The latest company news from NHS Supply Chain

Company news

NHS Supply Chain - Championing SMEs

Wednesday 20 August 2014

One of NHS Supply Chain’s priorities is to improve SME engagement with the NHS. We understand, from our direct experience, the benefits that these SME suppliers can bring to the NHS in terms of savings delivery, innovative and cost effective products and services.

Current records show that 79% of all our contracts include SMEs as awarded suppliers and SMEs represent 27% of sales across NHS Supply Chain’s full contract portfolio. To put this in context, the government has an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium sized businesses and we have worked with NHS Trusts in the North West to analyse their spend through NHS Supply Chain to assist them with their reporting against this aspiration.

This level of SME engagement has been driven by our SME Special Interest Group (SIG) which is tasked with identifying and driving successful opportunities for SME engagement and to learn from the experiences of other industries and organisations outside the NHS. The objective is to enable suppliers’ equal access, regardless of size, to both NHS Supply Chain and the NHS.  The SIG developed a detailed action plan, which has defined best practice and has been adopted as business as usual by the NHS Supply Chain contracting activity. Elements on the action plan include training and guidance for SMEs on answering tenders, improved visibility of forthcoming tenders, reduction in data duplication and more accurate sales forecasting.

As local sourcing and sustainability issues become increasingly important for the NHS, we also work with trusts to help them meet their own local targets around areas such as use of local suppliers. For example, we have established a network of approximately 30 regional and local SMEs delivering locally sourced fresh produce to hospitals in their vicinity through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Framework. We also have a framework agreement in place for meat and poultry with a similar number of regional SMEs and a milk, dairy and bread framework agreement with a network of over 20 SMEs supplying local hospitals.

The NHS Supply Chain model enables SMEs to gain access to the NHS market. We are continuously looking to improve our engagement with SMEs with the ultimate aim of ‘Championing SMEs to bring innovative and cost effective products and services to the NHS.’

Delivering value to the NHS