LEADING EDGE | Westcon
Supply Chain Infrastructure Solutions for Africa
Economic growth in Africa often brings increased pressure on supply chain infrastructure, creating challenging business conditions
and difficulty in matching supply with demand.
“If we want to execute supply chain design effectively in Africa, we need creative and flexible solutions,” says Arno Haigh, Executive Director at Resolve Capacity, a division of supply chain specialists Resolve Solution Partners.
The healthcare industry in particular is a focus, as many African countries have experienced a surge in volumes of medicine and healthcare products moving through their public health facilities, putting strain on existing infrastructure and affecting supply chain efficiencies.
Pharmaceutical warehouses are largely invisible to patients, but they are essential to ensuring that health commodities are available and importantly, compliant. Poorly constructed, maintained or managed storage facilities put products at risk of damage, diversion or expiry – all of which put health programmes and patient health in jeopardy.
“With warehouses already built or underway in Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda, we really are making strides in improving supply chain infrastructure in Africa, particularly in the healthcare industry,” says Haigh. “This is in addition to facilities already built in South Africa.”
To complement the supply chain infrastructure, Resolve Capacity also has a wide range of modular clinics and storage solutions that offer a unique balance to the typical challenges existing across the continent.
One of Resolve Capacity’s most recent projects is a Warehouse-in-a-Box™ in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire. The contract was awarded in July 2014 to Imperial Health Sciences by SCMS (Supply Chain Management Systems), for which Resolve Capacity is a service provider, and was implemented in Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of New Public Health Pharmacy (NPSP), the organisation responsible for the distribution of pharmaceutical products for public health institutions operated by the country’s Ministry of Health.
Along with its partners Turnkey Infrastructure Solutions, Resolve Capacity implemented its unique modular infrastructure solution for this $5.8 million, 4 095 m² warehouse project, which includes administration facilities etc.
“We broke ground in October 2014, and were pleased to hand the warehouse over to NPSP in January this year,” says Haigh. “This new warehouse will significantly enhance the pharmaceutical distribution network in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as storage capacity for the distribution of quality medicines.”
The construction of the prefabricated warehouse is the result of joint funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Fund for the Fight Against Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria.
The new warehouse will allow for significantly increased pharmaceutical compliant storage capacity, and will help streamline the provision of HIV/AIDS-related and other health products. The number of people on antiretroviral therapy is increasing rapidly, which means an increased requirement for drugs and supplies for screening volume, clinical laboratory testing and support. Storage therefore needs to be increased at a national level, and this warehouse will allow the NPSP to better organise its storage system and distribution to ensure continuous availability of essential medicines.
Resolve’s Warehouse-in-a-Box™ design is unique, and enables the rapid commission and installation of a prefabricated warehouse with all the componentry required to deliver a total solution, packed and ready for delivery in 40ft containers. The solution addresses a country’s chronic lack of supply chain infrastructure, limited storage space and lack of quality storage facilities. Suitable for both urban and rural settings, the standards and operational benchmarks are aligned with international supply chain principles.
The design can deliver between 500 and 10 000 m² of pharmaceutical warehouse space, and long-term scalability is made possible through its modular design, which is readily adjustable to accommodate future growth demands.
“The materials we use in producing Warehouse-in-a-Box™ facilities are up to 30% cheaper than traditional building methods, and the product boasts a 30 plus-year lifespan,” says Haigh. “We also place a high focus on sustainability – each one can be built to four-star green building standards, and they are designed with water, HVAC condensate and solar harvesting. They also feature water and waste treatment, as well as reduced cooling and energy costs due to their energy-efficient panel and door designs.”
Facility deployment in Africa is complicated by limitations in developing countries. “With Warehouse-in-a-Box™, however, we can overcome these limitations,” he says. “Our warehouses may fit in a box, but our thinking certainly doesn’t.”
Another project initiated last year was for USAID Mozambique – a $7.6-million pharmaceutical warehouse in Mozambique’s Nampula region in the north. “This traditional warehouse enhances the pharmaceutical distribution network in Mozambique, as well as storage capacity for the distribution of quality medicines,” explains Haigh.
Haigh and his team are excited about the projects Resolve Capacity is involved with. “We know that in addition to job creation and local business development during construction, our projects have a significant positive impact on distribution networks in their regions,” concludes Haigh. “We are also helping alleviate the supply chain infrastructure challenges our continent is facing, and moving the African economy forward through enabling growth and development.”