Building a Collective Mindset - Operationalizing a Governance Structure for the Global FP VAN Case Study

Publication date: 2020

Building a Collective Mindset Operationalizing a Governance Structure for the Global FP VAN 2016-2019 GLOBAL FP VAN CASE STUDY PEOPLE QUADRANT You cannot manage what you cannot see Contents A new vision for collaborative supply chain management | 2 Context | 3 How was it done? | 5 Key learnings | 12 TECHNOLOGY PROCESSES POLICIES GLOBAL FP VAN CASE STUDY PEOPLE QUADRANT 2 A new vision for collaborative supply chain management The reproductive health (RH) community has long known that limited access to a choice of high-quality, affordable contraceptives severely undermines efforts to increase contraceptive prevalence1. Furthermore, supply chain data visibility is a prerequisite to increased access. Simply put, you cannot manage what you cannot see. Governments, global procurers, and other actors need timely access to supply chain data for effective decision-making, including for estimating supply needs, accessing planned orders, tracking shipment status from manufacturers to countries, acting when products arrive, and advocating if funding falls short. In 2016, the RH community called on the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) to take the lead in defining and operationalizing a more coherent and efficient way to gather and use data for family planning (FP) supply chain decisions. The following year, the RHSC embarked on a short-term proof-of-concept initiative to establish a Global Family Planning Visibility and Analytics Network (or VAN) that brings together people, processes, policy, and technology to transform the way the community makes supply chain decisions. From the people side, the VAN links procurers, manufacturers, shippers, and country governments in an active network focused on product flow into countries. In terms of technology, the platform captures data from many sources, facilitates data harmonization, and consolidates tools for network members to use. New processes transform how these members interact, analyze data, and make decisions. Lastly, harmonized policies govern data- sharing and use. By offering the community a collaborative platform to assess supply needs, prioritize them, and act when supply imbalances loom, the VAN will ultimately lead to more timely and cost-effective delivery of commodities, a higher number of women reached with the right product at the right time, and a better allocation of limited health resources in the future. The present case study focuses on the People quadrant of the VAN framework, describing the governance structure that supports the network and the evolution of its development during the proof-of-concept initiative. It is part of a series of case studies documenting the learnings from the VAN proof-of-concept phase. This case study will be useful for partners interested in the VAN’s history and operating and management approach as well as those considering establishment of similarly complex mechanisms. TECHNOLOGY PROCESSES POLICYPEOPLE 1. Sedgh G, Ashford L, Hussain R. Unmet Need for Contraception in Developing Countries: examining women’s reasons for not using a method. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2016. 3 2. These tools include the RHInterchange (RHI), the Procurement and Planning Report (PPMR), the Coordinated Supply Planning (CSP) Online Tool, USAID/ DELIVER Project PipeLine, and UNFPA’s Procurement Planning Tool. Building a Collective Mindset: Context In 2015, leading RH donors and procurers, led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), initiated discussions to establish a global visibility and analytics network for FP commodities. At the time, several tools2 sought to provide greater visibility along the supply chain from manufacturers to country’s central medical stores. The variety of tools were built and operated independently and were not always aligned, which constrained the RH community’s ability to use these tools for supply chain decision-making. During their discussions, the Gates Foundation, UNFPA and USAID agreed there was great value in creating a joint data hub that would allow the community to access and use the data from these tools. However, their vision and desired approaches toward establishing such a hub varied—the system to be used, concerns among key players that the technology would be forced on them, differences in rules and regulations governing funding, and agreement on who would host the joint data hub. Over time, momentum stalled around issues of ownership and governance. In September 2016, the Gates Foundation convened key representatives from USAID, UNFPA, RHSC, and the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) in Washington, DC to decide on next steps. During the meeting, these stakeholders asked RHSC to take the lead in defining and operationalizing a more coherent and efficient way to gather and use data for FP supply chain decisions, through a global visibility and analytics network. The RHSC secured the support of its Executive Committee and, soon after, established a multi-partner