Technical areas: equipment

On August 2014, IAPHL members engaged in a lively discussion titled “Maintaining Our Supply Chain Assets.” Members shared experiences and best practices about maintaining a range of supply chain related equipment, including IT equipment, vehicles, basic doors and locks. The discussion was moderated by Clinton de Souza of SCMS, who lead us through the considerations needed to better maintain our valuable supply chain resources. The key takeaway message from the discussion was that maintenance, whether in the form of better tracking our services agreements or simply scheduling more frequent upkeep, can have a big impact on service to our customers.

Introductory comments from the moderator:

Major donors have spent many millions of dollars investing in capital equipment for host Government Public Health systems. One key, often overlooked, factor is the ability for these assets to realize their full, operational life cycle as a result of poor upkeep and routine maintenance. In many public health supply chain settings, it is common to see equipment such as vehicles, forklifts, security cameras, cold rooms, IT and building facilities in poor or non-functioning condition. While access to sufficient budget is a limiting factor, a preventative or proactive approach to appropriate maintenance is often lacking.

The overarching objectives of this discussion are:

* Explore the areas of maintaining our supply chain assets properly

* Development and adoption of a practical maintenance agreements, rules, schedules, responsibilities and authority including the adoption of preventative maintenance checklists (see attached examples)

* Procurement strategies including maintenance contract management. This includes the alignment between the administrative (procurer) and operational (user) parts of the supply

Selected comments from IAPHL member participants:

A good maintenance plan should include preventive AND unscheduled maintenance. Preventive maintenance can be scheduled and budgeted for, and good preventive maintenance can greatly reduce the amount of unscheduled maintenance. Even with the best preventive maintenance, though, some unscheduled maintenance will be needed.  A maintenance plan should also include replacement planning. Because every equipment item and facility has an economic “life expectancy”, our maintenance plan should include some consideration of when we will replace the item — and how we’ll pay for it. –Roger Miller (USA)

l would like to include vehicle tracking devices as part of the maintenance of equipment.
In situations where drivers are sent to deliver goods without officers onboard, who checks to know what happens on the return journey. There’re occasions vehicles have changed their course to alternative routes to pick authorized loads and trucks broken down. As part of the measure to ensure that vehicles are in good condition, such equipment should be included to ensure that vehicles are used for their intended purposes in order to reduce downtime when they breakdown.– David Nyarko Duke (Ghana)

It makes sense to have in place a maintenance plan supported with a scheduled long term contract. This will help the country in the sense that there is no need to throw out RFPs whenever the maintenance is due.  That if the same firm is handling the maintenance over some period, they will most likely understand to detail the behavior of certain equipment as opposed to having a new firm on board every time there is need. Demanding periodic reports from such a vendor would also be valuable. –Andrew Kaggwa (Uganda)

For those of you that are responsible for maintaining your fleet of vehicles, one web site to research is http://www.automotive-management-services.com/ I attended an ISOA sponsored event here in Washington DC at which Mr. Keith Lynch, their Director, Government and Defense made a presentation, along with the Sr Dir Logistics for MSH and others. I do not personally know the maintenance market, but this is an example of one company that is both performing the functions required for fleet management and maintenance, and which is also committed to hiring and training local staff to execute the work required.—Joe McKinney (USA)

I would like for us to take a step backwards to emphasize the importance of bid evaluation.
My experience is that suppliers naturally try to respond in their bids to as much of the tender requirements as possible. It is not always easy, upfront, to tell how reliable the information provided is. For example, on the matter of local presence and capacity, documentary evidence is not always sufficient; but one should sometimes actually go out to visit a couple of locations. If the winning bid has provided a maintenance service as a subcontract, e.g. local agent, it is important to look into the fine print of the subcontract. If the subcontract and/or subcontractor is weak and unreliable, to that extent will your contractor also be in this regard, no matter how “big” the brand. –Murtada Sessay (Sierra Leone)

In the private sector, the role of Assets Management System (AMS) or tool to track equipment maintenance is well understood. However, this is not the case in public sector equipment maintenance. My perspective of AMS is not just to track inventory of equipment but to determine cost of ownership, equipment longivity, replacement strategy,vendor performance etc. Most often, when we talk about AMS in the public sector, people refer to Excel spreadsheet that has updated list of equipment. There is an urgent need for the public sector to use this tool (whether excel spreadsheet or software) to track cost of ownership. –Farouk Umaru

Maintaining Our Supply Chain Assets