Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Agency Center of Excellence program

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PFSCM, Celsian Consulting and John Snow Inc., recently initiated a Center of Excellence (CoE) program to assist the Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Supply Agency (EPSA) in improving its operational performance and -maturity in preparation for ISO certification.

The CoE uses private sector practices to help EPSA achieve its goals in a sustainable manner using existing infrastructure, personnel, and systems.

The program delivered impressive results, and put EPSA on the path to success.

The CoE impact:

  •  Several EPSA warehouses progressed from supply chain Maturity Level One to Levels Two and Three. Overall, EPSA’s maturity growth improved on average 12.5%.
  • Data management was improved, and data collection tools were implemented to collect product info on more than 1,600 SKUs.
  •  Customized reports were created to support EPSA’s COVID-19 response. This included real-time network storage capacity information and monitoring of open pallet locations.
  • An ABC Analysis was done to optimize the use of EPSA’s many warehouses. Eight auxiliary warehouses were reduced to just two.
  •  Stock velocity was improved by reducing dock-to-stock lead times by 68.5%, and the delivery schedule from one of the main hubs was shortened from eight to four weeks.
  • Inventory accuracy improved by 49% in EPSA’s central warehouses, and 23% at its primary hubs, while annual stock-taking days declined from 42 days to just 5 days.

The CoE approach has successfully demonstrated that EPSA’s existing infrastructure and human resources can be optimized to achieve higher output levels to improve product availability while minimizing service costs and product wastage.

Further, implementing private sector practices through a proven methodology delivers measurable results, but funding, donor buy-in, and political will is needed to identify and create such partnerships.

In addition, the GRIDD methodology has proven to transform supply chain networks into sustainable systems that can operate at first-world, best-practice levels.

Meanwhile, EPSA’s maturity progress is highly encouraging, and the ISO 9001:2015 certification of one of the secondary hubs is a testament to the effectiveness of the CoE. Assuming the current maturity growth momentum is maintained, four of the primary hubs can also be expected to pursue ISO 9001:2015 accreditation soon.

The CoE program can deliver long-term sustainability with financial benefits to the Ministry of Health and donors.

For example, by increasing the annual stock turn rate from 0.89 to 1.5 per annum, EPSA’s storage capacity is extended by about 10 years.

This puts money back into health program budgets with minimal or no infrastructure or system investments.

Assuming funding continues, the CoE program’s contributions will continue to support improvements in EPSA, positioning it as Africa’s leading public health supply chain organization.


Project Date

  • 2018 - 2021

Focus Area

  • Operational performance improvement
  • Operational maturity modeling
  • ISO certification


Impact Figures

  • Maturity growth improved on average 12.5%
  • Stock-taking days down from 42 to 5 days
  • Inventory accuracy improved by 49%