NHS Supply Chain 'delivers' with CONNX

Delivering 31 million lines with 80,000 order points is a substantial logistical operation. NHS Supply Chain is proud to be at the forefront of what it does. This has been achieved by delivering the infrastructure to support business needs through innovation and enhanced business process. Availability, easy ordering and of course reliable fulfilment are of paramount importance to customers. The Information Systems team has had to continually forecast functionality and capacity to ensure that their systems are capable of supporting the innovative initiatives.

The Business Challenge

This growth in total transactions is exacerbated by a weekly peak of orders received, fulfilled and delivered.

The requirement for additional sophistication and performance to handle the increase in On-line Ordering meant something had to be done so they weren’t caught out by their own success.

Meeting the fulfilment demand was planned using Voice Activated Picking requiring Direct Data Integration to the existing Warehouse Management System.

With this as a background the team faced the challenge of grooming their core systems for the future.

The project had to be achieved in a low risk and manageable way with no loss of service. The extensive distributed reach of the applications demanded a seamless solution with low re-training overhead.

The business systems have been built on a cluster of HP OpenVMS servers which provide the scalability and high availability required in such a 24×7 logistics environment. At the core are the customer facing applications: On-line ordering, Electronic Data Capture with hand held devices and Home delivery service.

Customers access these via a Portal.

NHS Supply Chain had many things in their favour:

  • Thorough knowledge of their systems
  • Control of business critical elements
  • Experience and knowledge
  • Team stability
  • Development of in-house expertise,
  • Enthusiasm-Innovative philosophy.

These strengths are good for business and motivate staff.

The Solution

David Rabjohns, Information Systems Manager for NHS Supply Chain:

“We had looked at CONNX some time ago but for various reasons opted for an alternative low cost solution.

As our requirements became more sophisticated and performance more critical it became clear that a major rethink was needed.

We evaluated various options including competitors of CONNX. We chose CONNX because it provided the essential high-end performance and in addition we felt very comfortable with the easy to use interface. We were up and running seeing our own data within 10 minutes of downloading and installing CONNX. Generix provided Web based assistance which guaranteed a speedy installation.”

”We consider the ease of installation and no on-site requirement a major benefit.”

CONNX Product Manager Anthony Lightfoot:

“We have never needed to go onsite to install or support CONNX, but are happy to do so if requested by customers.”

David continues “We felt that we could go to the business with CONNX as a proposed solution to access our data and be confident that CONNX would provide the capacity and service level required to ensure the business stays ahead of demand and needs.”

Benefits Achieved

  • CONNX provides a seamless way to keep data in sync without disrupting the business.
  • CONNX enables Voice activated picking in a real time environment, speeding up the process with fewer errors and improved responsiveness.
  • CONNX replaced the need to learn low level API programming.
  • CONNX enables NHS SC to retain the investment in their existing business systems.
  • CONNX provides High Performance and cost effectiveness.

The Future

Additional ways of using CONNX are still being discovered, providing even greater value than originally anticipated. CONNX is helping to meet the ongoing demands of the business by using in-house knowledge and skills with current technologies.

CONNX is already Integrity ready. This means that any future plans are already accommodated.

“Support from Generix has been excellent. Any issues have been resolved quickly and accurately. Whenever we have had any problems the support specialists have been easy to contact and proactive in making sure our questions were answered promptly. We feel that we have a good partnership approach with Generix who were keen to understand our requirements and environment.”

- David Rabjohns, Information Systems Manager for NHS Supply Chain

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