Digital Health · March 12, 2023

The importance of data in the procurement industry

This article originally appeared on NOECPC website linked here

Data is critical for achieving the best possible outcomes in procurement negotiations and supplier competition.

By understanding what data is available, what it means, and how to use it effectively, our category managers can make informed decisions that lead to favourable terms and conditions for our customers.

In the world of procurement, data can provide insights into supplier costs, trends, and capabilities. This information can be used to negotiate better prices, identify cost savings opportunities, and select the most qualified suppliers. Additionally, data can be used to evaluate supplier performance and assess supplier risk.

By leveraging multiple sources of data, our category managers can level the playing field with suppliers and ensure that our customers are getting the best possible value for their procurement spend. In today’s data-driven world, organisations that do not use data to inform their negotiations are at a disadvantage and are likely to overpay for goods and services.

Our NHS Supply Chain: Hotel Services Technical Services Team, utilise sales analysis and supplier intelligence, in a process used to track and understand sales data, not just with customers, but also to identify how it relates to our suppliers and their interactions with us.

In a healthcare setting, this process can be used to identify trends in customer behaviour to help us to:

  • Determine which services and products are being utilised well, and show where requirements are high or where demand is being lost
  • Identify individual customer and grouped regional patterns, specific to which products are being purchased and how often
  • Understand which products are most beneficial to healthcare professionals to ensure they have the right products and services to deliver the best care possible to patients and service users
  • Recognise areas where there is potential for fraud or abuse.


All of this intelligence can then be used to make decisions about how to allocate resources or develop product switching strategies. By understanding where and how customers are using our products, our procurement professionals can make sure that they are being used appropriately, ultimately ensuring that the patients are getting the care they need.

There are several KPIs (key performance indicators) that can be used to manage our business. The most important dashboard KPIs will vary depending on the specific business and industry, but here are a few that we track and maintain:

  1. Sales: This is one of the most important KPIs for any business. It is a measure of the total sales generated by our frameworks against all NHS organisations.
  2. Inventory: This KPI measures the level of inventory in NHS Supply Chain warehouses and suppliers’ success meeting demand.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: This KPI measures whether customers are happy with the level of service provided and monitors the resolution of any complaints submitted. This information is then used to identify trends, which are monitored by our team and discuss with suppliers if required, helping to continually improve a customer’s experience.
  4. Productivity: This KPI measures the efficiency of the business’s operations and includes procurement timelines, CRM accuracy and data accuracy.


Making sense of Big Data

“The definition of Big Data is data that contains greater variety, arriving in increasing volumes and with more velocity. This is also known as the three Vs”.  (

The NHS Supply Chain: Hotel Services dashboards are created and maintained by our specialist Technical Services Team. They utilise Power BI; on the Azure Power Platform, to regularly maintain large volumes of data, from various sources and present them in a visual way, which is easy to understand and simple for all users to filter.

Having this ability to filter such vast quantities of data in such a user-friendly platform allows our teams to understand a whole host of statistics at the click of a button. This can include large scale collective statistics such as national sales data (year on year), down to the data for one single individual product.

The possible uses of this ‘Big Data’ are limited only by the imagination of the user, for example as well as monitoring sales and service activity, our team also track areas such as savings, product switches, and internal organisational performance. Most recently we have also enabled a language cognitive service, which picks out common phrases from our customer feedback data to quickly and clearly see common themes which can be used to resolve issues much faster.