Last year, NHS Logistics delivered £780m of consumable items to the health service, from dressings and syringes to food and stationery. This service is to be outsourced to DHL Exel and renamed 'NHS Supply Chain', with the intention that it will continue to supply the daily product needs of more than 600 hospitals and other NHS organisations.
The NHS is famous for big numbers and NHS Logistics is no exception. Its fleet of 250 lorries makes a total of 1,200 deliveries a day and serves 10,000 delivery points from six distribution centres. Feeding this logistical challenge are some 80,000 customer ordering points, putting through 33 million orders a year from a catalogue of 51,000 product lines.
Managing director Barry Mellor knows the importance of processing those orders accurately. 'Even a 1% error rate on 33 million orders is a big number,' he says. Latest figures show 98.4% of orders were processed error-free, with more than 98% also reliably delivered within an agreed half-hour window.