NHS Supply Chain commissioned Datactics, a specialist in data quality solutions to deliver an innovative and automated solution for effective product and catalog matching, which was previously being manually performed by a number of NHS Supply Chain Research Analysts.
Datactics software standardizes terms and measurements within the data and white lists variable product descriptions, for example cotton bud = cotton applicator = q-tip.
Datactics provides NHS Supply Chain with a mechanism to infuse the expert knowledge of their data analysts into the software. Datactics Master Reference Files allows NHS Supply Chain to capture knowledge about their products and to then utilize that knowledge in their data matching processes. The matching is adaptive to the expert’s knowledge, making it iteratively better over time. This will leave the company nondependent on key specialists within the Price Matching Team as the knowledge will be captured in the software.
The solution provides various degrees of matching available to the user, exact matching, fuzzy matching, regular expressions and key word matching. These specialist matching techniques increase matching accuracy, getting the best results quicker.
NHS Supply Chain’s focus is on best value for trusts and with the ‘best guess’ feature of keyword matching, the user is provided with a choice of similar products from different suppliers therefore enabling the user to choose which one is most appropriate for the quote.
As well as the automated matching aspects of the software, there are several reporting functions that are essential to the solution. Firstly the summary report provides all matched product information for every line of data entered. Having such valuable information at their fingertips enables the price matching team to immediately inform a trust of product matches and potential cost savings opportunities. Increased response time has been instrumental in providing the trusts with an efficient and cost effective service.
The second report brings up a list of items that were in the trusts information but not found in NHS Supply Chain’s catalog. The additional items list can then be sent to the procurement team as potential new product lines to be added to the catalog. This enables NHS Supply Chain to expand its catalog for the further benefit of trusts and provide a more comprehensive service.