The pressure of increasing demand alongside financial challenges in the NHS is well known. The population is ageing and living longer with more chronic diseases while the sophistication of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies is increasing. Healthcare leaders are facing harder and harder choices about how to prioritise their resources and are struggling to guarantee safety and quality of care. The health and social care system needs to significantly transform to address these challenges so that resources can be freed up and targeted on securing the best possible patient outcomes. Lord Carter’s report on operational productivity in acute hospitals identified potential efficiencies in many areas including supply chain management. Until now it has not been seen as a priority within the NHS and its benefits have not been widely understood. But that is changing as the healthcare sector is beginning to learn the lessons of other industries such as retail or automotive where supply chain systems ensure availability, effective use of supply and analysis of future requirements. Approximately 30% of a hospital’s total budget is spent on supply chain activities, hence a step-change in performance is not simply a ‘nice to have’, it is crucial to deliver the savings that trusts need to return to financial sustainability. And the benefits are not only monetary – through data tracking and analysis, there is also the potential to improve overall quality of care. Through our experience working with NHS organisations we have identified five levers which we believe will impact the supply chain and allow hospitals to transform systems and benefit from overall care improvements. Hospitals can no longer afford to make purchasing decisions solely based on cost. Efficient and strategic supply chain management is more important than ever before.