Technology, partnerships and governance that enable agility and coordination for resilient global health supply chains

by | Nov 20, 2020



Global, and public health supply chains are complex, fast-changing, and sometimes unpredictable.

The Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM), a specialized health product procurement agent and 4PL service provider, is accustomed to operating in this volatile space, and adept at solving unusual supply chain problems.

PFSCM has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by global and public health chains. These challenges include siloed information, unnecessary complexity, bureaucracy, and a lack of accountability. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we have faced these same challenges. We have also dealt with issues including abrupt changes to country importation legislation, a lack of appropriate in-county storage space, and limited freight availability for large cold chain and frozen shipments.

In our 2020 Global Health Supply Chain Summit presentation we share our findings and perspectives on how supply chain challenges such as these impact efficiency and health outcomes. We also discuss to what extent the supply chains we are involved in have proven to be resilient. We substantiate our discussion by exploring the role technology, partnerships, and governance play in creating a resilience strategy.

Examples of recent shared solutions that demonstrate supply chain resilience include:

  • Technology: Using a state of the art supply chain Control Tower to support the fast-tracking of procurement and logistics processes for COVID-19 diagnostics.
  • Partnerships: Contracting a transit warehouse in Uganda to take pressure off the National Medical Stores (NMS). This facility is shared by service providers moving health products into the country.
    For the first time ever, co-loading charter flights with peers to reduce costs and minimize the associated carbon footprint.
  • Governance: Mapping the Tanzanian importation process for health care products to reduce bottlenecks caused by new importation procedures. PFSCM collaborated with various stakeholders and shared best practices with peers to help them navigate the new importation environment.

We then proceed to recap the international supply chain best practices which we believe can further contribute to supply chain resiliency. These best practices include:

  • Supplier diversification
  • Supplier mapping
  • Local sourcing
  • Innovations in logistics and last-mile delivery
  • End-to-end visibility
  • Smart technologies
  • Quality Management Systems
  • Options for fragile/cold chain shipment
  • Diversification of cargo options to Africa
  • Collaboration and coordination
  • Resources: capital and human resources
  • Just in time versus Just in Case production
  • Disaster planning

Through our presentation, PFSCM’s demonstrates that supply chain resiliency can be improved by coordinating to better leverage technology, partnerships and governance structures.