Phases of Project Last Mile

As the partnership took shape, the work in Tanzania began to unfold in three phases. Partners agreed on a flexible approach to addressing the issues given that a collaboration of this nature was new to TCCC, The Global Fund, and the public health sector in Tanzania. 

Phase 0: Rapid Assessment

In February 2010, Phase 0 began with a four-week assessment of delivery logistics in Tanzania. The assessment was completed by a consultant from The Supply Chain Lab who has more than 15 years of experience of working with TCCC and its bottlers on their own supply chain issues. Instead of recommending that TCCC actually deliver or store MSD products, the assessment identified opportunities for a knowledge transfer partnership focused on last mile logistics, route scheduling, development of key performance indicators, and the creation of systems to enable MSD to monitor customer needs and service requirements.

Refer to Phase 0 Rapid Assessment Report for details.

Phase I: Defining Targeted Work Streams

Encouraged by the findings of the rapid assessment, the partners decided to undertake a more comprehensive assessment to identify the root causes of stock outs across the supply chain. A four-person team from ADP arrived at the MSD central office in Dar es Salaam in August 2010, launching Phase I. Over the next eight weeks, they completed a full end-to-end review of the MSD’s supply chain, including surveys, interviews, and data collection in the field.

The Phase I assessment was designed to understand MSD’s current operations and capabilities and identify TCCC practices that could be transferred to MSD to address issues around supply chain management. With over 5,000 facilities and more than 3,300 different products to deliver, MSD was struggling with stock outs, incomplete orders and unreliable delivery schedules. Factors outside MSD’s control such as reliance on payments from governments and donors for purchases also caused serious delays in the supply chain. With these factors in mind, and taking into account best practices from Coca-Cola bottlers in Tanzania and ADP’s supply chain expertise, ADP identified several improvement opportunities within MSD’s control, designed into three major work streams.

  1. Last Mile Logistics: to develop an optimized last mile logistics methodology to assist MSD in direct delivery following the pilot in Tanga. 
  2. Core Planning: to develop an effective sales and operational meeting structure and process.
  3. Talent Management: to develop core competencies in supply chain management at MSD through online trainings and build capabilities to manage performance within the organization. 

Refer to the Phase I: ADP Assessment Observations, November 2010 for more detail.

For the final months of Phase I, the ADP team developed and piloted interventions in each of the work streams. As Phase I came to a close in January of 2011, a wrap-up meeting was held to discuss the outcomes and potential next steps. The partners perceived of the value of continuing the project and after a three month hiatus, Phase II began to take shape.

Phase II: Refinement and Implementation

The goal of Phase II was to further develop and implement activities in each of the three work streams identified in Phase I. Three months had passed since the end of Phase I, and ADP team was now comprised of a new consultant in each of the three work streams. A launch workshop was held in May 2011 to bring the new work teams together, share hopes and concerns for the partnership, and confirm that the three work streams still met the needs of MSD.

The work outlined for Phase II included;

  • Last Mile Logistics – Validate, implement and scale the optimized direct delivery network, bringing medicines all the way to primary health facilities instead of district warehouses. Tasks included locating health facilities on a map, comparing Llamasoft to Excel network optimization capabilities based on MSD’s needs and capacities, and evaluating MSD’s outsourcing options.
  • Core Planning – Strengthen core planning processes with MSD. This included supporting interdepartmental stock tracking meetings to proactively manage procurement, designing supplier scorecards, and integrating with a simultaneous implementation of new stock management software.
  • Talent Management – Strengthen existing human resource management systems to ensure an effective workforce.  This work included reviewing existing human resource plans, determining individualized learning series, and rolling out the Supply Chain Academy.

This phase was characterized by much closer collaboration between ADP and MSD in daily operations, as ADP found strategies that enabled them to better work with their MSD colleagues. For example, ADP moved from their offices to the MSD planning and procurement offices and changed their engagement strategy to increase discussion and dialogue.

Refer to Phase II Launch, May 2011 for details on the work streams

Phase II lasted for five months, from April 2011 to August 2011. Despite the excitement and the possibilities of the project, it took some time and energy to convince partners the need for continued funding to support ADP and MSD to sustain activities introduced in Phase II.

Phase III Integration and Scale Up
The partners worked hard to mobilize resources for continued engagement in Tanzania, but budget constraints delayed the arrival of new ADP consultants, resulting in some lost time between the end of Phase II (August 2011) and the beginning of Phase III (October 2012). The goal of Phase III was to drive expansion of the project initiatives into new geographic areas across Tanzania, obtain more tangible impacts from the interventions, and ensure that MSD had the required level of capacity to fully internalize the new ways of working.

The partners designed the scope and approach of the work streams to put MSD in the “driver’s seat” and to lay a stronger foundation for continued collaboration between Coca-Cola bottlers and MSD in the future. Working alongside ADP, an MSD staff person was assigned to lead each work stream. Although TCCC was engaged in the partnership, the bottlers are independent companies with their own struggles and business pressures. As a result, there was little interaction between MSD and bottlers at Coca-Cola Kwanza in the previous phases. This was further complicated by high staff turnover at Coca-Cola Kwanza, requiring connection and rapport to be re-established several times. In Phase III, however, MSD staff interacted frequently with local bottlers at Coca-Cola Kwanza, who shared best practice tools, processes and technologies in distribution and logistics, planning and procurement, and performance management with MSD.

Phase III included a fourth work stream, Monitoring and Evaluation, designed to build MSD’s capacity to measure organizational performance and evaluate ongoing activities. At the heart of this work stream was the creation of a Balanced Score Card for reporting a diverse range of metrics across all work streams to underpin a more quantitative measurement of partnership impact over time. 

Refer to Phase III Launch, October 2012  for key objectives for each work stream.

 Background Resources 

Fighting AIDS in Tanzania by Slate, June 2011.  Read the news article about Coca-Cola's partnership with the MSD.

Public-Private Partnerships: Where can companies contribute? Read this brief assessment conducted by the Tielman Nieuwoudt, offers targeted advice for businesses with an interest in partnering to improve health systems in Tanzania.

Improving Access to Essential Medicines Through Public-Private Partnerships by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, July 2011.  Read about using PPPs to improve distribution for essential health products based on data from Tanzania.

 Partners' Perspectives

"The first two phases were really the learning laboratory phases…we’re not just dealing with supply chain issues but actually learning the context that we were supporting.  A big step in phase III is that we could actually kind of hit the ground running in that we knew the context straight away...As a result of that clarity, we were also able to communicate a clearer need to our Coke bottler in-country of the types of support we needed from their side.  As a result of that, it’s been a more action orientated phase.  It’s been a more focused phase and it’s been a phase where, from a Coca Cola Tanzania perspective, there’s been a lot more direct engagement.” Coca-Cola Official