Data Interchange plc, provider of B2B integration solutions, has signed a contract with an NHS Trust to roll out PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) to 100 suppliers in the Trust's supply chain as a pilot programme to prove the process.
In May, Data Interchange received one of the first UK-based PEPPOL Access Point certifications, providing customers with access to the PEPPOL e-procurement community.
Commenting on the contract, Ewan Friend, managing director of Data Interchange said: "Through this pilot we will create the data we need to build a business case to demonstrate clearly that our implementation process works. We will use the data to identify the significant benefits of PEPPOL to the Trust and also to create a white paper on the advantages that PEPPOL brings to the supply chain."
With the contract signed, Data Interchange is now in the process of creating the communications to the suppliers that will be involved in the PEPPOL pilot.
Access Point certification enables buyers and suppliers to exchange PEPPOL compliant documents via the Data Interchange Dinet Integration Network with any trading partner connected to the PEPPOL network, regardless of the Access Point used. PEPPOL does not replace systems already in use – it connects them. Once linked to the PEPPOL network, buyers and their suppliers can communicate electronically.
Public sector organisations are seeking to make cost savings during the procurement process, and as a result PEPPOL is experiencing significant uptake across Europe. In the UK, the eProcurement Strategy published by the Department of Health in May 2014, requires the use of PEPPOL across the National Health Service (NHS) for all e-procurement with its suppliers.
"PEPPOL is a key enabler to unlocking the cost savings that exist in public procurement. As the first solution provider to offer a PEPPOL Access Point in the UK, this underlines our commitment to the PEPPOL initiative and the importance we play in e-procurement", commented Friend. "PEPPOL certification enables our customers to engage with a wider range of buyers, in particular governmental and public organisations."
PEPPOL, a European initiative, provides greater opportunities for supplier competition, lowering sourcing costs and enables cross-border implementation of public sector e-procurement by facilitating the pre-award and post-procurement processes. It provides trading partners with structured, standardised electronic documents and a global document exchange network of PEPPOL Access Points. Focusing on the most complex elements of e-procurement, such as the provision of e-catalogues, e-orderings and e-invoicing, these business documents can be validated and processed, using solutions implementing the mandatory PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS).