This is my second posting of observations and commentary related to events at this year’s Annual Conference of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

This morning’s keynote was fascinating as well as uplifting.  It was sponsored by the MIT Global SCALE Network, and outlined ongoing research efforts of logistics and supply chain researchers from Zaragoza University addressing the current challenges related to the healthcare delivery needs of the developing world.  Doctor Prashant Yadav, Professor of Supply Chain Management addressed the efforts of this ongoing four year project.  The project is attempting to identify how modern supply chain tenets can be applied to the delivery of health and medicines in the developing world.

Dr. Yadav noted in his address that the world is not flat in terms of infant mortality and health outcomes in underdeveloped regions of the world such as east/central/western Africa.  Every year, over 1.2 million people die from the effects of malaria, yet the disease is readily treatable by relatively inexpensive drugs. Infant mortality rates are staggering.  Every 30 seconds, a child under the age of five, dies from the effects of malaria. The problems stem from classic supply vs. demand delivery mechanisms. A lack of even rudimentary procurement and inventory management practices.

Through the funding of the Gates and Clinton Foundations, as well as other charitable agencies, these efforts to identify and address efficient procurement, inventory and distribution methods will no doubt have a longer-term positive impact for what the supply chain profession can contribute to health and happiness.  The Zaragoza team has outlined various testing of more efficient and responsive distribution methods in Africa. Dr. Yadav further asked supply chain specialists to consider volunteering some time and functional expertise to help in these efforts.

Bob Ferrari