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Supply Chain Resilience

As part of the NHS Family, NHS Supply Chain plays a fundamental role in supporting the NHS to ensure there is a resilient supply of safe and fit-for-purpose products. The NHS Supply Chain Resilience team was established in 2022 to mitigate and resolve day to day supply chain issues and to look at building long-term resilience that supports the growing needs of the whole system.

The Resilience function has developed in maturity and grown since it was established. The team have enabled NHS Supply Chain to move from a reactive approach to one that is controlled, with clear processes in place to strengthen resilience and manage supply disruptions. Activities that have been completed to date include:

  • Category Management Development – strengthening resilience through effective strategy design.
  • Disruption Management Development, embedding and ongoing development of a supply chain disruption management process
  • Demand Management Improvements – updated process in line with customer expectations, leading to historically low levels of demand managed products in Q4 2034/24.
  • Resilience Reporting – supply disruption dashboard recording key disruption data.

Resilience Activities

Global supply chains remain challenging due to factors such as raw material shortages, disruptions to manufacturing and transport, and geo-political events. We understand the impact this can have on frontline patient care.

We will continue to drive forward programmes to both anticipate and address issues as they arise. We will strengthen resilience across the supply chain, from the strategic sourcing decisions taken; through the day to day management of supply chains and developing the ability to derive greater insight around supply chain risk and how this may impact product availability.

Product Segmentation
To be able to better understand and identify risk that present greater clinical impact in the event of disruption, the Resilience function are collaborating with customers to pilot an approach to product segmentation by clinical risk. This involves agreeing and applying a set of metrics that can be used to assess the clinical criticality of our products. For those highly critical products, we will undertake a pilot to strengthen resilience, through enhancements to our stock policy, supply chain design, and supplier management practices, allowing resilience strategies to be deployed appropriately and proportionately.

Category Management
Cross functional teams will be supported to further strengthen resilience throughout our category management processes with the implementation of new post market assurance measures. This will be underpinned by the development of an organisation-wide capability plan, designed in collaboration with the Commercial Centre of Excellence function which will include a toolkit on disruption management.

Supply Chain Visibility
Work is ongoing to increase visibility of our upstream supply chain including product alternatives and supply chain risks. This will enable us to detect potential upcoming supply chain shocks earlier, allowing us to plan accordingly.