Italy mandates e-ordering for suppliers of the national healthcare system, referred to as SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale). For e-ordering the NSO platform “Nodo di Smistamento degli Ordini di acquisto delle amministrazioni pubbliche (NSO)”, known from the Emilia-Romagna region, is mandatory to be used by 1st of February 2020 (initial deadline was 1st of October 2019).
This next step has been announced just 6 months after the B2B e-invoicing via the SDI platform became mandatory in January 2019.
E-Ordering Mandate for All Suppliers of Entities Associated with the SSN
By 1st of February 2020 all contracting authorities from the healthcare sector are required to send all purchase orders in electronic XML format based on PEPPOL BIS version 3 to any of their domestic and foreign suppliers via the NSO platform. In scope of the e-ordering mandate are all purchase orders – regardless whether for health-related products or any other supplies e.g. office materials – from entities associated with the SSN. Compared to the SDI, the NSO platform is dealing with order documents only, and invoices remain on the SDI platform. However, the new NSO mandate impacts the SDI obligation in a way, that certain order information needs to be included in the invoices exchanged via SDI after the delivery of the respective product or supply.
Different E-Ordering Processes Exist with Public Entities Connected to NSO
There are three main NSO e-ordering processes described in the technical specification of the NSO:
- Simple e-ordering (order only)
- Full E-Ordering (order, order response and order transaction)
- Pre-agreed E-Ordering (pre-agreed order issued by the supplier instead of by the customer and order transaction)
Only the actual e-order document is mandatory to run via the NSO platform. Other relating documents like e.g. order responses and order transactions which are a part of the full e-ordering process are optional sub-processes.
Deadlines of the B2G E-Ordering Mandate
The previous deadline was October 1st, 2019. It has been replaced by new dates depending on the type of the supply performed to entities associated with the Italian National Health Service.
The relevant decree also established grace periods during which invoices may still be paid by the Public Administration even if no prior purchase order has been transmitted through the Italian Purchase Orders Routing Node platform (Nodo di Smistamento degli Ordini – NSO):
- Supply of goods starting February 1st, 2020 with a grace period until January 1st, 2021
- Supply of services starting January 1st, 2021 with a grace period until January 1st, 2022
Channels for Suppliers to Connect to NSO
The architecture of NSO is based on the SDI infrastructure. The different ways of how suppliers and public administrations can exchange electronic order documents via NSO are similar to the well-known transmission channels of the SDI platform (i.e. see below for the name of the web service or FTP service offered by NSO), apart from the PEPPOL service, which has been added as a new channel:
- Web portal service
- PEC service (certified emails)
- Web service “SdICoop service”
- FTP service “SdIFtp service”
- PEPPOL service
Suppliers may interact directly with the NSO using any of the above channels. On the other hand, they can connect via intermediaries e.g. to integrate in an automated way, using the PEPPOL network.
With SEEBURGER Cloud Services, suppliers can receive EU compliant e-orders from public healthcare entities in Italy via PEPPOL. Below is as an example using the PEPPOL BIS 3 format:
There is also the option to deploy the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite on premises; however, this only makes economic sense if larger amounts of orders are to be processed.
PEPPOL E-Ordering Process for NSO in Italy
E-ordering in Italy complies with the European standard, since the selected format type is based on PEPPOL-BIS orders, and its eDelivery network is one of the permitted channels to connect with the NSO. The PEPPOL eDelivery network requires the use of PEPPOL access points to exchanged structured electronic order documents to the NSO platform.
Among the EU member states, Italy is one of the front-runners transposing the EU directives for public procurement into practice, and establishing new technologies in the continuous digitalization of public administration’s processes. For domestic and foreign B2G suppliers of public entities associated with the SSN the clock is ticking to comply with the mandate.
The PEPPOL infrastructure is the first choice for many countries to increase their openness to international trade. PEPPOL is currently in use in many countries in Europe. PEPPOL authorities already exist in 11 European countries. The number of PEPPOL authorities grows to 12 with the addition of the first two non-European countries, Singapore and New Zealand.
We see a growing trend in countries such as Italy, Sweden, Norway Finland or Croatia etc. to introduce PEPPOL in order to be able to meet the requirements of the deadline for electronic procurement in a timely manner.
A scalable and future-proof solution should therefore come from a single source run by an experienced cloud partner who understands, and can meet the various requirements of different countries. Alternatively, you can choose to implement and operate all these mandates yourself, or work with separate local providers in each respective country. In the latter case however, each one of the local providers will have to be managed and monitored on an individual basis.
The solution must be able to handle PEPPOL inbound and outbound documents, and other formats and communication channels if necessary. In addition, the solution needs to be connected easily and reliably to your respective ERP system.
SEEBURGER offers a ‘Plug-and-Play’ Cloud Service for PEPPOL, through which you can exchange PEPPOL documents. Our services are independent of the ERP system.
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Written by: Gerrit OnkenGerrit Onken has been at SEEBURGER AG since 2010 as a product manager for software applications and for electronic data exchange services for the business sector. He focuses on solutions for SAP, electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and innovations for digitalizing business and technical processes for globally-active customers. Originally a banker, Gerrit Onken went on to graduate in business administration, majoring in industrial management and business informatics. After working in the financial sector, he worked as a manager and project manager from 2004 to 2010 for one of the top five corporate consultancies, working with international BPOs in the banking and automotive industries.