TechNet 2015 Day 3 tackled Managing the System: Human Resources for Supply Chain Management and Data for Management. These two themes are closely linked.People are the sources of data, and people must also have the skills and capacity to use that data for management decisions. In well performing supply chains, the interdependence between people, processes, technology and infrastructure are essential, but people are at the center. They carry out the processes; they collect, enter, manage and analyze the data; they use and maintain the physical infrastructure and assets. On Day 1 of the TechNet conference, we talked about optimizing supply chain processes. On Day 2, we explored cold chain infrastructure. On Day 3, we are looked at both human resources and data.
Every presentation and session throughout the conference seemed to reinforce the need for skilled human resources operating immunization supply chains, and the need for data to make decisions, whether about supply replenishment, cold chain functionality, or human resource performance.
One presentation that really struck me was the vLMIS from Pakistan, developed by JSI under the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT. In full disclosure, I was part of the initial strategy development for the vLMIS, but it has far exceeded my own expectations. But that's not my point here: Wasif presented a slide in which targets and consumption data were displayed across districts, indicating that in many cases, consumption far exceeded the targets used to forecast demand. Not only is this powerful evidence of the need to improve demand planning, it also helps assure us that using consumption data does not necessarily under-estimate demand required for 100% coverage; it actually allows us to position adequate supplies to meet and exceed coverage targets.