Ian Slaughter of Elcom, left, with Edd James
Ian Slaughter of ELCOM, left, with Edd James

ELCOM Systems has announced that an NHS procurement collaborative has adopted its spend management platform to achieve savings of an estimated £15 million. The Humber & North Yorkshire Procurement Collaborative is responsible for non-pay spend of £538 million of annual expenditure by three NHS trusts in the region.

The collaborative provides procurement and supply chain services to:

  • Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
  • York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

With the formation of Integrated Care Systems on 1 July 2022, the collaborative is aligned with the interests of the Humber and North Yorkshire ICS. It aims to fulfil the aim of streamlined governance and systems. It centralises procurement in a regional unit that maintains flexibility but has the buying power of a significant organisation.

Edd James, Director of Procurement at the collaborative, commented, “We were looking to improve the digitisation journey in procurement, put a system in place across the three teams, and also interface into three e-finance systems.”

To achieve the targeted savings, the collaborative turned to ELCOM Systems and its technology solutions. Presumably, this means its eProcurement solution, PECOS, which was developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

What will PECOS do?

With the organisation processing around 266,000 invoices every year currently, it hopes that PECOS will allow them to reduce that number, taking advantage of the consolidation and efficiencies the various aspects of PECOS.

PECOS drives improvements across a variety of processes, including:

  • Sourcing software for quicker supplier quotations
  • Product catalogues shared across systems
  • Integrated procurement software which can interface with finance programmes
  • Inventory management with the ability to transfer stock between hospitals
  • Electronic invoicing for sending orders and receiving invoices

James commented, “It’s always been frustrating to see our staff having the latest in tracking and delivery apps for their orders at home, yet nothing similar is available at their workplace.

“In addition, some of our suppliers are sending us ten thousand invoices per year, each of which has to be individually dealt with. Better systems will improve the ordering process, avoid duplications, provide better information and reduce ordering and invoicing requirements.

With a single cloud-based procurement solution, the collaborative can also standardise processes and gain visibility of requirements across the trusts. In turn, this should help improve purchasing power and drive cost savings.

The solution has been in place for some time, and James states, “I expect we can create major savings through these systems. I joined two years ago, and we’re already expecting £4.5m of savings this year – that’s a figure we can drive up significantly, and I’m forecasting that we will double this within the next two years, with further savings to come.”

ELCOM is driving savings across the public sector

The ELCOM spend management solution is delivering savings across the UK in the healthcare, government and education sectors. It adds The Humber & North Yorkshire Procurement Collaborative to the installation at South West London Collaborative and UCL Partners.

ELCOM has been running the Scottish Government’s PECOS P2P system since 2002 processing over £6.5bn of Scottish Public Sector spending each year.

James noted that the existence of proven references was a key factor in the selection of ELCOM. He said, “ELCOM has delivered that elsewhere, and we spoke to the Scottish Government, North Central London NHS and South West London NHS for references on the work they’ve done and the systems they’ve interfaced, to give us the confidence that they would be able to do that work. We’re looking forward to seeing the benefits of the new systems.”

Ian Slaughter, VP of Product at ELCOM, said, “The introduction of the ICS model offers health trusts the opportunity to bring procurement and supply chain functions together to assist in driving efficiency.

“We know that technology offers an opportunity to streamline and economise services. However, to date, the problem has been a lack of overarching systems which provide a modular and holistic platform from which organisations can operate.

“Our work with the Humber & North Yorkshire Procurement Collaborative will offer further demonstrations of how sourcing, procurement and inventory software can be delivered to save NHS Trusts considerable amounts of time and money – allowing resources to be better dedicated to the treatment of patients.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is another success for ELCOM. And follows its registration as a supplier on the NHS Commercial Solutions framework and G-Cloud in June last year. It is another significant win that will bring it to the attention of more NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Systems. 2024 could be a very successful year for ELCOM. It will be interesting to see what it does next. Will it seek funding for further growth? Will it look to partner with finance or other organisations to further increase its appeal?

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