Benefits of working with NHS Supply Chain
NHS Supply Chain is the national procurement organisation that provides end to end supply chain solutions for its customers.
- Products will be clinically assured so there is no need for trusts to do their own clinical evaluations thus freeing up valuable resources.
- Uses the national purchasing strength of the NHS to simplify the number of products used to deliver savings on everyday consumables and equipment which are channelled back to support other areas of work.
- Individual account plans are being developed for each trust which identifies where product savings are available.
- Consolidated deliveries of stocked and Blue Diamond (cross docked) items picked and packed for individual wards or departments.
- Consolidated weekly invoicing for trusts.
- As logistics is already paid for there is no need to set up independent contracts that will have logistics costs embedded in them.
- All sourcing of products is backed by category strategies and supplier relationship management is in place at strategic and operational levels. The NHS has input into the development of strategies through the trusted customer programmes.
- Auditable service levels managed through NHS Supply Chain for trusts.
- More effective introduction of new products into the catalogue.
NHS Supply Chain brings certain benefits to suppliers that no other route to market can provide.
These are at differing levels of maturity; however, the following are what NHS Supply Chain currently delivers for its suppliers:
- Reduced point of sales, a single route to market for suppliers instead of knocking on 240 trust doors. This is a key benefit for SMEs in particular.
- The supplier portal provides suppliers with the correct information on all orders which allows us to pay suppliers. It also allows NHS Supply Chain to invoice all customers based on suppliers’ inputs into the portal.
- Specialist procurement conversations with suppliers. The Category Tower Service Providers (CTSPs) have buying teams which have specialist knowledge of their product areas.
- Auditable inbound service levels help identify improvement areas for suppliers that can help both their business and the delivery of care to patients.
- Supply chain resilience through working with suppliers and providing them with relevant, up-to-date information on their delivery patterns. Regional distribution centres with over 9000 stocked lines which allow for increased Supply Chain resilience (stocked routes currently tracking at 98% on-time deliveries).
- Informed and developed procurement through the creation of category and sourcing strategies including input from suppliers, customers, and national bodies about market innovations as well as the inclusion of clinical evaluation in product selection. This allows NHS Supply Chain to have a high level of integrity.
- NHS Supply Chain is committed to maintaining and exceeding the government SME targets.
- This procurement model demonstrates a changing NHS Supply Chain attitude towards risk sharing through the championing of ‘take or pay’ deals that ensure true commitment e.g. the NCP procurement initiative.
- NHS Supply Chain’s SRM engagement/dialogue enables all suppliers to meet with the ‘Management’ and have discussions and engage through meetings and events. This is proving to be hugely beneficial.
What we will strive to deliver:
- Clearer route for innovative products into NHS Supply Chain through better links with national research bodies and regional networks.
- A move towards a uniform incentivised approach to Value Based Procurement across all Towers.
- A shared recognition and appreciation of the value that collaboration between NHS Supply Chain and its Suppliers can deliver. For example, this could be through working groups such as the National Wound Care Strategy and Continence, and shared understanding regarding introducing innovation into the NHS.
- A more joined-up and collaborative approach across the NHS.
Useful facts about working with NHS Supply Chain
As a supplier working or wanting to work with NHS Supply Chain, it is important that you:
- Keep a watching brief on our procurement activities through the procurement calendar*
- Attend a Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) meeting or event to gain information and build relationships*
- Work closely with the category providers*
- Provide products that meet the requirements of the product specification and are fit for purpose.
*See our Useful Links 🔗 section for more information.
Strategic Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
NHS Supply Chain SRM team play a key role in how the new NHS Supply Chain continues to develop. High on the agenda is the team’s commitment to ensuring suppliers have a good understanding of the new model, how they can get involved, ask questions in relation to any challenges or uncertainty – all to help them make well informed decisions for their business needs.
To request a meeting or for more information email
To find out what events are coming up and where suppliers can get involved, visit the events page
Frequently asked Q&As for suppliers
See our Downloads ▼ section to read out latest set of FAQs and to find out more about the new NHS Supply Chain its structure, category towers and working with us.
If you cannot find an answer to your query below please get in touch by emailing
Acronym and term buster
Working with the NHS and understanding some of the terms used can be challenging in-particular NHS Supply Chain language, See our Downloads ▼ section to download our latest acronym and term buster.
Other useful links
The Procurement and Savings Calendar will give you an overview of contract launch activity, framework renewal and mini competitions all in one place including NCP product launches. It is updated on a monthly basis.
We also create a monthly email newsletter which can be found here which includes interesting articles, updates, supplier experiences and useful information. It is available to all suppliers – to subscribe please contact:
See our Downloads ▼ section to read the Supplier Code of Conduct – all suppliers to NHS Supply Chain are required to comply with the code of conduct.