Improving local supply chain to bring traceability and transparency in the HIV drug resistance
For those of you who do not know Los Pollos Hermanos, it was a fictional fast-food restaurant chain from the HBO series Breaking Bad that specialized in fried chicken operating across the southwestern United States. They also had a logistics network for drugs that inspired us as theirs was vertically integrated, fully controlled and highly optimized (albeit with an illegal type of drug). The goal for this hackathon is to shed some light on the Supply Chain to create traceability and transparency on the flaws in the current Supply Chain. This because unavailability of drug is an important contributor to HIV Drug Resistance (HIVDR).
There is a huge amount of untapped potential and growth opportunities in sub-Saharan African countries that just does not have the data to fully research and exploit it. The pharmaceutical supply chain in general is ‘hidden’ in the sense that there are a lot of unknown stations packages travel through before it ends up at the patient.
We would like to increase visibility on the HIV medication supply chain by developing two use cases:
- Linehaul tracking using IoT sensors to track the medication. To track the drugs from producer to the distributer we built an IoT sensor which can be attached to a package/pallet that sends out its location and time. An API then picks up this data and pushes it to a database on which real time visualization can be done. This gives you full traceability of the linehaul part of the supply chain just until the moment the goods are split up from bigger groups of packets.
- Last mile tracking using an app for HIV medication. We created an app that allows patients to not only see where the stock of HIV medication is available, but also to request that medication. It works very similarly to Deliveroo in the sense that there are customers which request goods and there are riders which transport them.
These two cases will generate the needed visibility of the supply chain of medication through space and time on for optimization and visualization purposes.
First and foremost, this system will allow to have full Tracability & Transparency, at last. Not only does it tell us the flow of the drug, it enables us to identify the current stock locations with their respective inventories.
Based on these insights, very concrete action plans can be drawn based on this data.
On the short term, one can identify possible shortages early on, as well as areas with low availability.
On the middle term, this data can serve as an enabler for rationalization and optimization of the distribution system. Indeed, it enables to locate the bottlenecks and painpoints in the supply chain. Furthermore, it will uncover rationalization opportunities by cutting out the middle men. This will not only result in a more efficient distribution system, but also in a cost reduction, which is a not unimportant factor in developing countries .
And finally on the long term, the database will be filled with history, which will allow to identify even more trends and patterns. These insights can finally result in less obvious benefits.
Last but not least, as extra: this system allows a close follow-up of the transport conditions. This allows early detection of deteriorated drugs by bad conditions (temperature, humidity). These drugs can be removed and will hence not generate further costs downstream.
One may think this is less applicable for HIV drug, but this shows the value and scalability of the system to other drug transports as well, such as vaccines.
To conclude: all this can be done with no dependency form local teams and no roll-out of any systems locally. This is often a hurdle and a bottleneck for current systems.