Project Impact Overview

Project Last Mile Accomplishments in Tanzania 

The collaboration in Tanzania demonstrated that private sector business practices were directly applicable to solving the challenges faced by a public organization. The outside assessments gave MSD new perspectives on its internal operations and helped drive change. MSD applied toolkits developed through this collaboration to optimize direct delivery logistics and promote cross-departmental collaboration to pro-actively prevent stock outs. Direct delivery, in particular, not only improved the corporate image of MSD but influenced the health-seeking behavior of individuals. Unlike the core planning and talent management work streams, which were occurring behind the scenes at MSD, for the first time, community members could see MSD trucks directly delivering medicines to their community health facilities. 

From the perspective of the bottlers, this project generated greater understanding of the challenges that MSD faces in delivering medicines and enabled a sense of personal fulfillment for their ability to contribute positively to the health sector in the country.  Liaisons have been set up at Coca-Cola Kwanza and MSD to work together directly and foster the ongoing relationship between the two organizations. More importantly, MSD has already begun to take take ownership of the tools and processes that were developed during the three project phases. The weekly and monthly planning meetings have been functioning well and guide key decision making without external support.  

The Balanced Score Card, created in the M&E work stream after Phase III, will be used to report a diverse of key metrics to measure impact across each work stream. Although additional data is needed to determine the full impact of the project, by tapping into local individual experience and knowledge across the Coca-Cola supply chain, Project Last Mile made significant improvements at the Central MSD level. 

Last Mile Challenges in Tanzania 

Despite these successes at the central level, challenges remain:

Although receptivity was high throughout the project, many activities of the project were time-consuming for both Coca-Cola bottlers and MSD staff. Traffic, long travel distances and meeting cancellations made it challenging to take out time from ongoing internal activities to devote to Project Last Mile. In addition, many of the activities were “individual specific,” burdening a few individuals with a range of tasks.

That’s the challenge of the project---it is also person-specific. There are people, resources committed to the project, that work with the project with MSD, and if they are here then, yes, but we don’t have it stored somewhere as part of the process there is an MSD project. We don’t have a custodian for the process per se.” Coca-Cola Kwanza Official

The lack of sustained funding for ADP engagement hindered momentum and progress of the project, as evidenced by long gaps between phases. The partners are pursuing a more formal five-year collaboration, including clear financial commitments, with the goal of avoiding these gaps. There was also limited tracking and reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify improvements.  In Phase III, a specific emphasis on monitoring and evaluation was introduced and plans for scale-up to other countries include specific plans for proactive measurement of program impact. 

It is important to note that the partnership focused on improving management processes and practices at the national level.  It is likely that rate-limiting weaknesses beyond the scope of this project, including inconsistent supply chain management practices at the health facilities, are likely to limit the project’s impact at the health facility and community level.

 Background Resources

(RED) Welcomes The Coca-Cola Company by (RED), December 1, 2011. Read the blog of TCCC join (RED)'s campaign to deliver an AIDS Free generation by 2015.

MSD Distributes Medicines to 281 Health Centres by Tanzania Daility News, April 20, 2012.  Read about MSD in the news for direct delivery.

 Partners' Perspectives

“I expect our demand planner to keep visiting their demand planner and attend their meetings. But now it’s dependent on MSD. We won’t close our doors; we have told them. If they need us, they will get us. It is also, I mean, if the project is not sustainable, if two years down the road there is no tangible benefit, if health services have not improved; then all our efforts will have been in vain, so we don’t really have a choice. We cannot close our doors.” Coca Cola Kwanza Official

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