eDirect in Focus – a project designed to enhance capability

eDirect in Focus – a project designed to enhance capability

What is eDirect?

eDirect Logo

eDirect is an established NHS Supply Chain ordering route. It enables us to offer products to the NHS not currently stocked in our warehouses. Customers order products through our catalogue that are delivered directly from the supplier. This can provide a more expedient delivery experience to our customers.

Currently, 656 customers transact with us regularly through eDirect, with over one million orders spending approximately £800 million each year. On average, 50% of total customer spend is transacted successfully through the eDirect channel.

Through the eDirect service we strive to provide efficient and speedy delivery routes of goods and services to the NHS.

What are the current challenges?

To better understand this, feedback on eDirect has been collected from a range of customer conversations with NHS Supply Chain Account Managers, Customer Service Advisors, Implementation Managers and Customer Satisfaction Survey interviews. Additionally, we ran a series of workshops to gather customer feedback and requirements of our eDirect systems.

It is clear that customers experience a variety of challenges with the eDirect ordering route. At times these challenges have knocked customer confidence in using this order channel.

As an organisation, we take customer concerns seriously and are tackling these issues as a high priority. We will work hard to find root causes so that we are able either to seek a solution or provide real world advice to our customers.

Weekly Updates

Top tips for eDirect users

Your user profile – Should you wish to amend roles or requisition points on your account please speak to your Trust Administrator.  

You can find your Trust Administrator contact details via the “My Details” section at the top of the online catalogue and ordering system page once logged in. 

Supply route indicators – eDirect products are identified with a symbol within our catalogue and ordering systems, as seen on this webpage.  

If you hover your mouse cursor over this icon in our online catalogue, the lead time you need to allow is displayed. 


Our customers have requested invoices capabable of three way matching, read about what is currently possible.

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eDirect project aim

Our aim is to ensure that we provide confidence in eDirect so that our customers can use it to its optimum, delivering the great outcomes in terms of quality, savings and service we strive for.Gayle Cooper, eDirect Customer Portfolio Project Manager

We will achieve this through a range of activities, some of which are already in progress, including:

  • Continue customer engagement to ensure that our work is driven by our customers.
  • Undertaking a root cause issue review.
  • Reviewing and changing NHS Supply Chain processes to fill in any “gaps”.
  • Making identified improvements to the online ordering experience.
  • Working with our suppliers to improve service levels and enhance total service offering.
  • Understanding how our customers own IT and Procure to Pay systems interact with NHS Supply Chain ordering systems.
  • Improving our communication channels.

The eDirect project is working in parallel with our Core Technology Refresh project, which is in itself making additional and supporting improvements to the customer experience of the eDirect as a channel. See our Useful Links 🔗 section for further information on the Core Technology Refresh project.

Working with you

From the start, we have placed the customer at the centre of our eDirect project. We have been engaging with trusts and suppliers through a series of deep dive workshops. We have delved into the good, the bad, and the indifferent perceptions of eDirect as a service. We asked our partners to identify what is the most important part of the eDirect system to improve. These sessions have been invaluable in terms of identifying and prioritising the key areas of our focus.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has paused physical meetings. However, we are continuing our discussions with our customers and suppliers over emails and in upcoming web based events.

Our customers asked questions across three key areas of eDirect:

Can suppliers be consistent with order referencing on paperwork?
Why does some of my order or delivery paperwork show a marked difference in price from that at order check out?
Where are my order email updates and communications going?
How do I know when ordering if a product is non-returnable?
Why did I not receive my full delivery when I was invoiced?
Can I have full oversight of how the supplier is managing my order and any back orders down to date level?
How are returns processed and charged?
Can NHS Supply Chain enable us to configure three way matching by trust preference, down to product level?
How can I track my order?
Can I configure our Goods Receipting by our trust preference, down to product level?
If the trust ordering system duplicates an order, can the NHS Supply Chain system spot it and delete the duplicate?
Why do the lead times on the NHS Supply Chain catalogue differ from those provided if I go direct?
Can NHS Supply Chain remove Minimum Order Values? If the answer is no, how can you improve our order experience so that we’re more aware of Minimum Order Thresholds?
Can I see the supplier’s inventory level?
How do you manage loan kits?
Can NHS Supply Chain cut off times and order batching be changed or removed? They cause us complications in terms of estimating lead times.

What is next?

Ongoing research and development across the eDirect system. We will continue to share updates and information on this page, focusing particularly on those challenging areas identified through our customer workshops. These include third party systems, returns, product codes, and order communications. To begin with, we have an update on Minimum Order Values (MOVs). See the project updates section for further information.

In the coming weeks we will be running our next series of virtual customer workshops, to share more detailed information on the eDirect developments in progress and collect even more customer feedback.

eDirect in focus - project updates


Our customers have requested invoices capabable of three way matching, read about what is currently possible.

Find out more

eDirect Order References

Why are eDirect order references sometimes missing and how can I include a local reference when ordering eDirect products?

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eDirect Product Returns

How eDirect product returns are processed and how to know if an eDirect product is non-returnable

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What receipting is possible on our systems, including eDirect, and what you can do to improve your receipting process.

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eDirect Order Cut Off Times

Why do we have eDirect cut off times? Also, a discovery across the project work and advice on meeting the order cut off.

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Batch and Serial Numbers

Current solutions to batch and serial numbers and our future development plans

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eDirect Lead Times

A look at why we have eDirect lead times and how to keep your system up to date with accurate lead time and product information.

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eDirect Price Variance and Charges

Why eDirect price variances can occur and information on charges that appear on delivery notifications.

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Minimum Order Value

Why do we have MOVs and what are we doing as part of the eDirect project?

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