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Ghana’s Supply Chain Control Tower Success in Public Health

By Guest Writer on January 6, 2021

nextgen ghsc control tower

The Control Tower concept has existed for a while in global supply chains. Control Towers are agile cloud computing platforms that provide actionable, granular end-to-end supply chain visibility and control. Control Towers can significantly contribute to the transformation of both strategic and operational management of supply chains.

In the private sector, effective Control Towers utilize real-time data to facilitate both predictive and prescriptive analysis and identify weaknesses and strengths.  They can achieve greater operational efficiencies and enable dynamic decision making.

Recently, with the right technology, they have been transitioned into centralized data and information hubs, fostering collaboration and information sharing.  They are instrumental in promoting agility, while leveraging advanced data analysis mechanisms, like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to process big data and guide both strategic and operational business decisions.

Control Towers in Global Pubic Health

However, the concept is still foreign to the public sector, specifically the public health supply chain management in the developing world.

Recently, development partners have undertaken a few initiatives to introduce this concept at the global level. These initiatives include the Control Tower at the Global Fund Pooled Procurement Mechanism and the reproductive health Global Family Planning Visibility and Analytics Network (GFPVAN).

This has already introduced a new way of managing supply chain decisions by the development partners with centralized hubs that provide end-to-end visibility, ability to manage orders and track shipments.

Control Towers in USAID NextGen GHSC

nextgen ghsc control tower

USAID is planning to establish a Control Tower for its upcoming NextGen Global Health Supply Chain suite of programs.

The NextGen Control Tower award will provide strong coordination between the contracts, enhance visibility and transparency, and improve USAID’s overall management of risk. It will help USAID consolidate and manage all programs under the Next Gen GHSC program.

Both USAID implementing partners and the program’s principal recipients should significantly benefit if the solution is extended to include in-country supply chains. Government supply chain technology with Control Tower capabilities can enable data collection to the last mile and facilitate visibility and integration with global dashboards.

Ghana’s Control Tower Experience

The Ghana Integrated Logistics Management Information System (GhiLMIS) was designed as a Control Tower platform which facilitates end-to-end visibility and analytics across the value chain.

This platform fosters collaboration across all key stakeholders, management of multiple vendors including suppliers, distributors and 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) providers and ultimately facilitates decision making. The Control Tower capabilities include:

  • Real-time capturing and processing all transaction data across the value chain
  • Tracking and tracing of commodities
  • Integration and triangulation of data from multiple systems
  • Workflow and milestone management processes
  • Data analytics and visualization

Ghana has been able to instantly aggregate data from its public health supply chain, leading to dynamic decision making. This resulted in:

  • Reductions in overall inventory operation costs
  • Mitigation of exceptions
  • Effective management of country resources
  • Transformation of overall supply chain management
  • Establishing a culture of data use

As the Control Tower concept gained traction across the Ministry of Health, it helped the MoH move closer to achieving sustainable development goals like universal health care. Other key results in Ghana include:

End-to-End Visibility

  • Effective management of COVID-19 commodities, facilitating decision making on which regions need replenishment of commodities.
  • Real-time knowledge of current inventory status of other consumables across the value chain enabling effective commodity management.
  • Established ability to collate consumption data across the value chain and leverage the replenishment engine for aggregate demand and supply planning ensuring availability of commodities.
  • Effective real-time national tracking and tracing of all transactions in the system from purchase order creation, to fulfillment, shipment, receipt and all inventory transactions facilitating real time decision making.
  • Generation of Advanced Shipment Notifications (ASN) ensuring that all 3PLs are notified of shipment volumes and routes prior to commodity picking enabling the 3PLs to plan and distribute commodities with shipment targets.
  • Ability to track milestones enabling handling of exceptions and managing vendor performance.

Information sharing and collaboration

  • Predefined data standardization and mapping that allowed product harmonization and integration of data across the Ghana eHealth ecosystem, creating ability to embrace multiple legacy systems from other services like DHIS2 other than requirement to replace their technology
  • Developed master data that facilitated effective data production, management, and integration with other stakeholders including in-country eHealth solutions and global supply chain solutions like GFPVAN
  • In-built data validation mechanism to ensure conformity to national standards and ability to pull and push data from multiple systems within the supply chain eco-system
  • Supported multiple systems integration using data exchange protocols like APIs and STFP. This enabled sharing data between private vendor warehouse systems (SAP) and DHIS2
  • The GhiLMIS platform supports integration and workflow coordination at every stage of the supply chain, recognizing the interdependencies between how the activities at the last mile, impact upstream activities and vice versa. These workflows facilitate seamless collaboration between different tiers making decision making informed and efficient.
  • Provide performance data to key stakeholders including management of Global Fund Resilient and Sustainable System for Health indicators and provide

Managing public health supply chain operations

  • Developed and implemented a Business Intelligence layer enabling triangulation of critical data to inform supply chain decision making.
  • Leveraged both predictive and prescriptive data to improve demand and supply planning, inventory management, operational costs, warehouse holding costs, optimize transportation, capacity management and overall decision-making
  • Supports easy access to data, creating abilities to Find, Trace, Extract, Distribute and Use data to drive improved health outcomes through both predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Ghana Today. Tomorrow…

Ghana shows that this transformational approach of embedding control tower capabilities in public health supply chain management solutions can:

  • significantly improves efficiencies,
  • reduces costs,
  • optimizes operations and
  • facilitate strategic decision-making,

Ghana is one of the pioneers of using data as a business asset and establishing a culture of data use in public health supply management critical decision making.  Control Tower capabilities plays a major role in achieving this objective.

By Philip Williams Lule, Logistics Management Information System (LMIS) Advisor on Chemonics’ LMIS project funded by The Global Fund in Ghana

Filed Under: Data, Healthcare
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