Virtualstock is a fast-growing technology company providing digital solutions that enhance supply chains across retail and healthcare sectors. The business, established in 2004, works with top UK online retailers including Sainsbury’s Argos, John Lewis & Partners and Dixons Carphone plc, as well as with Kingfisher plc and Aldi.
Virtualstock’s cloud-based platform, The Edge4Health has been developed specifically for the healthcare sector and is delivered in partnership with NHS Shared Business Services (SBS). Healthcare providers realise efficiencies via the Edge4Health online catalogue, marketplace and procure-to-pay solution, and Suppliers have the opportunity to extend their product offering to NHS trusts while reducing delays in invoice payment.
The Edge4Health catalogue puts control of product and pricing data with the supplier. By uploading their catalogue onto the platform, they ensure accurate (and easily updateable) product information is always available to connected healthcare providers. Ultimately, this data accuracy means orders, receipts and invoices will match – leading to fewer exceptions, prompter payment and greater efficiencies for both suppliers and healthcare providers.
Ingenica Solutions is a leading innovator in the healthcare market. It has a proven track record in delivering IT solutions in the areas of procurement, supply chain, inventory management, and the back-office which improve financial and operational efficiencies in the NHS.
The company’s award winning Ingenica Solutions’ 360 IMPC (Inventory management & patient costing), provides a 360-degree view of cost drivers, tracking and tracing products, people and equipment in order to improve procurement and supply chain process. Unlike other solutions, it is configurable across multiple areas with different processes; flexible and scalable to meet multi-faceted, challenging clinical environments, with a proven development and functionality future roadmap.
As the first GS1 certified solution for inventory management in the NHS, fast-growing Ingenica Solutions has a majority market share. It works with more than 19 customers across the UK; boasting a reputation for quality of solution, consistent successful delivery, and excellent ROI.
The Context and Challenge
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) has a well-deserved reputation as a pioneer in procurement and supply chain management, demonstrating ground-breaking progress in adopting GS1 and supply chain technology; adhering to NHS best practice and working closely with NHS SBS Finance and Procurement services.
The trust had implemented Ingenica’s 360 IMPC solution in its most challenging and highest spend area, the theatres department. This delivered significant operational and financial efficiencies, which enabled the management, tracking and tracing of products and supplies in and out of the hospital.
The 360 IMPC solution exceeded expectations by increasing visibility of inventory, enabling effective inventory management and reducing costs, thus facilitating smarter efficient procurement and supply chain practices.
However, the point of demand systems required PHT to manage all content themselves. This was time consuming and often meant contract prices became misaligned with suppliers’ systems, resulting in invoices being put on hold, and lengthy investigations by the supplier, Trust and NHS SBS before payments were made.
The Edge4Health, delivered by Virtualstock and NHS SBS, was identified as the optimum solution to work together with Ingenica 360 IMPC to drive efficiencies throughout the procurement process, improve data accuracy and so free up resources for frontline care.
Implementation of the Edge4Health, as an interoperable, supplier-managed solution, has allowed suppliers to work in partnership with the Trust, managing its data and pricing within the platform in a highly collaborative way. This means that the approved price on the catalogue is always the price on the purchase order and resultant invoice, which significantly reduces the cost and time spent resolving invoice price holds.
Benefits to the Trust
PHT is a pathfinder trust that took the lead in implementing technology and systems, improving procurement and supply chain processes even before recent government initiatives were in place. It was therefore the natural choice to be the pilot site for the NHS SBS and Virtualstock Edge4Health solution.
Their Ingenica 360 IM project had delivered a huge change in culture, providing visibility and effective management of inventory whilst reducing costs, facilitating smarter, more efficient procurement practices, releasing clinical time to the front line and most importantly increasing patient safety.
The use of technology has also contributed to a complete re-write of internal and external policies and processes, bringing clarity and visibility to the entire supply chain.
Today the Trust continues to support and work with other trusts and stakeholders in their evaluation of solutions and shares best practice through its work with NHS Improvement and the new PTOM process, the Department of Health and Social Care and GS1.