Viewpoint: How Collaborating with Suppliers Enhances NHS Procurement

  • 22/03/2024
  • Written by Camille Grech-cini

In the world of NHS procurement, the importance of Management Information (MI) cannot be overstressed. It's not just about ticking boxes for compliance. It's about using data smartly to make a real difference in how we buy things, which in turn helps patient care by making sure we're spending public money wisely.

Our message to suppliers is simple: your data is more than just numbers to us; it's crucial for making better decisions and for the bigger picture of healthcare.

Why Data Matters

MI is key, and is at the core of what we do. It shows us how well we are doing and where we can improve. It’s not just about understanding whether we are spending money the right way. But is also about giving NHS Trusts the information they need to make smart decisions and helping us understand what the market looks like, what's new, and where we can shake things up a bit.

Data Submission: More Than Just a Box-Ticking Exercise

Supplier data doesn't just fulfil a contractual obligation; it fuels our ability to make informed, strategic decisions. From tailoring future specifications based on product performance to adjusting frameworks to better suit the evolving needs of the NHS, every data point suppliers provide is invaluable. This includes the seemingly inconsequential 'nil returns,' which are crucial for distinguishing between a lack of sales and unreported transactions.

Our How-To Guide: Making Things Easier

We know it can sometimes be complex for suppliers to provide us with the data we need. So, we listened and have created a video guide to make everything a little clearer:

This guide is a big step towards making data submission easier for our suppliers, and we're keen for you to get hands on, provide the submissions as guided and, where necessary provide feedback on anything else you need to know.

The Real Impact of Data

Our journey with MI has already started to yield significant benefits. For instance, the National Healthcare Uniforms project, which was founded and routed in supplier data, has led to the potential for substantial financial and environmental gains. But more importantly once implemented can have a real world impact on the wearers and their comfort and access to the garments they need, as well as understanding and recognition vital professions, both between professions in the wider workforce and with patients and visitors. Stories like this exemplify the transformative potential of data, underscoring the importance of every piece of information our suppliers provide.

At NOE CPC and as the provider for NHS Supply Chain: Facilities and Office Solutions, we see endless opportunities for progress and innovation in NHS procurement. Our suppliers play a crucial role in this evolution, providing the insights that fuel strategic decisions and drive efficiency. We invite our suppliers to engage with us actively. Our approach to MI and procurement is rooted in collaboration, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to patient care. By working together, we can ensure that NHS procurement processes are not only compliant and efficient but also strategically aligned with the evolving needs of healthcare provision in the UK.

We're not just asking for data because we have to. We're asking because it genuinely helps make a difference. So, thank you to all suppliers for what they what they have done so far. Let’s keep the ball rolling. Together, we're making NHS procurement better, smarter, and more effective for everyone involved.

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