Logistimo improves lives and businesses by strengthening supply chains to connect remote communities to essential products, services and opportunities. They have a mobile-enabled platform for supply chain management that provides inventory management, order management, demand forecasting, inventory optimization, remote temperature monitoring (for cold-chains) and transportation logistics management. Logistimo’s software and solutions help organizations working in low resource regions – typically rural areas with poor infrastructure and limited human capacity – improve accessibility. Their technology and efforts secure critical supply chains for health, energy & agriculture in 7 countries across the world. In India, their focus is on increasing access to healthcare for rural communities and they have partnered with the UNDP and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to ensure reach and efficacy.
The COVIDActionCollab (CAC) spoke with Mr. Arun Ramanujapuram (Co-Founder and CTO of Logistimo) to discuss their COVID-19 response.
What have been your key actions and initiatives around the COVID-19 response?
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak there was a critical shortage of medical supplies (personal protective equipment or PPEs, antigen tests, medicines, etc.) across the country. 22 states in India were already using our platform to provide medicines and other healthcare essentials to rural areas. 8 of these states responded quickly, brought COVID-19 related materials to the system and were able to gain immediate visibility into supply, demand and stock at every node until the last mile. Given that everyone was already proficient in using our platform, it was easy for them to adapt and deploy the required products and services.
We also deployed a few configurations and COVID-19 specific dashboards or Bulletin Boards, as we call them, to our existing platform. These dashboards give users a macro-level view of the situation on the ground – including stock availability, overstocking or understocking, etc. – on a continuous basis to aid them in effectively monitoring and managing supplies.
Then, there was the issue of the enormous amount of hazardous bio-medical waste that was being generated as a result of the pandemic. This waste, if not managed carefully, poses a serious risk to both patients and healthcare workers. We adapted Logistimo Snapshot, a data-collection and analytics tool, for enabling assessments of infrastructure, awareness and procedures for bio-medical waste disposal, logistics of waste disposal, and so forth.
With other partners, we are monitoring supplies for COVID-19 diagnostic laboratories across the country.
What did your actions or initiatives lead to?
States across India were already using our platform before the COVID-19 crises. This meant that there was no training, pilot or testing required and the deployment of essential supplies to tackle the situation was immediate. Our platform was also adapted and updated quickly to respond to the need on the ground. Because of this, we now have nearly 100 COVID-19 medical supplies, equipment, and consumables being managed in over 1000 COVID-19 designated units across 8 states of India.
Would you like to share any stories of impact that have emerged from the field?
In March and April of this year, because of lockdowns and the unilateral focus on COVID-19 response, the immunization of babies in India dropped significantly. This drop was visible and measurable to the states that were using our platform and the government was able to take data-driven action to rectify the situation. Even the Central Government rallied resources to correct the problem and acknowledged on a national webinar the value of our platform in helping them do this.
How do you plan to leverage the COVIDActionCollab?
The COVIDActionCollab has been a great platform for us to learn from and engage with other organizations responding to the pandemic. The series of webinars have introduced us to new ideas and perspectives and challenged us to do better.
The CAC also asked us to share our experience and expertise at a talk they organized for all the doctors in their network. In this forum we were able to address issues such as supply imbalances and lack of coordination between hospital networks, particularly in the large cities of India. We advocated the use of a platform for displaying inventory levels and cooperation between hospitals to bridge gaps in demand and supply. Presenting this idea, and the long term economic and healthcare benefits of it, to this group would not have been possible without the CAC.
Overall, we are very happy to be a part of the Collaborative because to be able to survive this pandemic, we have to work together.
What are some of the learnings and insights you would like to share?
Our key takeaway has been that tools that are easy to use and less restrictive, get adopted faster and organically even during an emergency. Remote training and Standard Operating Procedure guidance for using such platforms is feasible given there are already local resources with prior competency. This makes it easy to get things up and running quickly and effectively.
More generally, the biggest learning for all is that it is important to strengthen public health supply chains with good information systems that can provide last-mile visibility, whenever there is a chance. This makes such systems resilient and responsive to a pandemic or any other disaster situation.
Written by Jaya Raizada
Jaya Raizada is a senior fundraising and partnerships specialist currently working with an Anti Human Trafficking organization in India.