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David Lawson

The integrated supply chain

Background

Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) is one of the UK’s busiest and most successful foundation trusts, with a long history of clinical excellence and high quality care.

What was the problem?

GSTT had two key challenges from a hospital procurement perspective:

  • They were over-ordering - what they were buying was less than they used
  • They had an inefficient final mile in terms of their supply chain. It was efficient up to the point of the loading bay, but after that it stalled because of dysfunctional processes

In short, there was no visibility of the problems – because stock wasn’t being correctly identified, tracked and traced.

How was the problem solved?

For the last five years GSTT has focused on improving their inventory management system, using GS1 standards to identify all products. An automated inventory system has been put in place in all main theatres and wards throughout the hospital, enabling a far higher level of control and visibility.

How were GS1 standards used to help deliver the solution?

The Trust now uses GS1 barcodes and GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) to uniquely identify products. This gives them the ability to stop duplicate ordering between systems, to track and trace products and, most importantly, to measure the performance of their inventory management system.

What are the benefits?

As products are identified with GTINs, the Trust was able to streamline its ordering and inventory processes. Knowing that the GS1 barcode contains the GTIN, the batch, lot or serial number and the expiry date meant that the required information could be scanned and captured at the point of use – quickly and easily. This has saved the hospital £4 million so far, just from reducing the waste caused by over-ordering.

Read the full case study

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