NHS e-Procurement Strategy: User’s guide on Despatch Advice
The development of the NHS e-Procurement Strategy promoted by the UK Department of Health for the National Health Service continues apace. The strategic plan, involving all NHS organizations and their providers, is moving forward across all areas to come in on schedule and comply with its goals.
One new feature in the EDI-based commercial message interchange area is the publication of despatch advice (DESADV in the EDIFACT standard) specifications. However, the implementation of this message within the NHS is voluntary, it has not been introduced as mandatory.
With DESADV messages, the supply chain moves ahead in the goal of completing all phases and establishing global e-Procurement right across the supply chain.
This is a natural step for optimum information sharing and one that NHS providers, already operating with the EDI system, can implement with ease. The dispatch of e-invoices (INVOIC) and purchase orders (ORDERS) has been established so far.
Advantages of operating with a DESADV message
DESADV is one of the most extensively used messages in the logistics sector. Its function is to verify that the merchandise sent by a supplier matches the customer’s purchase order. On the one hand it is used for suppliers to inform customers of the merchandise shipping notice. On the other hand, manufacturers can send it to logistics operators to notify them of provisioning in the warehouse.
The advance shipping notice provides details on shipped content and order information. The message enhances commercial transaction traceability and optimizes the logistics chain.
In the event of its application in commercial relations between the NHS and its providers, DESADV messages give the NHS:
- Security. Make it possible to check that the goods to be received match the purchase orders. With EDI, both documents are traced, and the customer receives a notification in the event of any discrepancy.
- Make it possible to control the arrival of material, as the messages report when it will be ready for shipping or was sent.
- Warehouses and related departments can plan ahead for unloading new products if they have information to hand in advance. This powers the reception process, optimizes space, and streamlines human resource management. It also favors stock control.
- Financial control. Make it possible to control goods delivered and invoices received. The message is integrated in the procurements management information.
For NHS providers, the greatest benefits of using a DESADV message are:
- Product delivery and handling optimization thanks to faster actions as EDI automates work.
- Order delivery guarantee. Once the NHS platform receives the advance notice, the solution replies automatically with a confirmation, streamlining the process. The confirmation document is an endorsement that guarantees goods delivery.
- Cuts the collection cycle. Automating order-checking processes on the part of the customer and provider ensures faster invoice processing.
With the DESADV message, businesses will reap more short-term benefits, reducing information processing costs and powering supply chain optimization.
Prepped to implement the DESADV message
The introduction of the new message is an improvement in the logistics area, with a new functionality that automates a further part of the supply chain. As a specialist EDI provider, we can automate any message in the required format and using the communications needed in each case. We have flexible, scalable solutions that adapt to the customer’s needs and, in this specific case, to NHS requirements.
Getting in early on the e-Procurement Strategy objectives by introducing the DESADV message puts you ahead of the pack as an optimal provider to the NHS, which is on its way to full e-Procurement.
All National Health Service providers are required to operate with GDSN international standards for data synchronization, product coding, and localization and with PEPPOL for exchanging messages between providers and the NHS.
EDICOM offers a solution that guarantees full requirement compliance: we are an accredited PEPPOL access point, we have a GS1 authorized e-catalog, and we provide EDI message automation and integration services in ERPs.