OpenLMIS: Large-Scale Health Supply Chain Management Tool


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Supply chain management softwares play a critical role in the flow of goods and services around the world. They store and sort the data that is then used to create the most optimal and efficient route for supplies. Supply chain management softwares navigate supplies from their starting point to the end-users, reducing the wastage of time and resources. 

Among many programs of this type, there is a very special group – open sources. They provide their customers with free-of-charge solutions that are available to anyone who wants to use them. Recently we have written about one of such open sources – OpenBoxes. You can read the article about this flexible tool here.

In today’s article we will discuss another open-source supply chain management software – OpenLMIS. It is dedicated mostly to the health supply chains and works in cooperation with many public health facilities.

OpenLMIS: Mission and Vision

supply chain

OpenLMIS is an open-source electronic Logistics Management Information System. It was established with the consideration of the following vision:

All countries have the logistics data they need to effectively manage their health supply chains leading to healthier communities.

Based on this premise, OpenLMIS has developed into a globally used, helpful tool that solves the problems of public health systems’ supply chains. If the supply chain data is not collected and managed properly and continuous inaccuracies emerge, the health system is likely to face major stockouts of essential medicines, which can lead to patients’ suffering and death even by treatable diseases. To prevent such tragedies, the chain of supplies must be managed by a professional software, such as OpenLMIS.

Here is the official mission that can be found on OpenLMIS’ website:

Collaboratively develop shared, open source software to improve health commodity distribution in low- and middle-income countries.

What features does OpenLMIS have?

supply chain

Requisitions (Ordering)

This feature allows you to request new stock. The requisitions can be based on consumption or on estimated need. The reports from the past periods can be created manually or automatically. Once the requisition is approved, it is converted into an order. Requisition reports are customizable and can be adjusted to the client’s needs. OpenLMIS also allows you to import ideal stock amounts (ISA), to receive more accurate calculations of order quantities.

Stock Management 

With OpenLMIS you can check the stock availability in real-time, and always be up-to-date with your inventory. It provides you with an overview of all goods and of stock on hand. It also allows you to track your stock movements and manage lots. You can process incoming orders, have lots sorted by first to expire (FEFO), determine the ‘fill quantities’, and more.

Vaccine Management

OpeLMIS supports features specific to vaccine supply management, including cold chain equipment management, inventory status, needs calculations, re-supply, and integration with Remote Temperature Monitoring (RTM). Cold chain management features can be also applied to other commodities that require temperature monitoring.

Reporting and Analytics

OpenLMIS offers a reporting service that gives users access to supply chain data displayed on a functional customizable dashboard. Users can organize data to create useful reports and visualizations. OpenLMIS provides users with a visualization tool, but also allows them to integrate with a third party Business Intelligence tool, if needed.

Mobile integration

OpenLMIS can be integrated with mobile devices through OpenSRP. It then allows to view dispensing and supply information at the point of care.

Modular Architecture for Extensibility

OpenLMIS has a shared common base code, with a modular architecture. It enables customizations to match any user’s needs. It also offers an adjustable reference UI that has multi-language support.

Find more details on OpenLMIS’ features here.

Who can use OpenLMIS?

OpenLMIS is dedicated mostly to the health supply chain management at a nation-wide scale. It often collaborates with national ministries of health in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, OpenLMIS can be also applied to logistic operations, not connected to the healthcare field. 

The software is open-source, therefore it does not require any type of chargeable license. That being said, implementation itself requires funding for initial configuration, customization, user training, and ongoing support. Country-level implementations are often conducted by NGOs or technology providers.

OpenLMIS is a web-based system with additional offline functionality. It was made with a thought of low-resource communities, where clients can not afford setting up their own server room to install the software locally and host it by themselves.

What are the benefits of using OpenLMIS?

supply chain

OpenLMIS is used in over 11,00 healthcare facilities, in 9 African countries. It provides its customers with the following benefits:

  • reducing stockout rates;
  • saving health workers’ time;
  • promoting alignment with country health priorities;
  • improving data visibility;
  • active public community for resources and continued learning;
  • simple deployment utilizing Docker and Docker-Compose;
  • easy upgrades;
  • data auditability and security;
  • highly configurable to country context.

Operating at national level, OpenLMIS is flexible and adjustable to different needs of particular countries. It allows users to choose which features are required in which parts of their supply chain, and configure these features respectively.

With this professional health supply chain management software, the flow of supplies is well-controlled and the risk of stokouts is minimized. It is especially important in the healthcare field, because many people’s lives depend on medications and medical equipment being delivered on time and to the right facility.

OpenLMIS: Open Solutions for the Open World of Changes

OpenLMIS is a great option for big implementations on a national scale. Public health institutions need accurate supply chain data, in order to effectively help people and save their lives. Thankfully, the world of open sources is highly-developed and created with one fundamental purpose – to make life-changing tools more accessible. 

Supporting the idea of healthcare equity around the world, OpenLMIS collaborates with developing countries, and makes sure that supplies are delivered on time to places where they are needed.

Find more information and resources on OpenLMIS’ website.

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