One of the more controversial areas of supply chain is data sharing – who to share with, and how much data is it appropriate to share.
But if anyone is in any doubt about the value of sharing data, Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the UK’s National Health Service has just produced some interesting figures.
In London, the NHS has saved £460m in six years – £80m last year alone – from a procurement initiative, the London Procurement Partnership, which has at its core the sharing of data.
“Leaders who think they don’t need to collaborate to procure need to think again; a failure to share procurement data and collaborate could leave suppliers free to take advantage of the NHS, and the consequent variation in prices paid by NHS organisations is unacceptable,” Sir David told the manager at the partnership’s conference last week.
The partnership now expects to return £300 million to its member health trusts over the next three years.
“The NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge to meet rising demands for healthcare, driven by an ageing population against a backdrop of tight budgetary control. All the evidence shows that collaborative procurement across the system gets better services and equipment for patients, quicker,” said Sir David.
Clearly, an organisation of the scale of the NHS has scope to produce some spectacular savings, but the lessons equally applicable across a wide range of organisations.