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Supply Chain Transformation - Update

Friday 11 April 2014

Following our earlier update, as part of our strategic review we are now nearing completion of changes to our supply chain network.

The extension of our operational capability to incorporate a National Distribution Centre (NDC) and create a regional stock profile at our Regional Distribution Centres (RDC) will begin its final phase of implementation in May 2014.

The plan for this final phase features a gradual, managed transition to migrate the remaining products that will complete both NDC and RDC stock profiles.

New technology

The NDC features a new warehouse management system (WMS) and the depot provides a national hub for lower demand, small size or specialist products. It also incorporates cutting-edge storage solutions in the form of multiple mezzanine floors and conveyor systems, which enable efficient movement of product around the depot. In addition we have installed Kardex – a high density automated storage solution. Upon completion of the final implementation phase, Kardex along with the new WMS driven dynamic pick face will enable the storage and effective management of circa 7700 product lines.


Our existing RDCs continue to provide service featuring a regionally tailored stock profile. Your consolidated order delivery will remain, whether product is NDC or RDC based, all will be consolidated into the same delivery.

Since going live with the first NDC stocked products in October 2012 you may have noticed a few small changes:

  • In addition to our standard sized tote boxes we have introduced a new smaller tote and cardboard boxes. These alternative containers are better matched to the transportation of small product/small quantity orders.
  • We have also implemented the use of several sizes of transit bag that provide a robust but compact and light weight method of transportation within the network.
  • Products in the NDC which are available to purchase in single unit of issue will be fulfilled in this way from both our dynamic pick face and Kardex solutions. Orders for multiple quantities will be bagged before being placed in a tote.

Continued high quality service for our customers

The changes within our distribution and transport operations support our continued focus on efficiencies and quality, giving particular emphasis to how we process goods throughout our warehousing operation. This will help us to maintain a fast and reliable quality service to our customers.

Should you have any queries regarding the NDC or network in general please contact your Regional Customer Service Manager.

Delivering value to the NHS