Effective and efficient contraceptive logistics are essential for assuring the continuous availability of a range of quality contraceptive methods so that contraceptive security can be achieved. An effective logistics system must get the RIGHT goods in the RIGHT quantity in the RIGHT condition to the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time and for the RIGHT cost. In order to achieve this, the following steps are needed:
- Select the right product based on customer demand and with the goal of offering the widest variety of choices while keeping management systems simple.
- Conduct regular quantification exercises. This includes forecasting the amount needed using population data, service statistics, logistics monitoring data, and supply planning to specify the quantities and costs of contraceptives needed.
- Maximize the quality of the product by maximizing the quality of the storage. This includes storing enough to meet projected needs while carefully monitoring expiration dates and available space.
The ultimate goal of a logistics management system is to minimize losses due to overstock, waste, expiry, damage, pilferage, and inefficiency while avoiding stock outs. In order to do this, there are three essential data items:
- Stock on hand,
- Losses and adjustments
- Rate of consumption
This requires recording consumption/utilization data, recording the movement of supplies, and maintaining an inventory of stocked supplies. From this information, a program defines a maximum stock level, a minimum stock level, and an emergency order point; and maintains a safety stock. When deciding upon these variables, one keeps in mind seasonality, the reliability of supply at higher levels, and preparing for unknown events.
Regular monitoring and evaluation provides feedback to gauge system performance, to report results, and helps determine where resources and assistance is needed. To ensure contraceptives reach the intended client or destination, adequate funding for purchasing contraceptives and the operation of the supply chain is essential.
Key Contraceptive Logistics Resources:
- Logistics Handbook: A Practical Guide for Supply Chain Managers in Family Planning and Health Programs (USAID DELIVER, 2009). Includes information on developing and managing logistics systems. Available in English, Spanish and French.
- K4Health Contraceptive Security Toolkit (K4Health, 2011)
- e-Learning Courses on Supply Chain Management (JSI). To help logisticians gain the skills they need, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT developed a series of computer-based training courses in supply chain management. The courses are free of charge.
 USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 1. 2011. The Logistics Handbook: A Practical Guide for the Supply Chain Management of Health Commodities. Arlington, Va.: USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, Task Order 1.