Friday, June 12, 2020

Changing Face of Retail Prompts Growth of eCommerce for NHS Health Trusts

Established Sales Platform Set to Transform PPE Supply Chains
Shipping News Feature

UK – Whilst Britain's traditional retailers struggle against the effects of the virus and the country's GDP slumped by over 20% in April, the biggest ever monthly fall since records began, there will always be some who inadvertently actually profit from the situation.

With the recent news that the UK is to order and distribute a further two billion or so items of personal protective equipment (PPE) one such is likely to be the e-commerce company Virtualstock. The platform is established in the retail sector and is used by leading UK retailers such as Kingfisher, Dixons Carphone and John Lewis to help them compete with Amazon by extending their product ranges online.

With the advent of the pandemic Virtualstock began helping NHS Trusts access supplies for free through its marketplace solution called The Edge4Health™, delivered in partnership with NHS Shared Business Services, half owned by the Department of Health. The platform currently displays over 7 million products from PPE equipment to IT equipment from over 5,000 suppliers including leading manufacturers such as Medtronic, JB-Braun and Vygon.

All suppliers on the Edge4Health are authorised by NHS Shared Business Services and have already been supplying the NHS with 140 NHS trusts out of 240 in the country are now using the catalogue solution. Prior to this crisis, Virtualstock’s wider platform with greater functionality was and is still used by 20 trusts.

The system handled £105 million of healthcare spend with a throughput of 170,000 healthcare products between February to April, and in April alone that figure was £36 million from those 20 fully integrated trusts, and now the company says it is exporting retail best practise to other NHS Trusts to transform their supply chains and provide them with access to better products.

Virtualstock has venture capital group Notion Capital as its cornerstone investor, which led the raising of £3.4 million via an Enterprise Investment Scheme two years ago when Rene Schuster, former CEO of Telefonica Deutschland was brought in as CEO.