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As PEPPOL adoption increases across the UK, we thought it’s time for a recap on our ‘What is PEPPOL’ article and a review of recent PEPPOL news and progress in 2017.

PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, an EDI (electronic data interchange) protocol, designed to simplify the purchase-to-pay process between government bodies and their suppliers.  PEPPOL facilitates electronic ordering, invoicing and shipping between government organisations and private companies.

The need for PEPPOL has arisen from historic inefficiencies and limitations in the way that government bodies procure from their suppliers.  Traditional purchase processes have evolved little over the last few decades, the advent of PEPPOL seeks to shake things up for the better.

PEPPOL is notably the EDI protocol chosen by the National Health Service in the UK (NHS) to achieve efficiency improvement and meet the government initiative of saving £22bn by 2020.

How is PEPPOL growing in 2017?

Membership to OpenPEPPOL continues to grow, with Poland joining at the start of 2017 to become the 200th member.  The Polish government has started building the national services platform (PeF) supporting electronic invoicing for public procurement, with an intention of having a full roll-out by Q3 2018.

In Italy, the Emilia-Romagna Region has achieved significant success enabling the dematerialization of public purchases for the whole procurement cycle, starting from the collection of public requirements and the achievement of digital tenders, to the fully electronic management of orders, dispatch advices and invoices.

The ER region has taken an active role in developing e-procurement standards as part of PEPPOL, since 2008.  From 2014 the regional Health Trusts in Emilia-Romagna have been able to digitally exchange all of their invoices.  Moreover, from June 2016, the same Health Trusts have also been able to send and receive orders and dispatch advices electronically, based on PEPPOL standards. To date, the Regional Telematic Interchange Hub (NoTI-ER) has handled more than 100,000 e-orders, 130,000 e-dispatch advices and 1.8 million e-invoices.  Elsewhere in Europe, nascent PEPPOL projects could do well to look to the ER region in Italy for inspiration and reassurance.

In Belgium, from 1st July, companies have been able to send invoices to federal agencies in electronic format.  Belgium has been working on electronic invoicing since 2013.  In 2017, Fedict (the Federal Public Service for Information and Communication Technology) launched the Belgian electronic invoicing platform.  The biggest challenge in deploying this platform had been the existence of several networks with data in different formats, thankfully this has now been resolved.  The federal body has been working on a platform for the Belgian authorities since 2013. It is now compliant with European standards (OpenPEPPOL). The platform’s name is Mercurius.

Examples of PEPPOL progress in 2017 at UK NHS Trusts

Whilst only a handful of demonstrator sites are leading the charge for full-blown PEPPOL support, progress is encouraging.  Some examples of NHS trusts and what they have achieved to date (July 2017) are listed below:

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • Scanning of wristbands at 50% of the trust’s Points of Care
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Over 50% of purchased products listed in new PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process in place – tracing products to patients in Theatres
  • First PEPPOL order and invoice transmitted
  • Inventory Management System in place, enabling stock review and amendment to match usage information

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Phased introduction of GS1 compliant patient wristbands
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • New PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process mapped, pending development and deployment

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • New PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process in place
  • PEPPOL order and invoice process in user acceptance testing

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Wristband printing software is 100% GS1 compliant, scanning is in testing phase
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Over 35% of purchased products listed in new PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall, Purchase-to-Pay and Inventory Management solutions in development

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • 6,649 trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Catalogue, product recall, Purchase-to-Pay and Inventory Management solutions in development

What is the easiest way to become PEPPOL compliant?

As with any business decision, the cost-case for investing in PEPPOL needs to present a return on investment as swiftly as possible.  The breadth of requirements for full PEPPOL-compliant eProcurement presents an investment conundrum for NHS trusts and suppliers alike – how to make this investment before budget is available from the savings achieved.

One of the best approaches to this challenge is to deploy PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing as a first stage.  Both suppliers and NHS trusts stand to make substantial savings through electronic invoicing.  These savings can then be reinvested in the broader requirements of full PEPPOL-compliant eProcurement.

In the context of invoice generation, as opposed to invoice processing, solutions such as Netsend, present an attractive business case.  With a minimal upfront investment, setup costs are offset and become part of operational expenditure.  This equates to a lower barrier to adoption, enabling suppliers to extract competitive advantage and business gain rapidly.

Talk to us today and find out how Netsend is able to support PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing.  Or you can find more information about PEPPOL in our PEPPOL FAQ Document here.

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