In this section you will learn:
- The benefits of an Electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS)
- Nine questions to answer before implementing eLMIS
- Whether you should outsource an eLMIS
- The process to outsource an eLMISOptions for eLMIS systems
Information is the engine that drives the logistics cycle and enables the logistics system to run smoothly. It is important that the information being gathered is managed so it can be used to inform decision making. An Electronic Logistics Management Information System (eLMIS) is a system that can be used for management of supply chain data. An eLMIS can support the outsourcing process through the provision of data and insights to support decision making and by increasing accountability through accurate, real-time tracking and reporting. It enhances the administration of critical health supply logistics such as forecasting, analytics, warehousing, inventory management, and performance management. A strong eLMIS ensures visibility and communication of supply chain data to supply chain managers for good decision-making and is a critical tool for data management.
Nine questions to answer before implementing an eLMIS
There are nine key questions to pose to supply chain managers before implementing an eLMIS in an organisation. They are:
1. Do you already have an effective Logistics Management Information System process in place?
Using a pre-existing Logistics Management Information System (LMIS) – with the roles and responsibilities clearly defined and procedures generally followed – will help identify the functional requirements and essential data elements that are currently being captured versus data that should be captured.
2. Do you have enough time to properly implement an eLMIS?
Smaller systems for smaller organisations may need one or two months; however, as the scale increases, the implementation may require six months to one year.
3. Do you have the financial resources?
It is important to know the cost of implementation. It is also important to understand the added value to justify the cost and enable advocacy. A budget will allow for proper planning, accountability, and visibility into the progress of the eLMIS implementation.
4. Do you have senior leadership buy-in and support?
Do you have the buy-in of the senior leadership of your organisation? Will they be champions for the project and follow through on important decisions? Are institutional policy changes required with support from senior leadership?
5. Can the system be integrated/is it compatible?
Given the sensitive data and multifunctional uses of various applications, consider of how well a new piece of software can be integrated with the rest of your systems.
6. Do you have the appropriate staff to manage the system?
Your choice of eLMIS software also depends on the staff in your organisation. If you have an in-house IT department, do they support your choice of software? This is important as your IT staff will run, monitor, and keep the software working.
7. Cloud versus client-side storage?
If the security of your information is a concern, for instance, you may want to trust and invest in your own secure servers. The advantage of using cloud storage is the flexibility of the storage space.
8. Do you have the appropriate system support and backup?
It is recommended that all systems have a backup and a support plan as a mandatory practice. The level of support depends on the actual company behind the software so make sure that their backup is adequate to meet the needs of IT team or department.
9. Do you have the potential to grow?
If in the short term, you expect to take on new activities and functions within the LMIS, software that can accommodate, adapt, and expand with your business is recommended.
Purpose and process of outsourcing the implementation of an eLMIS
There are several key considerations to make before implementing an eLMIS, such as whether there is an existing LMIS in place, time and financial requirements for the implementation of a new system, and requisite support from leadership. These considerations are incorporated in the nine questions above. It is important to have the right level of know-how for an eLMIS. Often private sector partners offer advanced systems and technologies and specialised, established expertise in this function. Outsourcing to the private sector provides the public sector with access to this expertise. It can be a faster and more cost-effective approach than retaining the function in-house.
How to outsource
By answering the nine key questions candidly, supply chain managers can identify their current system needs. Thereafter, supply chain managers will identify the type of system they require and begin the search for a suitable private sector partner to provide technical assistance during the implementation of an eLMIS.
Options for eLMIS
There are various eLMIS systems available and multiple private sector partners who represent suitable potential candidates for outsourcing of eLMIS. This Outsourcing Toolkit explores three eLMIS models: OpenLMIS, Logistimo and the Stock Visibility System (SVS). Logistimo, John Snow, Inc. and VillageReach (OpenLMIS) offer good examples of private vendors who have developed or implemented eLMIS in African countries.