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Leeds Teaching Hospitals - Online Procurement

Business Challenge:

a.. Improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of supply
b.. Provide management with real-time visibility into the
procurement system

Solution: SPNet developed with Sybase Enterprise Portal, Sybase
EAServer, Appeon® for PowerBuilder® and Sybase e-Biz ImpactT, and powered by
Sybase Adaptive Server® Enterprise


a.. Overall cost savings of £2.6 million to date
b.. 92% reduction in total cost per order
c.. Reduction in time spent on supply issues from 20% to less than
d.. Contract compliance and management improved by 30%
e.. Time between requisitions and purchase orders has been cut from
7 to 10 days to 3-4 hours
f.. Improved financial control to comply with audit requirements and
management information, including key performance indicators (KPI) reporting
g.. Improved requisitioning capability and with integration to
multiple systems

Industry: Healthcare

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest trust in the UK.
It provides acute services for the population of Leeds and is a regional
center for the treatment of illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. The
Trust employs more than 15,000 staff across eight sites and treats 125,000
inpatients, 65,000 day cases and 700,000 outpatients each year. Its annual
budget is more than £580 million.

"As you can imagine, the provision of supplies is crucial to this huge
organization," explains Leeds information manager, Graham Medwell. "If we do
not manage our procurement process efficiently and accurately, we could
place patients' health at risk. To cut paperwork, increase efficiency,
enforce contract compliance to realize the greatest discounts and to provide
management with accurate and timely information on procurement, we embarked
on an 'e-commerce in action' project."

Prior to this project, Leeds' procurement environment was a tangle of
inflexible, disconnected systems (some electronic, some manual), a vast
number of suppliers, and centrally and locally negotiated contracts. In
addition, Leeds had no catalog management capability. As a consequence, the
procurement system was rife with problems. For instance:

a.. there was no recording of local stock levels
b.. the procurement process relied on paper requisitions that
required manual approvals
c.. 70% of purchasing bypassed the supplies department
d.. 30% of purchasing was out of contract
e.. there was a two-week cycle time between ordering and receipt of
f.. 25% of paper invoices were inaccurate
g.. the cost of generating each order was £30

Thanks to Sybase technology, these and many other issues have been
successfully addressed. The Trust is now realizing a number of dramatic
benefits including cost savings of £2.8 million to date.

Key Requirements

After analyzing its existing procurement processes, Leeds determined
it needed an eProcurement system based on a common item catalog that would
work with its existing purchasing and finance systems-interfacing with them
but not affecting their normal operational performance.

Among the key requirements for this system were:

a.. a simple, customizable, user friendly interface
b.. the ability to provide the necessary control of purchasing
activities via tendering, contract compliance and requisitioning
c.. the ability to provide complete management information to all
levels of the organization
d.. minimal system maintenance, freeing the Supplies Department
staff to focus on getting the best contract prices for products and managing
purchase authorizations
e.. the capability to consolidate and share management information
from multiple NHS Trusts for use by strategic health authorities (SHAs) and
purchasing confederations
f.. the capability to share and consolidate information from the
different purchasing systems in use, without replacing them

Simply put, this meant the new system would have to provide a clean
catalog, automatic checks on contract compliance, automatic electronic order
status, electronic shipping notices and invoices, the ability to work with
multiple Trusts and multiple purchasing systems, and mobile access for

Leeds' initial steps in its procurement reengineering project included
the development of a catalog and a system to clean and maintain the
catalogue data. The Supplies Department also developed a database, powered
by Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, to provide management with access to
procurement information. It then developed modules, using Sybase
PowerBuilder, to enable online requisitioning, ensure contract compliance
and manage its catalogue of a half a million items. The system also provides
management information at all levels of the hierarchy from Trusts and
Departments to SHAs and Confederations.

Leeds and Sybase Collaborate to Web-Enable eProcurement System

Building on this initial work, and in collaboration with Sybase
Professional Services, Leeds expanded development to extend its eProcurement
system to the wider Leeds Teaching Hospitals user community via the Web.
This initiative led to the creation of SPNet.

"SPNet," explains Medwell, "is a total eProcurement, management
information and purchasing control system that provides automatic contract
compliance, extensive management information capabilities, a user-friendly
Webbased requisitioning module, a Trust and Confederation view of
expenditures at all levels, integration of current systems, mobile
functionality, an interface to tendering packages for contract generation
and eTrading via XML, email and autofax options.

"We looked at a number of potential partners to commercially develop
our in-house system," Medwell adds. "The objectives of the partnership were
to have greater reliability and move to a scalable e-portal solution that
would not only link our legacy systems within the Trust, but also link
multiple hospitals within a purchasing confederation or hub. Our decision to
partner with Sybase was based on the company's 20-year track record of
technology innovation, its commitment to open architecture solutions that
provide the data management and mobility necessary for today's unwired
society, and Sybase's extensive healthcare IT experience."

SPNet Architecture Built With Sybase Technology

The SPNet eProcurement architecture delivers a fully integrated and
personalized user interface. The solution gives multi-organization support
from SHAs and Confederations to Trusts, sites and departments. Figure 1
provides a functional schematic of SPNet.

Figure 1: The SPNet eProcurement architecture.

The specific Sybase technologies used to create SPNet include: Sybase
Adaptive Server Enterprise, Sybase Enteprise Portal, Appeon for
PowerBuilder, Sybase EAServer, and e-Biz Impact.

From a technical perspective, SPNet is Web-based with XML support and
integration to and from legacy systems via Sybase's integration architecture
as shown in figure 2.

Figure 2: SPNet IT infrastructure

"Using SPNet, we can now roll out electronic requisitioning across the
Trust using browser-based technology," says Medwell. "In addition to rolling
out SPNet reporting to budget holders, we are currently looking at how to
make best use of the extra facilities the new system offers to link
procurement to clinical legacy systems."

These include linking electronic patient records to products used. A
number of areas, such as Radiology, have already begun piloting the
reporting of patient data and products used in procedures via SPNet as they

"By linking patient data with the products used in a procedure," says
Radiology Superintendent, Kevin Peters, "SPNet will provide us with vital
management information. We can also ensure that the item catalog details are
synchronized between SPNet and our radiology legacy system, eliminating the
need for manual intervention in the requisitioning process."

SPNet Delivers Dramatic Results

SPNet has already delivered dramatic benefits across the NHS Trust
supply chain. It has slashed the total cost per order by 92%, dramatically
improved staff productivity, increased contract compliance and management
and provided better control over spending across the Trust.

"SPNet is part of the future for us," says Chris Slater, Leeds' Head
of Supplies. "We already use SPNet with other e-commerce initiatives and we'
ll soon be using it to link patient legacy systems throughout the Trust as
part of the organization's comprehensive e-commerce strategy. It's important
that we implement solutions that work for us now and into the future, as our
requirements and objectives evolve and mature. Thanks to Sybase technology
and support, we are confident that SPNet will continue to deliver
substantial benefits for the Trust as well as for our patients."

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