A well-designed and functional supply chain is a critical element of any national health system. In order to move products efficiently, health system managers need visibility into all levels and functions of the supply chain through access to timely and accurate data. A strong logistics management information system (LMIS) serves as the backbone of the supply chain by allowing visibility into its various levels, programs, and functions and thereby providing critical data to health managers for decision-making.
As supply chains evolve and mature in public health systems, demand is increasing for accurate real or near real-time data to identify obstacles and increase efficiency. Countries are increasingly turning to electronic LMIS solutions to professionalize and automate their data collection processes, thereby enabling logisticians to quickly and easily collect data, improve delivery, and get critical health commodities to those who need them most. With greater frequency, health system managers are choosing open source electronic LMIS options because they lack licensing fees and simultaneously offer a high degree of flexibility and customization options targeted specifically toward their specific supply chain needs.
Because implementing any new electronic LMIS takes significant time and effort at all phases of the project, it’s important that all stakeholders understand and accept the commitment. The adoption of any LMIS is a long-term commitment which can significantly bolster the professionalism and efficiency of the supply chain processes.
There are three important points to understand about implementing an electronic LMIS:
OpenLMIS is distributed as free and open source software (FOSS) – software that has been released under a license which allows anyone to view, copy, modify, and redistribute its source code. The OpenLMIS code and all related documentation is publicly available in online repositories (see the Tools section of openlmis.org for a full list of resources) and the software may be installed and customized without ever paying a licensing fee.
As an open source initiative, all OpenLMIS code, documentation, and community discussions are openly shared and accessible. The OpenLMIS communities’ vision is of shared investment and shared benefit. We believe that everybody ultimately gains when software is free to use and improve.
The resources listed below will benefit a variety of different stakeholders. As with every other facet of OpenLMIS, you are welcome to adapt any of them to your needs. For example, your team may wish to add slides to the PowerPoint presentation highlighting examples of implementations similar to those that your stakeholders care about.
Every implementation of an electronic LMIS system will be different; therefore, the implementation team required to support a deployment will vary depending on the size, scope, and location of the project.
In any implementation, however, there are several major activity categories that will likely require support from a specific person or people.
In order to cover and manage these activities, an implementation team would likely include several positions:
Depending on the organization as well as the scope and resources of the implementation, the team could be larger. For example:
Though the exact makeup of the team will vary, any implementation team should ensure they have included has sufficient human resources and necessary skills to fill each of the key roles for the implementation.
Determining the scope of an implementation can have several meanings, but for this purposes of this Toolkit, “implementation scope” refers to where and how OpenLMIS will be deployed. Understanding the scope at an early stage in the project will help align thinking and effectively present a project to stakeholders and financing partners in order to best determine budgets, requirements, and a timeline.
OpenLMIS is a large application that is highly configurable and customizable. As such, accurately deciding on the scope for an implementation is a critical step in setting your project up for success.
To determine the overall scope of an OpenLMIS implementation, the team will need to define these variables: