Maintaining a healthy supply chain in the public sector | adam HTT

A lot of effort is invested in creating the supply chain. Why not nurture it?

By working with external providers, public sector organisations can efficiently outsource services to those who are specialised.

The first step on this journey is to research the market and identify suitable providers that can meet the requirements. Creating a portfolio of approved, quality vetted providers – now commonly structured using a Dynamic Purchasing System or similar Framework model.

But it’s not enough to stop there.

Keeping this supply chain well nurtured throughout the Framework’s duration is essential in meeting fluctuations in demand, maintaining competition, tapping into innovation, and minimising the risks associated with provider failure. All in all, it’s something worth doing.

So, what makes a supply chain healthy?

With such variants across public sector categories, it’s difficult to obtain a single definition of what a healthy public sector supply chain looks like. Our beliefs are that it will always feature the following, in varying degrees of importance:


The reality is that after the initial engagement period with the market, many public sector departments neglect to engage the existing and potential market on a recurring basis. Often due to resource limitations, staff returning to their ‘day jobs’ and business returning to usual.

So, whilst the supply chain may start off healthy, it doesn’t always finish that way.

What can be done to maintain a healthy supply chain?

Here are just a few tried and tested examples that we believe can go a long way to maintaining a healthy supply chain.

Understand your data

It may not be exciting, but it’s essential. Understanding your results on a regular basis (we analyse data monthly) allows you to spot trends, understand your commissioning results, maximise the use of the supply chain and track compliance.

Data insights are the key to introducing timely interventions and tweaks that don’t overdo it on resources required and keep things ticking over so that results can follow.

Keep an open line of conversation

Holding regular conversations with providers creates the perfect sounding board for innovation and future changes, as well as addressing anything that isn’t currently working.

Provider forums are a great way of building relationships with established and new providers. Several of our clients host these on a quarterly basis to good effect. Depending on the size of the supply chain, courtesy calls and surveys are another great way of achieving this on a less formal basis.

Keep it fresh

One of the biggest benefits of having a DPS or similar model is the ability for new providers to enter the supply chain. New emerging supply shouldn’t be ignored and can help to support areas of low supply or meeting a niche area of spend.

Supporting this requires a proactive approach to scanning the market for new supply, as well as clear processes and support mechanisms for new providers looking to join.

Another tip?

There are lots of other great ways to maintain a healthy supply chain. This may sound like hard work, but the good news is that outsourcing recurring market engagement is also an option.

adam’s Supply Chain Team act as an extension of several of our client’s teams, providing a cost-effective way of maintaining supply chain health and acting on timely interventions.

Read more about what this service entails here:

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