Today sees the formal start to the supplier engagement process to bring rich content onto NHS Cat. There are over 600 suppliers who are part of NHS Cat and over the course of the next 3 months each of these will be contacted and helped to provide additional content, to aid the buying decisions of the 33,000 NHS buyers who use the online procurement service.
The @UK PLC implementation team will be contacting each supplier during this time to advise on the most effective way for the supplier to showcase their products, and provide practical, hands on, help to get the content live quickly.
There are over 500,000 items in NHS Cat and it represents a significant resource for the NHS, it is planned that by September this year that the majority of these items will have images, specifications, brochures and other appropriate information on display. Once this phase is complete the team will move into supporting suppliers through the second phase of implementation – accepting electronic orders from all of the NHS Trusts in England and returning electronic orders. This second phase is planned to be complete by December 2008.
David Alexander of NHS Supply Chain said
"NHS Supply Chain has been working hard to develop new solutions for the NHS and this has been a major project for us. Displaying all NHS Supply Chain contracts and products to all NHS Trusts, and integrating the catalogue into our online ordering systems has been high on our list of priorities and is now in place. This next phase presents an enormous opportunity to our suppliers to showcase their products and contracts to the NHS in a way that has not been possible before. It represents a significant step forward in e-commerce, particularly when we move into the second phase of electronic trading later in the year."
Lyn Duncan of @UK PLC commented:
"We are delighted to be at this stage in the project, there has been an enormous amount of work done by both NHS Supply Chain and @UK in preparation for today, particularly ensuring that the supplier data is correct and loaded into the suppliers @UK web site. We have been working closely with a test group of suppliers and buyers and the initial feedback on the new service is very positive, as it provides a much more intuitive buying experience. The move to electronic orders and invoices across all 500k items is also very supportive of the Green agenda, as the majority of these transactions currently are paper based"