NHS invests in supplier packaging to increase trailer fill
NHS Supply Chain has taken a unique path to optimising its product supply, following the successful launch of its new strategic sourcing programme, designed to reduce costs and deliver increased value across the healthcare supply chain.
With collaborative working and cost efficiency remaining key themes on the NHS agenda, the foundation stone of NHS Supply Chain’s strategic sourcing programme is working with suppliers to identify opportunities that drive efficiencies across the supply chain and deliver results. The programme will focus on a number of key areas, such as packaging optimisation to reduce costs and material waste, trailer fill to reduce product miles, and supply chain optimisation.
“The launch of the strategic sourcing programme follows a number of successful pilot programmes that have evidenced strong savings opportunities for suppliers,” explains Jonathan Kaye, Head of Strategic Sourcing at NHS Supply Chain. “For example, we recently worked with one supplier of clinical waste containers to redesign the packaging of a selection of their product range. This reduced packaging and transport costs by 63 per cent, as well as saving 46 tonnes of paper and a quarter of a tonne of plastic.
“It’s about delivering benefits across the board. Suppliers gain from the supply chain expertise within our business and the wider DHL to support the introduction of efficiencies that will help them reduce costs. In turn, this will help to ensure that NHS trusts who purchase from NHS Supply Chain framework agreements are working to meet their own strict savings targets.”
In addition to cost efficiencies, NHS Supply Chain’s strategic sourcing programme has the potential to deliver significant benefits in terms of sustainability. With the launch of the Department of Health’s consultation and engagement programme to develop a new Sustainable Development Strategy for 2014 – 20, this is in harmony with current government policy on carbon reduction.
“Maximising delivery capabilities will reduce vehicle miles and support carbon reduction targets, whilst cutting down on the amount of product packaging used, through packaging optimisation projects, will reduce the amount of material waste generated across the supply chain” continues Jonathan. “It’s about taking a holistic view of the supply chain and identifying where we can work together with suppliers to drive efficiencies that deliver benefits all around.
“The opportunity for suppliers to then replicate these improvements across other product areas and supply chain routes offers huge potential for suppliers to take the lead in driving efficiencies for customers.”
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”