A decision-making resource for ministries of health and organisations affiliated to public health who are considering outsourcing as an option to improve supply chain performance.

This toolkit is a repository of outsourcing guides including tools, practices, and processes to optimise both decision-making and implementation. The toolkit is sourced from public- and private- sector experiences and initiatives across Africa, as well as good practices identified from around the world.

In the Outsourcing Toolkit you will learn:

  • How to approach outsourcing as an offering that improves healthcare service provision
  • How outsourcing is applied based on its demonstrated benefits across a portfolio of countries
  • How to establish the purpose of an outsourcing initiative, the roles and responsibilities for execution, as well as performance expectations
  • How to develop an investment case by reviewing the costs and benefits of outsourcing compared to using in-house capabilities
  • How to conduct a rigorous vendor evaluation and selection process
  • How to develop an approach for managing organisational transitioning that includes strategic and operational risk mitigation strategies
  • How to ensure appropriate levels of management oversight through monitoring risk and performance against expectations
  • How to use the Outsourcing Toolkit and Framework to achieve the above

The OSTK is available to download in the following languages and versions *

* Please note that the French and Portuguese versions are still a work in progress. Future versions of the OSTK in French and Portuguese will be made available here.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing involves hiring a party outside an organisation to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the organisation’s own employees and staff. Outsourcing in the supply chain is a process of moving a segment, or segments, of the supply chain from within the organisation to an outside supplier. Examples of supply chain segments that can be transitioned to outside suppliers include production, procurement, warehousing, distribution, transport, etc.

When managed optimally, supply chain outsourcing is a value-enhancing activity assisting an organisation to focus on core competencies and to deliver increased customer value. Outsourcing provides access to facilities, knowledge, and capabilities that were initially inaccessible or unaffordable, and the chance to leverage these resources. Typically, skills and expertise considered non-essential focus areas of the organisation are outsourced. Outsourcing can reduce financial and labour costs by lowering necessary investment in property, equipment, assets, and vehicles for segments such as transportation, warehousing, and network systems.

Why have an outsourcing toolkit?

The toolkit is a guide and reference document that supports a ministry of health and other public health supply chain organisations to improve supply chain performance through outsourcing. The toolkit identifies approaches and experiences that can positively impact healthcare delivery and improve the performance of country supply chains. It provides steps, processes, practices and tools for those at various stages of their outsourcing journey.

Who should use this toolkit?

This toolkit was created for use by government departments and partners. If you are in senior management at a ministry of health, central medical stores, logistics agency or in the procurement, finance and treasury department you will find this toolkit valuable. It is also applicable to implementing partners or donors.

If you work in pharmacy or laboratory services you can explore how the OSTK framework is applied to pharmacy and laboratory services:

How to navigate OSTKonline

  • The site is designed to be read as you would a book or PDF by paging to the next page. However, we have also built-in links on many pages should you wish to navigate to linked content.
  • We recommend using the "NEXT:" button on the bottom left of every page to navigate sequentially through the site.
  • If you've clicked a link and would like to return the page you were on, use the back page button on your web browser on the top-left of the navigation bar. Usually located left of where you type in the URL.
  • To easily navigate between sections and pages in the document use the three white lines in the top left-hand corner to view all the pages. Click on any page to navigate directly to it.
  • You can use the navigation bar at the top of every page to quickly navigate between Process Steps, Enabler Tools and Case Studies. The navigation bar at the bottom of every page allows you to access the About, Framework, Tool Index, Acknowledgements and Contact pages. If you click on the OSTK logo on any page it will return you to this page.

We suggest that you go through the toolkit in the order it has been created. Start with Process Steps and move to Enabler Tools. If you are coming back after working through everything or are only curious about one or two areas, you can navigate to the section that is most applicable to you using the navigation bar at the top of the page. For specific guidelines on how the outsourcing toolkit is designed, visit the Framework page.

Who developed this toolkit?

The Outsourcing Toolkit (OSTK) project is directed by Africa Resource Centre (ARC), with the delivery team – Lighthouse Strategic Leadership (LSL). The OSTK has been developed with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more about the development on the Acknowledgements page.