Steering Committee. The Steering Committee began meeting every other week to develop a vision for the platform and identify countries, manufacturers and products for an initial proof-of-concept. KEY DATES SEPTEMBER 2016 ǂ The Gates Foundation, USAID and UNFPA ask RHSC to take the lead in defining and operationalizing the VAN platform. DECEMBER 2016 ǂ RHSC establishes the VAN Steering Committee. JUNE 2017 ǂ At the Family Planning Summit, the Gates Foundation, USAID, UNFPA, DfID, and RHSC announce the VAN initiative AUGUST 2017 ǂ VAN proof-of-concept phase launches, with seed funding from the Gates Foundation and DfID, as well as in-kind support from UNFPA and USAID. ǂ RHSC establishes the Data Sharing Task Force and the Data Management Task Force. OCTOBER 2017 ǂ The Steering Committee agrees on countries, suppliers, and products for the proof-of-concept phase. NOVEMBER 2017 ǂ RHSC launches the Technology Task Force and Super Users Group. AUGUST 2018 ǂ The Steering Committee approves key technical specifications that will govern the design of the VAN, and agrees on key performance indicators to track progress. NOVEMBER 2018 ǂ VAN Terms of Use drafted. JANUARY 2019 ǂ VAN platform goes live, including finalized Terms of Use. ǂ Public access dashboard (RHViz) launched. MARCH 2019 ǂ VAN Business Case published, documenting the value of the VAN to date; defining a vision for Phase 2; and proposing a longer-term vision for the VAN to become cost-neutral. GLOBAL FP VAN CASE STUDY PEOPLE QUADRANT 4 At the Family Planning Summit in July 2017, the Gates Foundation, Department for International Development (DfID)3, USAID, UNFPA, and RHSC publicly committed to collaborate on the creation of a global visibility and analytics network, to be called the Global Family Planning Visibility and Analytics Network, or VAN. The VAN proof-of-concept initiative launched the next month, with seed funding from the Gates Foundation and DfID. USAID and UNFPA also committed human resources to design, test, and use the platform. 3. In September 2020, the Department for International Development (DfID) merged with the Foreign Commonwealth office to become the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). In this document, we reference DfID when specifically referring to activities that took place in the past; otherwise we refer to FCDO. We had to address the governance and ownership question—this was not just a technology solution project. We knew that there was great value in leveraging the data from all the donors in a way that it was not just one organization owning it all. We also recognized that financial constraints and differences in scope between our agencies could pose a major obstacle to standing up a global family planning visibility and analytics network. That’s when we realized that we needed a central governance structure that would allow us all to have a say and, collectively, define the vision and strategy for standing up this global control tower. We needed a neutral entity to manage the VAN contract and make sure that we were all talking as one. — Ramy Guirguis, GHSI-III/USAID 5 How was it done? Putting people at the center Standing up a VAN is a complex undertaking that requires multiple players to change and align their processes, policies, and technologies to transform the way the RH community makes supply chain decisions. This undertaking requires a governance structure that supports collaboration, joint accountability, and integration of diverse users’ perspectives. “We needed to create a governance structure that allowed us to have a say and make decisions in the way that everyone supports.” (Ramy Guirguis, GHSI-III/USAID). For these reasons, RHSC modeled the VAN’s governance structure after its own (see Figure 1)— making it possible to put the RH community at the center of this endeavor and tap into their knowledge to make the VAN a success. Comparable to the RHSC’s Executive Committee, the VAN is governed by a Steering Committee4 which sets strategic direction and defines and/or approves strategic deliverables and milestones. The VAN’s Management Unit replicates the functionality of the RHSC Secretariat, insofar as it implements day-to-day tasks and serves as a neutral platform, balancing input from the Steering Committee, Task Forces, and VAN members. The four Task Forces are equivalent to the RHSC’s Working Groups, providing a hands-on approach to securing broad-based multisectoral input into decision-making processes and fostering a joint understanding of the VAN vision and approach. The remainder of the case study focuses on each of these levels of VAN governance, describing their role and contribution in depth. 