Exodus Market Research
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Door Step Marketing
MRS Partner
NHS Supplier Best Value Research

Questions and answers about the NHS procurement savings project

Who is the audience for this research?

We suggest that your key 100, 200 or 300 suppliers are contacted but are happy to discuss alternatives (for example you may want to ask your top 50 suppliers some additional questions). We would expect that your systems would be able to identify the key suppliers by spend (or however you choose to identify these). It may be the case that supplier contact details will be needed to be updated from that held on accounts systems and we will undertake this as part of the service providing you with clean data at the end of the project.

How many suppliers can I contact?

It’s up to you. The example we have used with Chelsea and Westminster involved up to 300 key suppliers by spend and additional questions for the top 50. However you may want to target your research in a different way or may have local considerations (such as the ability of your purchasing or accounts department to process invoices and payments differently) that influence your choice of suppliers selected.

What questions are asked of my suppliers?

Again this is something that we would discuss with you. The survey could include questions on; supplier’s willingness to discount for advantageous payment terms, delivery charges & savings and efficiencies, payment by purchasing card/visa, electronic ordering, use of e-catalogues and other suggestions that suppliers may have for working better with your organisation. To some extent these may depend on the state of development of your organisation in respect of being able to implement these or other procedural changes – but you could also commission this research to demonstrate a business case for a review of your procedures or approach if it demonstrated potential savings.

Can I change some of the questions or add others to suit my organisations circumstances?

Yes – it’s your project and you may want to approach the supplier base with different questions or an alternative approach. It may be the case that you want to focus in a particular area such as commissioning or infrastructure services or have specific contracts that you wish to concentrate on – we are happy to develop the project in a way that meets your needs.

Who needs to be involved from my organisation?

We would anticipate that in addition to the procurement department that some input and buy- in would be needed by your account’s department if alternative payment structures are proposed to suppliers. If you have decided that you would like to investigate efficiencies and savings that can be derived in other ways then this may involve other personnel at your organisation. However, Exodus Research staff will be proactive and diligent in working independently to keep your time and involvement to a minimum whilst making sure we keep you informed on a regular basis.

What savings can I hope to achieve?

The research conducted in Chelsea & Westminster generated stated savings that could be achieved in excess of £250,000 a year from the suppliers surveyed. To a large extent the savings and efficiencies that you may achieve will depend on what agreement can be reached with your suppliers and what you are considering in terms of procedural changes or new ways of working with suppliers.

How will suppliers be communicated with?

We will contact the suppliers by telephone initially to identify the correct contact, explain the objectives of the research and update their details in the database. This will be based on the information that is supplied by your organisation but we are aware that many contacts may be incomplete or out of date. Suppliers will be emailed with a communication from your organisation explaining the project and explaining why this process can benefit the supplier and yourselves. The supplier will be able to complete an online questionnaire with a unique access code (or hard copy questionnaire if you prefer) in order to take part in the research. Exodus staff will do all the liaison and communicating with the suppliers including reminders and dealing with any queries.

How can we and our suppliers be sure that any information provided will be confidential?

Exodus Market Research is a full member of the Market Research Society (MRS) and abides by the MRS Code of Conduct and relevant legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998. We have been handling commercial and sensitive information from suppliers since 1997 as a research contractor for the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and have always maintained the highest standards in respect of data integrity and confidentiality. Information entered onto our online survey tool will be secure and password protected so suppliers can access their own data and amend the information held with confidence.

How much will this cost?

The project costs depend on the number of suppliers that you wish to involve in the research and the complexity of questions that you wish to ask. Typically the project will cost around £4750 but this could range from £3000 for a small project to £7500 for a large one. If the project were to achieve annual savings of £250,000+ then the project costs are tiny (1.9%) in comparison to the year on year savings so this could be a very good investment and an efficient way of achieving those hard to get savings.

How long will this take?

The time taken for this project to report is typically 6-8 weeks but is dependant on the participation of suppliers and in many cases several reminders will be needed and/or more senior staff contacted at supplier organisations. The process is quite time intensive and this is why the project is not suitable to be run internally by NHS organisations as the resources and time needed would be difficult to find or maintain.

What format will I get the information in?

The information will be provided as a minimum specification as an Excel report that tells you line by line what each supplier has agreed to or is considering and contains all the contact details you need to take this further. We can provide a formal report in Word if required and would be happy to quote for this at a small charge.

Tell me more about Exodus Research?

Exodus Market Research is a leading research consultancy that offers high quality research at a reasonable cost with a dedicated commitment to customer service. Our agency offers a full range of quantitative, qualitative and desk research using all methodologies (face to face, telephone, focus group, observational, panel, internet/ e-survey and hard copy).

Founded in 1997, Exodus Research has a strong track record in the delivery of projects that meet and exceed the needs of our clients. Your research project is as important to us as it is to you - so we make sure that your project managers are senior, experienced staff that know the value of superb customer service and attention to detail.

Our analysis and reporting are backed up by full statistical services and offers depth and insight as well as clear, concise commentary. Our service is bespoke, tailored to your exact requirements – your project manager will take a detailed brief and plan an approach with you that meets all your objectives, complies with all relevant legislation and will deliver high quality and professional research that you really can rely on.

Our clients are both public and private sector including many local authorities, Government and Non-Governmental Organisations and bodies with responsibility for delivering public and business sector services. We have also worked extensively in the UK Healthcare sector and have conducted numerous projects for organisations in the NHS. A full list of our recent quantitative and qualitative projects with links to suitable referees can be found here on our website.

Click here to see what the Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust thought about our service

Background information on NHS Savings Research...