ecommotors Tech Platform Helps Power eBay NHS PPE Portal

We’re pleased to be able to contribute our time and technology to this important initiative for UK health and wellbeing. This post provides the background.

The marketplace news website Tamebay recently published an update to the project, stating that eBay had committed to extending their partnership with the NHS Supply Chain and Department of Health and Social Care to 31st March 2021, to see the country through potential additional waves of the coronavirus pandemic and the winter flu season.

The portal went live in May 2020, and by the beginning of July, 18.5m PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items had already been shipped to 21,000 health care providers. Fast forward to the beginning of October and the portal has now scaled to 200 million PPE items per week capacity.

It’s a little known fact to brands, manufacturers, distributors and resellers in the automotive aftermarket business that the ecommotors software system is a key player in this portal. We’re providing the listings management, stock level updates, order management and integration into the eBay marketplace.

Chris Farrelly, the architect of the software platform, explains how we came to be involved. “One of the subsidiary companies of Clipper, the retail logistics company, is a customer of our platform. The NHS and eBay approached Clipper, who in turn approached us to ‘build the bridge’, as it were.

“eBay has developed a version of its marketplace for the NHS. Clipper is the warehouse management system for controlling the PPE. Our system receives feeds from Clipper to update stock levels and tracking information and in turn updates eBay. Finally, our system sends Clipper the orders as they come in from eBay.”

Tony Kyberd, Head of Platforms for ecommotors, added, “It’s vitally important we all do what we can so that front-line organisations can access the critical protective equipment they need to save lives and keep themselves safe. It goes without saying that we’re very pleased to be able to donate our time and technology to the project.”

Andrew Rowson, Head of Services at ecommotors, provided further background, “One of the reasons we founded ecommotors was to marry up services and software for the aftermarket. That said, we have a lot of history in other sectors too, so it’s great to see the tech being used for healthcare, and for such a critical cause.”

Between March and May the UK Government signed deals with more than 100 new suppliers from around the world and ramped up domestic production to help meet demand for PPE. The PPE Portal forms part of the national effort to ensure critical PPE continues to be delivered to those on the frontline.

The PPE Portal was extensively tested with the sector and scaled up nationally over a period of a few weeks. In the first phase of the roll-out, GPs and small residential and domiciliary social care services were invited to register on the portal.

At first reading, helping the healthcare sector cope with coronavirus might seem a world away from the aftermarket industry. That said, there are many similarities between the kinds of items needed for hospitals and healthcare facilities, and those required for the more hazardous areas of garages and repair shops, like gowns, gloves, and masks for spray painting, for example.

From its experience with automotive, the ecommotors platform is also well used to the large volume demands for product SKUs, listings and orders through the end-to-end process of good in and warehousing through to pick, pack, dispatch and deliver. That ability to manage large amounts of data and logistics is going to be important as we approach 200 million PPE items per week. For information about this very worthwhile project, or to discuss your own requirements to ‘digitalise’ your sales and distribution, feel free to contact us.