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Improvements to Our eDirect Back Order Management Process

16 May 2024
Supplier truck with open tailgate and parcels stacked inside

Our eDirect supply route enables us to offer products to the NHS not currently stocked in our warehouses.

This established supply route has experienced significant growth over the last 17 years and is now our largest route to market.

Customers order products through our online catalogue that are delivered directly from the supplier but invoiced through us, reducing administration for customers and suppliers.

In instances where a supplier cannot completely fulfil an order, the supplier accesses our Supplier Portal to reduce the order quantity and complete the order.

Customers then receive an automated email alerting them to the order amendment and to re-order the balance, which we know is a challenge to manage.

As part of our ongoing commitment to deliver supply chain excellence, we are expanding our existing manual back-order management process from the 10 suppliers of Cardiology and Orthopaedics products to the rest of the eDirect supplier base. This will provide a consistent service across the supply route.

How the new process will work:

  1. Our Customer Services National Admin Unit (NAU) will receive daily updates from suppliers of what they are not able to fulfil.
  1. The NAU will email customers to advise that part of the original order will not be fulfilled, providing an estimated new fulfilment date. Where orders have been placed via our online catalogue (or eDC), these emails will be issued to the person who placed the original order. Where customers order via their own Purchase to Pay (PTP) system, we will email the customer nominated requisition point contact.
  1. The NAU will then rekey the order balance through the online catalogue on behalf of the customer, eliminating the need for customer intervention and enabling better visibility of the order progress. It is intended that the new order created for the balance will reflect an accurate delivery date from the supplier, rather than the standard lead time.

The expected benefits are:

  • Improved customer experience and communication
  • Streamlined processes
  • Reduced activity for trusts
  • More efficient purchase to pay process.

When this will start to happen

We will be expanding the back-order management process via a phased rollout. Suppliers will be prioritised by sales value and number of order amendments. We anticipate it will take 12 weeks to commence this phased roll out with a target to achieve significant supplier coverage by the end of the year.

As part our supply chain strategy, our ambition is to provide a fully automated solution for a new direct shipment channel. However, this will not be possible in the short term and therefore this manual step will improve the performance of the supply chain for the NHS in the interim.

If you have any queries about the new process, please contact:

National Admin Team

0300 013 6208 extension 2182