Higher Intelligence, Better Purchasing
In the drive to minimise expenditure while maintaining service, the NHS faces some big challenges. A massive area for potential efficiency gains is in eProcurement, where the implementation of integrated, web-based purchasing systems can generate huge savings in both time and cost. These systems can also be used in conjunction with advanced Business Intelligence tools to enable better decision making, based on accurate, real-time data. The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust (UHNS) is enjoying these benefits by extending its Integra Financials and eSeries implementation to include the Integra eSeries e-Requisitioning system and Integra Business Intelligence (IBI). The Supplies and Procurement (S&P) Department of UHNS provides procurement and systems support to five organisations, including the main University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, North Staffordshire PCT and Stoke-on-Trent PCT. In terms of non-stock products (lines not available via NHS Supply Chain), the department raises around 33,500 order lines, with an annual spend of around £68million. This covers just about anything used in the hospitals, from medical equipment and stationery through to uniforms and cleaning products.
Streamlining Processes with P2P
In order to increase efficiency and lower the costs associated with purchasing, the UHNS S&P team recently rolled out Integra eSeries and Integra Purchase to Pay to enable seamless eProcurement across all its organisations. Gareth Baddley from the UHNS S&P Systems Department says, “As a result, everything we order, in terms of non-stock lines, is now requested electronically and processed through the Integra web basket. In just a few months, the group has achieved electronic processing for 92.7% of all requisitions, with more than 400 requisition access points and over 550 live requisitioners across the organisations. This has been a great achievement and has resulted in time and cost savings across the group. For example, enabling online internal order authorisations has saved over 25,000 sheets of paper per annum.” The S&P team is now focused on increasing the percentage of electronic requisitions even further. “Being on a split site means that people are very highly motivated to enable online authorisations,” says Gareth, adding, “It was not unknown for people to have to get the bus from one site to another simply to get a purchase order signed off. “As everyone’s roles become busier, an application like this that makes their job easier is exactly what they want. It has also given managers much better control over their authorisations. They can access everything that is waiting on them at an appropriate time, and they can use the other integrated systems and Business Intelligence reports to make better and more informed decisions about purchases.” eProcurement also enables the UHNS S&P team to be better prepared when negotiating costs with suppliers. “It is now very easy to get key information out of the system covering expected demand and potential peaks and troughs. We can then use this information to get the best deal possible from suppliers,” explains Gareth.
Improving with Intelligence
UHNS has also recently implemented Integra Business Intelligence (IBI), and Gareth has worked extensively with the system to enable rapid and positive benefits. “Before we implemented IBI, we were getting constant requests for reports and other procurement related information. “This meant that we had a multitude of tailored reports created for specific requirements without ever providing exactly what each person required. IBI has given people the ability to obtain this information themselves, quickly, easily and accurately. “IBI provides the master report, and it is very easy for people to take this and add the specific information they are looking for. This has saved a lot of time, both for our department and for the people requesting reports. It means they have the information to hand when they need it, and allows them to act upon it promptly and with more certainty of the timeliness and accuracy of the information.” The group has also benefited from the extensive use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Gareth explains, “The KPIs provide an easy-to-access and easy-to-interpret snapshot of what we are achieving as an organisation. “We use them to monitor progress of all kinds of activities and can generate answers to key questions, such as how many people are using eRequisitions, in seconds. The system also allows us to drill down into the graphics within the KPI dashboard, so we can see immediately where the information is coming from and act on it accordingly.”
Gareth is delighted that IBI is used extensively across the organisation. “The finance departments in each of the trusts are using the BI tool, and all the people in the procurement team have access to it for spend reports and anything else they need. “It is a powerful tool that gives us a graphical representation of key areas of financial and procurement operation, which makes everyone’s jobs easier and more effective. It gives people the power to make better decisions, and this has been appreciated across all the trusts.” He continues, “As part of the overall eSeries system, IBI is fully integrated with the entire Integra Financials solution. Its greatest benefit to us is the huge amount of time it saves people who are trying to get the right information they need from the system. “It makes the task of gathering data and monitoring progress far more efficient, and allows people to display and distribute information much more professionally. An integrated, accurate and real-time graphical report is much better than an isolated spreadsheet, which is probably out-of-date before it is even sent.” In addition to time saving, IBI provides the trust with other important benefits. The greater data integrity and accurate transactional history information enables more accurate forecasting, which leads to better inventory management. It also serves as an important management tool, enabling the trust to measure performance of individuals, teams and departments.
Gareth Baddley says, “Meeting the purchasing demands of the trusts is a continuous, complex and demanding task. Integra, with its range of integrated financial solutions, goes a long way to helping us deliver a first class service to the group. “The new P2P process and IBI application have added a new dimension in terms of efficiency and cost savings, and we look forward to extending the systems as new trusts come on board.“ He concludes, “We work in partnership with IBSS, and the knowledge, experience and support of their consultants is invaluable in allowing us to achieve our objectives. We aim to support our own customers as effectively as possible, and Integra gives us the products and services to help us make this happen.”
- 92.7% (and rising) electronic purchasing requisitions
- Saving 25,000 sheets of paper per annum
- Fast and timely order authorisation
- Seamless integration with core financial systems
- Increased data integrity
- Fast, accurate reporting enables better decision making
- Support team released from handling day-to-day reporting requirements
- Graphical dashboard for KPIs enables full process visibility
- Improved inventory management and forecasting
- Enables better price negotiations with suppliers