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For Immediate Release
September 24, 2007

FRITZ INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL CORPS AS FOUNDING USER OF HELIOS -- GROUNDBREAKING SOFTWARE TO MANAGE HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS' RELIEF CHAIN

HELIOS User Group Formally Established to Guide Future Development and Sustainability

SAN FRANCISCO – Fritz Institute, a leading force in improving the delivery and effectiveness of humanitarian aid worldwide, announced today that International Medical Corps (IMC) has become the latest non-governmental organization (NGO) to embrace Fritz Institute's recently released HELIOS software. 

Under development for the past two years, HELIOS is now available to humanitarian relief organizations around the world. HELIOS provides a huge step forward in aiding humanitarian relief organizations to catalogue, track and deliver supplies to disaster victims, a process fraught with difficulty in the best of circumstances and rendered excruciatingly chaotic at precisely the times when speed is crucial and delivery conditions the most difficult.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome International Medical Corps as a founding user of HELIOS," said Lynn Fritz, chairman, Fritz Institute. "HELIOS has enormous potential to aid relief organizations in managing and coordinating humanitarian operations, and the endorsement of a leading organization such as International Medical Corps is extremely important in transforming that potential into a reality."

"Rapid delivery and tracking of humanitarian assistance is a critical factor in ensuring help reaches those most in need," said Nancy Aossey, president & CEO of International Medical Corps. "We immediately recognized that working with Fritz Institute would provide us with an opportunity to enhance the way humanitarian assistance is delivered to the communities we serve." 

Based in Los Angeles, International Medical Corps has responded to man-made and natural disasters all over the world for nearly 25 years. Since its inception, IMC's mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.

As with recently announced founding users, World Vision International and Oxfam GB, International Medical Corps has committed significant technical resources towards the testing of HELIOS as it has been developed. IMC is training its frontline logistics staff to use HELIOS.

World Vision International is currently using HELIOS to manage its aid efforts in Somalia and has plans to roll out HELIOS to manage supplies for a variety of humanitarian initiatives underway in Zambia, Uganda, South Sudan and other countries. Oxfam has also chosen to do a pilot implementation of HELIOS in Africa and Southeast Asia.

"HELIOS is the only software of its kind built from the ground-up in collaboration with the humanitarian sector," noted Mitsuko "Mich" Mizushima, Fritz Institute's Chief Logistics Officer. "From its inception, HELIOS has been based on the notion that good data drives good decisions. HELIOS makes it easier for humanitarian organizations to manage their supply chains efficiently and effectively, from mobilization to warehousing, which can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people." The HELIOS license is currently provided free of charge by Fritz Institute, while implementation costs are borne by user organizations. 

The HELIOS project has received substantial financial and technical support from leading corporations such as Abbott Labs, Applied Materials, Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Levi Strauss and Co., and KPMG International. Fritz Institute welcomes additional partners and donors to help support continued software development and implementations of HELIOS around the world.

To steer the future development of the software and ensure its accessibility over time to as many humanitarian organizations as possible, a formal HELIOS User Group has been established comprising Fritz Institute, World Vision International, Oxfam, and International Medical Corps. The User Group will provide on-going strategic and technical guidance on long-range functionality, adoption and sustainability. Fritz Institute will play the role of 'Secretariat', and Intel Corporation will serve as technical advisor.

HELIOS is the next-generation of Fritz Institute's Humanitarian Logistics Software (HLS), developed in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Fully implemented in 2004, HLS has itself had a dramatic effect on increasing relief supply efficiency: comparing data from the 2004 South Asia tsunami to data from the 2006 Jakarta earthquake and tsunami, supply-chain set-up times decreased from 18 days to three days, while the cost to deliver aid per family declined from $800 to $142. 

About Fritz Institute

Fritz Institute is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with governments, non-profit organizations and corporations around the world to innovate solutions and facilitate the adoption of best practices for rapid and effective disaster response and recovery.  Fritz Institute was founded in 2001 by Mr. Lynn Fritz, a social entrepreneur and philanthropist, who recognized that effective front-line humanitarian operations must be supported by strong back-room capabilities:  effective operational processes, appropriate uses of enabling technologies, well-trained logistics personnel, objective performance metrics, and institutionalized learning.

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For more information: Steve Leventhal (415) 538-8302 or steveleventhal@fritzinstitute.org

 
 
 
 
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