Moving Zimbabwe to the Next Generation of Forecasting and Supply Planning Solution

Related Supply Chain Topics
December 13, 2021
Lead Paragraph/Summary

The Quantification Analytics (QAT) Tool is the next generation forecasting and supply planning solution. Thanks to USAID's investment, QAT leverages new technologies, including an enhanced user interface and usability, and greater analytical capabilities and automated data exchange enabling program managers to optimize commodity procurement and delivery schedules, monitor the stock status of products and share data with external platforms and key stakeholders.

QAT has forecasting capabilities and enhanced supply planning logic, including role-based access rights based on user profiles. It has an in-built Early Warning System; cloud syncing; supply chain scenarios; Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) linking; the ability to run outputs by funding source or procurement agent; cost of inventory; and point-in-time stock status. QAT also comes with a rich set of reports for case presentation, including the graphical presentation of data.

The USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project is supporting the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to conduct forecasting and supply planning, providing both financial and technical support for the quantification process. MoHCC is implementing QAT in Zimbabwe. To prepare for roll-out, GHSC-PSM has been training supply chain management stakeholders on the QAT Tool.

In November 2020, GHSC-PSM offered the first virtual training of trainers (TOT) on QAT. Eight trainees from Zimbabwe (four from MoHCC and four from the project), two from Botswana, four from Ethiopia and one from Benin took part. The TOT equipped these users to transition from the previous software - PipeLine - to QAT. Trainees learned how to use the tool for enhanced supply planning support to improve the procurement of commodities and track, as well as monitor stock status upstream.

In December 2020, GHSC-PSM program administrators started onboarding databases from PipeLine to QAT, including antiretrovirals (ARVs), voluntary medical male circumcision, Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Cervicography, condoms, contraceptives and malaria program databases. The process was successfully completed before the Annual February 2021 Quantification Exercise coordinated by the MoHCC’s Directorate of Pharmacy Services.

After generating forecasts, GHSC-PSM utilized QAT for supply planning. Consumption, inventory and shipment data was captured into QAT, as well as projected losses and adjustments. Reports were then generated to share with management and other stakeholders. GHSC-PSM was able to submit the first QAT-generated supply plans by March 15, 2021.

In May 2021, GHSC-PSM supported a week-long, in-country QAT training of 25 stakeholders from the central level MoHCC, NatPharm, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, UNDP, UNFPA and GHSC-PSM. The training enabled all members of the quantification team to use the new tool and many participants enjoyed the training.

“QAT is the way to go!” said Jackie Ndebele, Essential Medicines Logistics Officer, MoHCC. “I liked that the facilitators guided the participants from the roots, moving at a pace that accommodated everyone.”

“It cannot be disputed,” said Nongai Macherenga, Upstream Logistics Coordinator, MoHCC. “This game changing training on QAT has equipped me to respond to any pipeline issues from my ever-demanding stakeholders.”

The second Quantification Update Exercise for 2021 took place August 23 to September 3, 2021. By this time the laboratory and tuberculosis preventive programs had also been on-boarded onto QAT. All program databases will be in the QAT system by the next quantification exercise to be held in February 2022.

GHSC-PSM works with the Laboratory Logistics Unit (under the Directorate of Laboratory Services) to enable updates and supply planning in QAT. These updates enabled a successful quantification exercise for laboratory commodities, including the identification of gaps, which led to additional commitments from PEPFAR (to support Hologic Viral Load reagents procurement to reduce viral load testing gap), and the Country Coordination Mechanism for the Global Fund.

In the last week of September and first week of October 2021, GHSC-PSM supported MoHCC on the supply chain management training of MoHCC, NatPharm (central warehouse) staff and other stakeholders. The staff included district, provincial and central hospital pharmacists. The QAT training component was incorporated into a two-week supply chain management curriculum.

GHSC-PSM staff, together with trained MoHCC staff, continue to carry out pipeline monitoring using QAT and update logistics data elements on a quarterly basis, with shipment updates being done as and when required for all programs.

Zimbabwe supply chain stakeholders are looking forward to the GHSC-PSM training on QAT forecasting in 2022.