News @ JSI

OpenLMIS Highlights JSI's Efforts to Improve Supply Chain Data

June 8, 2017

The OpenLMIS Initiative recently launched an interactive map featuring several JSI projects to illustrate specific use cases for OpenLMIS, a digital logistics information management software. The software is the first open-source logistics management information system (LMIS) for medical supply chains that is designed specifically to meet the requirements of low-income countries.

Until recently, most digital LMIS—if they existed at all—were stand-alone desk-top databases or Excel®-based tools, with incomplete or non-existent data. To remedy this shortcoming, JSI, in partnership with USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, VillageReach, and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as the governments of Zambia and Tanzania to develop and implement the web-based OpenLMIS Michelo, a pharmacist at Chainama Hills College Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.(known as eLMIS in some countries).

One of the featured use cases is JSI support to Zambia’s Ministry of Health to overcome ongoing stockouts. Prior to implementing the eLMIS, logistics data—provided by the Medical Stores Limited (MSL)—received hand-filled paper reports and requisitions from all health facilities throughout the districts during the monthly reporting period. Data specialists would capture all the reports and requisitions using a limited capacity stand-alone information system (Supply Chain Manager), and assess and approve replenishment quantities based on the commodity stock status in the MSL warehouse. Since the logistics management unit at MSL received reports from more than 2,000 health facilities each month, paper-based order processing was labor-intensive and time-consuming, often causing delays in order fulfillment.

In partnership with Zambia’s Ministry of Health and MSL we implemented the eLMIS using a comprehensive software development business process improvement and capacity building approach that addressed people, processes, and technology simultaneously. The eLMIS includes a facility edition, which automates daily logistics transactions at the service delivery points; generates reports and requisitions, and transmits the requisitions to the central edition for resupply. The central edition provides supply chain performance and order management functions for the central, district, and service delivery points. To further improve visibility, daily stock status is now submitted to the central edition from all sites that use the facility edition. By increasing data visibility, users from the top to the bottom of the supply chain can make data-driven decisions and implement effective interventions.

More importantly, by replacing the paper-based system with the eLMIS, there are fewer errors, shorter lead times between when reports are delivered to and processed by MSL, and faster approvals on orders to ensure that health facilities get resupplied in good time. This more responsive data management system is increasing commodity availability at the facilities and is poised to benefit health outcomes for Zambians.

In addition to our work in Zambia, we have partnered with global and national stakeholders to implement the OpenLMIS platform in Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania. We also launched a new implementation partnership in Guinea in early 2017.

Click here to learn how we are partnering with public and private sector partners around the globe to design and implement strong supply chains, deliver life-saving health products to people, train supply chain managers, and connect practitioners to knowledge and tools to help them avoid “reinventing the wheel.”