TOKYO: March 09, 2017. The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and NEC Corporation are to develop the first supply chain visibility platform for pandemic response, with an initial grant of US$1 million from the government of Japan.
The WFP and NEC will design a logistics visualization system for the Global Pandemic Supply Chain (PSC) Network that will enable end-to-end tracking of aid items, such as protective clothing and medical equipment, in a country facing an emergency.
Creation of the PSC Network was prompted by a review of how aid agencies responded to the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014. In addition to the WFP and NEC, founding members include the UPS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, Henry Schein, Becton, and Dickinson & Co.
During the Ebola pandemic the international aid responders faced severe warehousing and distribution capacity constraints, limited visibility of the overall supply and demand of critical items, access constraints caused by border closures, and a lack of public-private sector coordination.
By bringing together logistics supply information and enabling the analysis of supply chain inefficiencies, the new information platform is expected to improve response times, save costs and use resources better, said NEC. Other key functions will include reporting, data integration with existing logistics systems, and in-country warehouse management.
"It is widely recognized that the global health architecture could be reinforced with improved supply chain platform to enable better preparation and faster response time for pandemics," said Hideaki Chotoku, director of the Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Relief Division at Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The Japanese government welcomes and is proud to support the PSC Network which also involves Japanese IT technology. We look forward to monitoring its progress in designing this innovative tool," he added.