely helpful in working with us to deliver both efficiency and cost savings to the Trust.

10. Do you have any plans to extend your Dakota solution further or do you have any new applications which you are currently considering?

We don’t have any plans to extend this current solution any time soon, but should we require any additional products or solutions to any upcoming or unforeseen challenges, then Dakota will definitely be our first port of call.

11. How would you rate your experience with Dakota?

Our experience with Dakota has always been excellent and the longevity of our relationship with them is proof of that. They are really good at identifying solutions to any issues which we incur and always go the extra mile to ensure that we, as a customer, are extremely happy with the level of service which we receive. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dakota to anyone.