Zambia Connects All Provincial Hubs to Improve Data Visibility

December 3, 2021
Lead Paragraph/Summary

The roll-out of the Warehouse Management System (WMS) WarehouseExpert to all seven provincial hubs has been pivotal in strengthening the capacity of the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA)

The USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project has continued to strengthen the national supply chain with the aim of facilitating enhanced storage and distribution of essential health commodities in Zambia. Thanks to USAID, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) the project works closely with the Zambian government to build health systems capacity to handle the implementation of various public health programs. GHSC-PSM supports the procurement of program commodities that are managed through Zambia's investments in storage and distribution mechanisms, leading to an improved supply chain that has over the years led to enhanced commodity security and availability.

Amongst the initiatives the project is using to strengthen the capacity of the Zambian government to store and distribute essential health commodities is the rollout of the Warehouse Management System (WMS) WarehouseExpert to all provincial hubs, following on from a successful implementation of the same system at the ZAMMSA Central Warehouse in 2019. The WMS has been pivotal in strengthening the capacity of the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA) to capture, store, and process transactional data in the warehouse, which has enhanced inventory visibility and has simplified and harmonized reporting. In 2021, the project rolled out Warehouse Expert to all seven provincial hubs in the country to further enhance visibility and management of data across all ZAMMSA managed facilities. This was successfully accomplished by September 2021. There is now increased data visibility at all the provincial hubs. This has been attained through online linking of the hubs to the centrally located WarehouseExpert via a centralized reporting tool called NetLog. Following this development, ZAMMSA has the capacity to monitor stock across all facilities in real time using NetLog. The NetLog system gives full visibility of the transactions and inventory across the hubs and the ZAMMSA central warehouse. The increased data visibility supports better decision making and accountability of stock management.

The initiative of linking the central-level WarehouseExpert to the hubs will allow the hubs to operate separately to ensure order processing can continue even if the ZAMMSA central warehouse is incapacitated or disconnected. The completion of rolling out WarehouseExpert to all the hubs has also allowed ZAMMSA to start on the road to implementation of the MoH hub strategy and decentralization policy, allowing provincial hubs to become inventory managing entities instead of merely cross-docking facilities. This change in operational responsibility is improving the capacity of the hubs to hold stock and process orders from the health facilities, further increasing efficiency in the overall operations. Currently, ZAMMSA central warehouse is processing orders for over 3,200 health facilities, which puts a strain on the central level operations. The completion of the roll-out of WarehouseExpert to the hubs marks an important step toward realizing a vision of decentralized order processing. This move will also see ZAMMSA central warehouse reduce the number of fine picks completed, which will allow for further operational efficiencies.