Planning and quantification
Supply planning is an essential leverage point to successful supply operations. A good supply plan will answer the basic questions of ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ to get the right medicines, devices and equipment delivered on-time to the intended users with the best possible value for money. Forecasting means estimation of the quantity and type of essential medicines, devices and equipment (e.g. vaccines and long-lasting insecticidal nets) and required financing necessary to meet the set objectives. Robust forecasts help suppliers in production planning, whilst poor forecasting may result in delays or shortfalls in delivery, as well as in additional costs. Although not all goods need detailed forecasting, all procurement requires planning.
Planning may also involve supplier assessments and inspections, as well as sample evaluations and testing. Prequalification is another form of quality assurance activity and ensure continuing compliance with specifications and established standards of quality and that candidate vaccines are suitable for the target population and meet the needs of the programmes. “The prequalification of products and suppliers involves verifying manufacturers' claims about quality assurance, good manufacturing practice and other standards, and the quality and safety of commodities such as medicines and tests. Many countries and programmes lack adequate testing laboratories and the process of verifying supplier claims about quality is time-consuming and requires special expertise.”1
1 (WHO website)