Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Logistics Fire Brigade in Action: How the non-profit service provider, Aidmatrix, steers donations for Disaster Relief

Summary of article by Stefan Bottler
published in DVK (Deutsche VerkehrsZeitung) German Transportation/Logistics News, January 26, 2011.

Earthquakes, epidemics, floods, drought - almost every day there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world. Often they get extensive coverage in the media, but more often it is a silent battle. Aidmatrix understands the challenges in disaster and makes it their business to help get aid to the stricken area quickly and efficiently.

“Supply Chains have to reach every place on earth”, Shari Temple, Managing Director, Aidmatrix Europe told us, but who has ever heard of Tuvalu? The tiny country in the middle of the Pacific Ocean exports less than 20 million USD and doesn’t come up on the radar screen of even the world’s best-connected logistics corporations. That doesn’t matter to Aidmatrix. In November 2010, the non-profit helped organize the delivery of over 1.9 million USD in medicines and medical equipment to Tuvalu to help relief workers battle infections which afflict over 4,000 children in the country of just 12,000 inhabitants.

Under the motto: Right Aid, Right People Right Time™, Aidmatrix today supports over 40,000 humanitarian aid organizations in 70 countries. Governments and NATO/EADRCC cooperate with Aidmatrix as well and whether it be corporate donations or on-site measures, every year goods and services totaling over 1.5 billion USD flow through Aidmatrix supply chains.

Using proprietary software, Aidmatrix builds humanitarian supply-chains on the criteria of the SCOR (Supply-Chain Operations Reference) Model, and any and every registered aid organization can access this software.

When needed transportation and logistics capacities are plugged into the system, Aidmatrix can offer the right solution using about a dozen modules, including online-ordering, warehouse solutions and/ or fleet management. However, “before posting needs, users must identify exactly what it is they need, “ said Manfred Kohl, Consulting Director at Aidmatrix. “Our software supports the efficient matching of defined needs.”

Transportation is urgently needed. There is also a portal available for donors of transportation space. Specific products and services which are needed in disaster areas are listed on the Aidmatrix homepage. “We are always looking for capacity”, said Kohl. Logistics companies with domestic networks as well as corporations with international reach are most welcome. In December 2010, Aidmatrix supported relief efforts in Northern Albania where severe flooding damaged over 7,500 dwellings and cut off many villages from the outside world. Often these initiatives hardly register with the public.

With software solutions for donations management and volunteer management, Aidmatrix offers a full range of supply chain management solutions for humanitarian relief. The organization also provides on-site emergency aid, for example, in Haiti on the 12th of January. Because most of the logistics infrastructure there was destroyed, an Aidmatrix team built a provisional warehouse in Port-au-Prince.

The SCOR Model, which covers over 200 individual processes, does not capture these kinds of measures. Temple explains that, “supply chain concepts for commercial purposes cannot be carried over to the humanitarian sector without modifications”. Because products are not sold, but donated, the need for transparency is especially high. In addition, the supply chain has to handle unsolicited deliveries as well as direct deliveries to individuals.

In the near future The Supply Chain Council and Aidmatrix plan to work together to develop additional processes relevant to humanitarian relief delivery to enhance the existing SCOR Model, which charitable organizations could use for their own logistics purposes. One model for this is the British charity FareShare, which currently stores tons of foodstuffs which cannot be sold in 11 food depots throughout greater London.

English by Elena Mendoza, Aidmatrix, Munich

1 comment:

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