4. The Steering Committee includes representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF); UK Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office (FCDO), previously the Department for International Development (DfID); US Agency for International Development (USAID); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and user representatives from John Snow International, Inc. (JSI), USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program- Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM), and USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Technical Assistance (GHSC-TA). Within the governance structure lies a willingness to learn, transparency, joint accountability, and trust. It is not easy to get these actors to make all these decisions at the same time. — Kate Wright, FCDO Figure 1. Global FP VAN Governance Structure STEERING COMMITTEE MANAGEMENT UNIT TASK FORCES USERS Process DATA SHARING Policy DATA MGMT Structure TECH MGMT System Resolve conflicting priorities and handle escalations Set direction De�ne scope and approach Accept scope and approach Manage project and implementation Provide feedback and recommendations Provide technical input to design and implementation Gather and re�ne requirements 6 Instituting the Steering Committee—collaborative visionaries for the establishment of a global family planning VAN At the summit of the VAN’s governance structure is the multi- partner Steering Committee, which has met every fortnight since its inception in December 2016. Members include the platform’s financial supporters (the Gates Foundation, FCDO, UNFPA, and USAID) as well as GHSC-PSM, USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Technical Assistance (GHSC-TA), and John Snow International, Inc. (JSI), who represent intended users of the platform. Coordinated and managed by the Management Unit (described later in the document), the Steering Committee sets strategic direction for the VAN and makes key decisions for the operation of the platform. During the proof-of-concept phase, the Steering Committee defined and prioritized implementation activities, including endorsing every milestone in the road map—from selection of the technology solution vendor to agreeing on the key technical specifications that govern the design of the platform and its Terms of Use (TOU). Initially, Steering Committee members had differing visions for the VAN—what a VAN was and what it would ultimately do. Bi-weekly calls and in-person meetings, facilitated by the Management Unit, provided them with the space and processes to develop a common understanding of the issues at hand as well as offered them a joint approach to resolving those issues through the agreed upon proof-of-concept road map (see below). One of the early successes of the Steering Committee, with the Management Unit, was agreement on a vision and conceptual framework that facilitated buy-in and drove the work forward. The Steering Committee served as the necessary point of control to ensure the VAN initiative is moving forward and is meeting its objectives. The fact that it became a safe space for its member organizations to figure out where they best align is perhaps the most profound and powerful aspect of the Steering Committee. — Stew Stremel, Management Unit SEP 2017 Task forces added to governance structure OCT 2017 Initial scope de�ned NOV 2017 Interviews & process mapping conducted NOV-JAN 2017 Vendor RFP* published, including community- de�ned platform requirements MAY 2018 System con�guration starts and Malawi kick-o  APR 2018 Vendor contracted AUG-NOV 2018 Operationalized the platform to load daily order, shipment, and inventory data JUN 2018 Nigeria kick-o  JULY 2018 Master data loaded JAN 2019 VAN platform goes live with TOU v1.0 MAR 2019 Initial business case published FEB 2018 Vendor proposals due Proof-of-Concept ROAD MAP *Request for proposals 7 In the early months of the VAN initiative, the Management Unit spent a significant amount of time building relationships and fostering champions within the Steering Committee to help them recognize the opportunities and the gains for internal supply chain efficiency if their home agency became Members of the VAN. “At the beginning, we had to have many Steering Committee calls to create traction. Many discussions threatened to derail the initiative. For six months, we spent a lot of time listening to what was being said during side conversations and what was being said in the open space. For example, there were concerns around the system selection for the VAN. Through discussions we realized that there was a need to reassure Steering Committee members that we were not going to rush into a decision and that we would do an open system selection. The system selection is proof that we achieved a sense of trust.” (Julia White, Management Unit). The Management Unit maintained a consistent agenda structure and shared the agenda prior to each Steering Committee call to set expectations for members’ engagement and ensure the right people were at the table to work through differences and make decisions at key junctures. Over time, the calls helped the Steering Committee members establish trust and understand each other’s motivations for establishing the VAN. “In many ways, members needed time to trust that their own institutional interests would be treated fairly.” (Stew Stremel, Management Unit). Eventually, the Steering Committee took on more sensitive discussions, such as the platform’s vendor selection, Terms of Use, and future funding. The Steering Committee