Why automate?

Effective supply chain management has been acknowledged as the driver of competitive advantage in the private sector for the past 30 years. Yet it is only over the past 10 years that the humanitarian sector has begun to adopt and adapt supply chain disciplines to drive efficiencies and value in the procurement and management of aid related products for development and emergency situations.

 

An automated supply chain when supported by robust business processes provides the following benefits to humanitarian agencies active in development and emergency relief projects.

Visibility

Understanding what is in stock, what has been ordered, what products can be accessed from other parts of the organisation and what needs to be procured, seem fundamental objectives of a stock management system. An automated supply chain provides answers to these basic questions that can result in substantial savings by preventing over ordering and wastage.

Accountability

Humanitarian agencies have a number of stakeholders to whom they are accountable for how they spend scarce resources. Funders, whether they be institutional donors or members of the public are keen to know that there are systems in place that allow agencies to demonstrate transparency in their finances and checks in place  that help to eliminate fraud. 

Management Information

Having to make decisions  without adequate information is a characteristic of chaos. Rather than rely on tad hoc manual systems, an automated supply chain can store information centrally. This can provide critical information  in a more timely manner, that can drive better decisions and ultimately give agencies the ability to deliver aid faster.

Efficiency

Efficiency can be defined by many measures. A supply chain dependent on manual systems will certainly have the ability deliver aid to programs,  but doing so, quickly, reliably, consistently and  cost effectively is usually beyond most paper and spreadsheet systems. Automating the supply chain of an organisation is an opportunity to reinforce best practice business processes which can drive efficiencies and generate significant cost savings.