The availability of medical supplies in ICRC’s health facilities is a prerequisite to their life-saving work in conflict zones. The downstream material flow to these often remote and dangerous locations depends upon the upstream flow of information as input to forecasting and planning processes. Information delay, distortion, or amplification can result in stockouts, which alternate with (often expiring) overstocks. Material can only flow to the right place at the right time if information flows correctly. In other words, the availability of life-saving material in hospitals depends on effective planning processes, which are, in turn, dependent on the timely flow of correct and complete demand information. The disruption or distortion of these information flows results in dysfunctional, underperforming systems, which have been observed at the ICRC. ICRC’s experience with this problem has produced strong but untested hypotheses of the root causes of demand distortion. However, the data has not yet been collected and recorded in a standardized, consolidated way.

ETHZ PI: Prof. Stephan Wagner, Logistics Management, D-​MTEC

Partner(s): Rubén Naval Artal, ICRC

Secure Infrastructure for Humanitarian Organisations