The e-procurement strategy rolled out by the UK’s national health service (NHS) is one of Europe’s most ambitious paperless B2G projects. This also makes it an initiative with great challenges to be faced by healthcare organizations and their suppliers before the September 2018 deadline. By then, the project will be fully up and running in its three areas: the exchanging of business messages via EDI, synchronization of product data by means of Datapoolcatalogues and GTIN and GLN encoding.
The two biggest hurdles when implementing NHS e-Procurement Strategy are technical in nature. Bear in mind that the United Kingdom government intends to make all e-procurement related processes become digital. This objective will allow savings of £5000 to £8000 per hospital bed, but also requires an important technological leap by companies to fully leverage the benefits of e-procurement.
Every day, NHS suppliers exchange a large volume of documents with hospitals and public healthcare trusts. Now, these companies need to find a way to extract this information from their ERPs, transform it into the format required by the regulation and validate it for forwarding to the NHS-developed PEPPOL platform.
Moreover, this process must be carried out while attempting to maintain in-house working procedures as far as possible, so that joining the e-procurement strategy means benefits and does not undermine the company’s efficiency. In this sense, it is crucial to have a solution integrated with your ERP, automated, secure and with a demonstrated technological capacity.
Connection with the Public Sector
The second most notable challenge in NHS e-Procurement Strategy rollout is the connectivity with various public bodies. Now, businesses affected by the regulation are obliged to link up with NHS hospitals and trusts electronically. However, paperless initiatives are making headway all over the world.
This means that multinationals need to have a vision of the future and adapt technologically to achieve global connection with the public sector. In fact, the Emilia-Romagna region (Italy) has already opted for a similar initiative in the health sector. To this must be added the obligation to issue e-invoicing in several European Union and Latin American countries.
Adaptation should also be extended to the private sphere. The NHS initiative may be seen as a driver to encourage efficiency in other areas of the business. And e-procurement and electronic communications bring a raft of benefits for the B2B segment.
Integral NHS e-Procurement Strategy solution
Technology partners must meet two requirements to implement NHS e-Procurement Strategy: being accredited by PEPPOL as an Access Point and holding GS1 certification as a Datapool authorized to operate in the GDSN network.
EDICOM, in addition to these approvals, has been awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) RM3784 PEPPOL Access Point Framework Agreement. The aim of this Framework is to enable UK public sector bodies to efficiently manage the procurement of PEPPOL Access Point Services.
EDICOM has developed an integral platform that enables companies to overcome the challenges posed by this initiative. This is an international solution which integrates with the ERP, captures the data, transforms them into the PEPPOL standard and forwards them securely through the Public Administrations HUB. The process is carried out automatically and with maximum guarantees. In fact, it is subject to the 99.9%availability commitment subscribed in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Download this guide which covers the most important technical and legal aspects of the new NHS e-Procurement system, and the phases to be undertaken for optimum implementation: NHS White Paper.