discussions also allowed the diverse group of stakeholders—decision makers, supply chain experts, and technology specialists—to develop a common vocabulary around the VAN. This was exemplified by the final key performance indicators, which required lengthy discussion and eventual agreement on common measurement approaches, as well as terminology. In the long run, this common language helped build collective ownership of the initiative. While the two-week meeting cycle and monthly milestones provided the Steering Committee members an incentive to deliver within a tight deadline, it also required they work at a rapid pace, which was sometimes challenging given their day-to-day responsibilities. Committee members began delegating responsibility for technical document reviews to individuals from their home organization who had the technical knowledge and time to undertake the task at hand. Those individuals endorsed recommendations that fed into the Steering Committee’s final decision-making processes. For this reason, they became known as the Endorser Group. This group was used on multiple occasions, including to review the Request for Proposal Addendum for the platform’s system selection; select the technology solutions vendor; review components of the vendor contract and enhancement opportunities; and develop criteria and identify countries for future scale- up. This model accelerated the pace of strategic decision-making by the Steering Committee. Over the course of the proof-of-concept phase, the Steering Committee, guided by the Management Unit, successfully established a collective mindset and set short- and long- term courses of action. Steering Committee members were instrumental in championing the added value of the VAN within their home institutions and securing their commitment to common processes and policies, helping make the VAN a reality. At the beginning, there were different visions for the concept of the VAN and the process to implement it. The governance structure brought together leadership from the different organizations as well as the users perspective to guide what the vision and objectives should be. — Kate Wright, FCDO On a number of issues, the Steering Committee did not have the time nor the expertise to make technical decisions. We thought: ‘if we could assign a technical group to do more in depth technical work and submit their recommendations to the Steering Committee then that would save us time and we could make more informed decisions’. That’s how the idea of the endorser group came about. — Ramy Guirguis, GHSI-III/USAID 8 Establishing the Management Unit—community ownership and day-to-day operations At the center of the governance structure is the VAN Management Unit. The Management Unit is staffed by dedicated RHSC Secretariat staff, who act as both the neutral facilitator for the entire initiative and manage operations of the platform. The Management Unit coordinates the day-to- day implementation of the VAN and handles the logistical and administrative details for the initiative to run smoothly. The Management Unit also serves as the go-between for the Steering Committee and the Task Forces, as well as the liaison between the VAN stakeholders and the platform’s technology vendor, E2open. In short, the Management Unit cultivates stakeholders’ engagement and ownership of the VAN, ensures coordinated action among all the VAN constituencies, and helps mediate disagreements among stakeholders. The Steering Committee helped the RHSC Secretariat determine an initial staffing approach for the Management Unit. Three initial roles were identified: a Director, to oversee the whole initiative; a Supply Chain Data and Technology Specialist, to serve as the liaison between the platform users and the technology solution vendor (i.e., E2open); and an Enterprise Architect, to coordinate the selection process for the technology solution vendor. “There were things that the community wanted of the technology solutions, but these asks needed to be translated into information technology language so they could be implemented by E2Open. The Management Unit brought that skill.” (Devon Cain, CHAI). Bringing everyone along and ensuring that the Steering Committee and Task Forces work together is a key part of the Management Unit’s role, requiring a great deal of time and diligence, especially to move multiple, sometimes competing, side discussions toward group consensus. To this end, the Management Unit staff rely on soft skills— active listening, flexibility, risk management, consistency, persistence, problem-solving, facilitation, and conflict- resolution—to help them build relationships and trust, and secure buy-in among the diverse VAN stakeholders. “Developing the Terms of Use for the VAN was very tricky and sensitive. It required a high level of facilitation and listening skills on the part of the Management Unit to coordinate and mediate between a broad range of stakeholders—country- level contributors, global-level procurement agencies and donors, suppliers, and all the lawyers associated with these entities.” (Hayley Traeger, GHSC-PSM). A highly