Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Logistics (HHL): Workshop Highlights Collaboration and New Technology in SCM at 2013 Health & Humanitarian Logistics Conference

ATLANTA, GA, June 27, 2013- As many worldwide continue to rebuild their lives after recent natural disasters or struggle day-to-day to meet basic needs, leaders from NGOs, industry, and the public sector strive to increase the efficiency of humanitarian response through improved supply chain management (SCM). The 2013 Health & Humanitarian Logistics Conference, held this year on June 4-5 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, provided a forum for discussions, presentations and interactive workshops on pressing humanitarian logistics problems including food security, disaster preparedness response from the developing countries to densely populated urban areas, and global health.

Humanitarian aid organizations have long shared resources, extensive supplies and funding to those in need, yet they often face challenges in effectively coordinating activities through the use of integrated systems and networks. In one of the conference workshops led by the prominent humanitarian organizations- CARE, Save the Children, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS)- the three representatives focused on inter-organizational collaboration for implementing a new SCM system to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of planning and tracking inventory of relief items, as well as distribution and reporting. They began by identifying key business drivers for SCM, such as the standardization of systems, processes, data, and reporting, that could speed up the delivery of lifesaving goods and services to beneficiaries. Similar to companies in the private sector that can lose sales revenue and customers due to an inadequate supply or incur costs due to excess inventory, NGOs must also develop efficient SCM systems to avoid the mismanagement of vital resources at risk of expiration, contamination, or hazard.

For example, after the Haiti earthquake one of the challenges was managing the large quantities of donated medical equipment and supplies. The build-up of supplies can become overwhelming for doctors and medical staff preventing them from locating what they need and properly treating patients. Nicole Balliette, Director of Commodity and Supply Chain Management for CRS, recalled the initial urgency to develop a more standardized SCM system and training in response to the earthquake in Haiti as aid workers struggled to rapidly answer questions such as: “What do we need? What do we already have and where? What do people want to give us? How do we get it there fast? Where is the system and the expert staff to help manage it all now?” The focus on effective SCM extends beyond immediate disaster response to long-term development and rebuilding needs such as providing vaccines, educational items, water and sanitation equipment that can lead to a better quality of life for the affected communities.

The three organizations are implementing an information system, known as SCM4Good®, developed by Aidmatrix, a leading nonprofit that provides SCM technology for Humanitarian Relief. The solution standardizes processes, enabling more open communication and data sharing internally and between organizations. By using a standardized system such as Aidmatrix to manage the supply chain, they can more efficiently control inventory supply such as food and medicine based on calculations of demand variability and uncertainty.

The UPS Foundation serves as a key private-sector sponsor in the development of this collaborative NGO user group. In addition, they provide industry expert volunteers in logistics, in-kind donations of transportation services, disaster relief support, and ongoing financial support for this and other Aidmatrix solutions for humanitarian relief. UPS’ collaboration and support highlights the importance of industry involvement in improving humanitarian relief efforts.

The 2013 Health & Humanitarian Logistics Conference was co-organized by Georgia Tech’s Health & Humanitarian Logistics Center (HHL) and MIT’s Humanitarian Response Lab; co-chaired by the Malaysia Institute of Supply Chain Innovation; and made possible for the 5th consecutive year by the generous support of the UPS Foundation and other sponsors. For more information about the conference, please visit: http://www.scl.gatech.edu/humlog2013/.

The Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Logistics (HHL) is an initiative to improve humanitarian logistics (including short or long-term, man-made or natural disasters, global and public health, and long-term development needs) and ultimately the human condition by system transformations through education, outreach, projects and research. To find out more about research and events at HHL, please visit: http://humanitarian.scl.gatech.edu/home.

About CARE
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading
humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached more than 83 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.

About Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services, founded in 1943, is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic Church in the U.S. With over 5,000 workers, it operates in 91 countries and reaches over 100 million people each year by responding to major emergencies (37% of programming), fighting disease and poverty, and working with national and international, Catholic and secular humanitarian organizations to assist those in need.

About Save the Children
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. They aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, Save The Children we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. In 2012, Save The Children reached over 125 million beneficiaries globally.www.savethechildren.org

About Aidmatrix
To learn more about Aidmatrix, please visit www.aidmatrix.org or contact

For more information contact:

Meghan Smithgall
Marketing and Admin. Coordinator
HHL Center- GA Tech

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