PROGRAMS   TECHNOLOGY  
 
The Humanitarian Technology Solutions program at Fritz Institute develops technology systems to address the unique supply chain needs of humanitarian organizations. Our solutions seek to solve common challenges facing humanitarian organizations and donors including:
  • Increased relief chain velocity
  • Increased timeliness and accuracy of information for decision-makers at headquarters and in the field
  • Enhanced institutional memory across the relief chain
  • Improved return on donation
In September 2004, Fritz Institute was named a Tech Laureate by The Technology Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA), a prestigious award given annually in recognition of social entrepreneurs who successfully leverage technology to benefit mankind.

Problem
Natural and man-made disasters affect over 200 million people around the world annually. In the aftermath of a disaster, aid agencies providing supplies, resources and expertise are the first line of defense for affected populations. However, a lack of available funding to invest in infrastructure, processes and tools has resulted in inadequate technology systems for effective disaster relief response.

Extensive research conducted by Fritz Institute after the December 2004 tsunami demonstrated the extent to which the lack of technology solutions hindered effective response: among the 18 largest global humanitarian organizations, only 26% had access to software that provided 'track and trace' capabilities to help anticipate the receipt of procured goods in the field. Most relied on homegrown technologies, solutions using Excel spreadsheets, or pencil and paper processes for tracking goods in the field. Fritz Institute believes that commercial best practices in technology and process improvement - adapted to the unique context of disasters - have the potential to stretch relief dollars, increase operational efficiencies, and improve aid delivery to people in need.

Program History
The Humanitarian Technology Solutions program at Fritz Institute launched with the development of its flagship product, Humanitarian Logistics Software (HLS). Fully implemented in September 2003, HLS was built in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to address their unique supply chain needs. IFRC's response to several recent relief efforts has benefited from HLS, including the December 2004 tsunami where it is being used to coordinate relief in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldive, and Myanmar. IFRC estimates that HLS has contributed to a 20-30% efficiency gain in these efforts.

Next Steps
As a result of the tsunami, leading NGOs - including World Vision International, Save the Children, Merlin and several local Indonesian and Sri Lankan organizations - have made urgent requests to Fritz Institute for immediate deployment of a "next-generation" HLS platform to help coordinate and track the myriad of supplies and donations entering the region.

In response, Fritz Institute is developing Humanitarian Supply Chain Software (HSCS), a web-based "ASP" solution, which will provide complete visibility across the humanitarian supply chain from mobilization to warehouse. HSCS will enable simultaneous use of the software by multiple NGOs providing recovery and long-term reconstruction services in the most impacted areas. Many of these organizations currently employ manual, time-consuming processes and lack the infrastructure to support a full-scale software implementation; HSCS will address these issues, allowing even the smallest organization to ramp-up quickly without the encumbrance of infrastructure investment and support.

 
 
 
 
Diseases from filthy water and sanitation kill over 2 million people a year - many of them slum children.
In a disaster you need to know when to expect supplies and what is missing.
-Ahuma Adododadji, Director
Emergency Group, CARE USA
 
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