Logistics & Procurement

One of the Standard Days Method® (SDM)'s key advantages is that the method does not involve recurring commodity costs. In most programs the SDM is offered in conjunction with CycleBeads®, a simple tool that allows users to easily monitor their fertile and infertile days. CycleBeads are estimated to have a product life of more than 2 years, and the estimated annualized cost is approximately US$1.25. This makes the SDM cost-effective and represents a major advantage for both programs and users.
Key Actions for Logistics & Procurement
1. Assess demand for CycleBeads 
When the SDM is initially introduced the demand for the method and CycleBeads will usually be low. But by training providers and increasing client awareness, demand will increase over time. IRH’s experience in typical program introductions suggests that the percent of new family planning users who choose the SDM and CycleBeads will range between 2 and 15 percent in the first year, depending on the setting and promotion efforts. The CycleBeads® Procurement Forecasting Worksheet helps program managers assess the demand for CycleBeads and compare costs of various procurement options.
2. Assess the best method of supplying CycleBeads 
CycleBeads are available worldwide through the U.S.-based licensed manufacturer/distributor, Cycle Technologies. They can be purchased in bulk (special pricing has been arranged for programs supported by USAID), in increments of over 500 sets. Order forms for USAID-supported programs and others can be obtained through info@cyclebeads.com. Programs can purchase the complete CycleBeads product set including simple, user-friendly instructional inserts (available in English, French and Spanish) and calendars. Alternatively, in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and based on licensing agreement, they can import the CycleBeads only, with calendars and inserts adapted and produced locally. Once the demand for CycleBeads has been established, countries with high levels of demand and local capacity for manufacturing and quality control may want to consider local production. Guidance in making this assessment also is available in the Potential Market for CycleBeads®: A Basic Model for Estimating Demand (linked below).
3. Develop a timeline for procurement and international shipping of CycleBeads. 
Cycle Technologies is able to ship CycleBeads within two weeks of receiving an order. While ocean shipping usually is the most cost-effective, arrangements can be made for express delivery of an initial supply (typically 500-1000 sets).
4. Incorporate CycleBeads into the logistics system

Having a sufficient supply of CycleBeads for training providers, conducting IEC activities, and distributing to clients is critical for success. Most programs have central distribution and inventory systems into which they can incorporate CycleBeads.
5. Determine whether CycleBeads will be sold to end users, and if so, establish price to the consumer (SDM user).

Programs must decide whether users will be charged for CycleBeads, or whether it will be provided without charge, based on their existing system and whether there are service fees. Service fees for the SDM can be incorporated into the fee payment system that exists for the other methods, and this has generally proven to be acceptable. Some programs provide methods free of charge; others are dispensed based upon a sliding fee scale and others are purchased at local pharmacies. If the decision is made to offer SDM free of charge, programs will need to determine how they will sustain SDM services for the long term.