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Frequently Asked Questions: e-Ordering Through the NSO Platform in Italy

28/02/2019

As of October 1, 2019, companies supplying the National Health Services (SSN) will be obliged to manage the reception of order flows in electronic mode through the NSO (Nodo Smistamento Ordini) platform. This means that public entities in the health sector will only send their orders electronically to any provider.

EDICOM is now connected to the NSO platform through its Accredited Channels, guaranteeing efficient and secure communication with the platform.

The NSO platform is intended to be the hub channel through which all orders are passed and forwarded to the respective suppliers. This way, MEF will be able to verify the relation between orders and invoices. In addition, the NSO platform validates certain aspects of the documents such as the nomenclature, integrity, the recipient’s identification code. etc…

To expand the information on the NSO and how it works, we answer some of the questions that may be asked by companies involved in this new mandatory process:

In which format should electronic orders be sent to the NSO?

Electronic order messages must be based on the European UBL PEPPOL standard. The flows are established following the BIS specifications of PEPPOL, which regulate the different procedures currently in place:

  • Ordinazione semplice: (Simple ordering) one single document, electronic order.
  • Ordinazione completa: (Full ordering) three documents, l’Ordine, la Risposta e l’Ordine di riscontro/Order, Response and Confirmation.
  • Ordinazione pre-agreed: two documents, l’Ordine pre-concordato and l’Ordine di riscontro/Preagreed Order and Confirmation Order.

EDICOM is able to transform the data corresponding to each document from the ERP to the PEPPOL format. We have been working alongside PEPPOL in Italy since 2016, with the requirement in the Emilia-Romagna region for electronic exchange of orders and despatch advices between health agencies and their suppliers.

How do we connect to the NSO platform?

Connection with the NSO platform takes place directly through protocols such as WebService or via a PEPPOL Access Point in the network. EDICOM can connect to the NSO through its Accredited Webservice Channel or as a certified PEPPOL Access Point.

Use of PEPPOL is increasingly on the rise in Europe as an effective model in communications between companies, already mandatory in countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, Belgium and Austria.

How can I manage the issuance and reception of electronic documents from the internal management system?

e-Ordering flows consist of several messages and the ERP must be ready to integrate or manage all of them. The EDICOM solution lets you work automatically with ERPs, integrating all the messages involved in the electronic order flows, including the optional response messages.

The aim of working with electronic orders is to automate the processes from the management systems, but some companies may not have the ability to work with an integrated EDI solution.

For those cases in which it is not possible to generate the messages automatically, EDICOM has devised a web solution that lets you fill in the message data online and transforms them into the format required for sending. This can be applied both to the orders and the optional responses.

How does a PEPPOL Access Point work?

Communication and exchanging PEPPOL messages can only take place between one Access Point (AP) and another. This means that senders and receivers must have an AP to operate in the PEPPOL network.

To establish communication via PEPPOL Access Point with the NSO, it is necessary to have a certified provider. EDICOM is authorized to operate in the PEPPOL infrastructure with total guarantees of security and confidentiality of information, and empowered to act as an intermediary between the hospital and the NSO and the suppliers and the NSO.

Having a PEPPOL Access Point or authorized third party enables private companies and governments in Europe to exchange all kinds of e-documents. In addition, EDICOM holds SMP (Service Metadata Publisher) certification, allowing it to manage its own identifier infrastructure in the PEPPOL network, connected to the SML (Service Metadata Locator).

Is the NSO platform up and running?

Yes, the NSO is now in the production phase. EDICOM guarantees smooth integration with the platform, thanks to our participation in the pilot project with several partners involved in the process.

Is it possible to get ahead of the 1 October start date for working with NSO?

Yes, it is possible to start working with the NSO sooner, by agreement between the hospital and the supplier. Anticipating the requirement will allow the partners time to adapt to the new procedure and benefit from the immediacy of the exchanges, the reduction of errors and savings on resources and paper costs. EDICOM is ready to begin implementing electronic order projects with the NSO.

I already have a solution for sending or receiving e-documents (Fattura PA, Fattura B2B, etc.). Can I adapt it to receive orders from hospitals?

Yes, an electronic document exchange platform can be adapted to send or receive a new file. EDICOM’s EDI platform is adapted both for sending and receiving documents through the NSO. On one hand, transforming the necessary ERP data for the electronic order schema and sending them to the NSO. And, on the other, connecting to the NSO to receive the orders and forward them to the recipient.

Our solution operates in the cloud, so it does not require any local installation by the client and both maintenance and updating of the infrastructure are carried out by our specialist teams.

Is it compulsory to send responses to purchase orders?

No. Sending response messages is not obligatory The risposta and ordine di riscontro are optional messages.

Is it possible to manage the modification of a purchase order?

Yes. If an erroneous electronic order is received, the supplier can send a modification notice to the order issuer. The issuer of the e-order must send the new substitute document.

How can I receive and integrate notifications from the NSO?

Using a solution such as EDICOM’s, all the document status notifications that are received can be automatically integrated into the ERP for quick processing in-house. If the ERP is not ready to integrate them at first, from the EDICOM platform you can manage notifications from a simple web interface.

How do I know if the e-order has been validated by the NSO?

The NSO validates all the documents it receives. If a document is not validated, it cannot be sent to the recipient. When validating an electronic order, the NSO will send a notification to the issuer and, at the same time, send a copy of the message to the Crediti Commerciali platform (PPC) along with the transaction identification or IdT. If an order has been rejected by the NSO, it will send the corresponding impossibilità notification.

How is a pre-agreed purchase order sent automatically?

In cases in which the supplier must send the electronic order, the EDI platform can take the ERP data, transform the file into the required format and send the e-order to the NSO to be forwarded to the hospital.

Is it also possible to send the DDT (despatch advice) electronically?

After rolling out e-invoicing and e-ordering, the next step will be to include the electronic despatch advice or delivery note as a mandatory message.

In technical terms, this inclusion will not entail any large investment for the companies affected, as they will already have an EDI platform for sending and receiving invoices and orders. The despatch advice requirement simply involves the inclusion of a new message to the e-platform.

In operational terms, this new e-message will increase supply chain efficiency, as its function is to check that the goods sent by the supplier match the purchase order placed by the distributor.

Would you like to find out more?


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