structured, collaborative project management approach, which incorporated principles of continuous improvement, flexibility, stakeholder input, and a rigorous timeline, allowed the Management Unit to motivate the Steering Committee and Task Forces and complete all milestones for the proof-of-concept road map on schedule. The Management Unit’s role as a neutral facilitator was essential to making progress in operationalizing the VAN, including defining the milestones and attaining consensus from the Steering Committee, managing activities to achieve goals, and celebrating successes along the way. Whenever inconsistent participation or turnover within the Steering Committee threatened the timely endorsement of milestones, the Management Unit invested time orienting new Steering Committee members by providing them with the historical context needed to support and contribute the VAN vision. “New people had to understand past decisions and understand the overall vision of the VAN. Sometimes it felt like we were taking a step back. With the turnover, it was also hard to keep clear the short-term versus the long-term visions of the VAN. The Management Unit had to orient new members and keep everyone aligned with the agreed upon concept to make sure that member turnover did not slow us down.” (Alexis Heaton, JSI). The Management Unit also established a project risks log to assess risks and discuss mitigation strategies with the Steering Committee. During the Steering Committee calls, the risks log allowed the Management Unit to frame issues in a way that presented both opportunities and challenges, leading to more informed decision-making by the Steering Committee. It is the different and complementary set of skills within the Management Unit that made the success of the VAN possible. The Management Unit got things moving. At the same time, they also valued and understood the range of experiences the various actors brought to the VAN. They were able to speak to people across the board. — Kate Wright, FCDO 9 The Management Unit maintains all Steering Committee and Task Force meeting minutes, presentations, and other key documents in an accessible central information hub. Doing so helps VAN stakeholders keep pace with the initiative and creates a culture of transparency. In carrying out its dual roles of spearheading the way forward for the VAN and leading from behind, the Management Unit sets the foundation for collaboration, builds trust, and creates a culture of joint ownership. “Getting everybody with their scripts, to know what they are going to do and how they are going to do it, across multiple organizations. That has been the work of the Management Unit” (Stew Stremel, Management Unit). Cross-organizational change comes about from the efforts of a few individuals that are working behind the scenes to make stuff happen. They carry it long enough for something to happen, and then, bang, it’s here— change just happened. The Management Unit, that’s what they do. They carry it, make it look easy. They hide the complexities and all of a sudden the change becomes indispensable. — Stew Stremel, Management Unit 10 Launching the Task Forces—realizing the vision of the VAN Four cross-organizational Task Forces—one for each of the VAN’s strategic quadrants (people, policy, processes, and technology)—form the foundation of the governance pyramid. These Task Forces (see below) undertake discrete activities related to standing up the VAN and depend entirely on members’ technical expertise and voluntary participation. Members of the VAN are invited to participate in the various Task Forces, helping to operationalize the VAN. As stated earlier, the Task Forces operate in similar fashion to the RHSC’s working groups. They provide a hands-on approach to securing broad-based multisectoral input into decision-making processes and fostering a joint understanding of the VAN vision and approach. Task Force activities engage key constituents across the RH community to provide input into the platform and ensure the VAN is relevant to their needs. Task Force members are those in our community who turn visions into reality, based on their expertise and day-to-day understanding of FP supply constraints and opportunities. In fact, each of the proof- of-concept milestones received technical input from the Task Forces before they were finalized and approved by the Steering Committee. Many of the milestones emerged from significant Task Force input. The Data Sharing Task Force (Policy) was the first to be established and focuses on the development and rollout of the VAN’s data sharing policies. They designed the platform’s joint, multi-partner TOU and continue to oversee its evolution. The TOU is a global data sharing and governance agreement that addresses issues pertaining to data entry and data transfer, proper use of the platform, and data use and sharing within the platform. Users agree to the terms the first time they log in to the VAN platform, thereby gaining access to the system. The Technology Task Force (Technology) focuses on developing and maintaining the key configuration documents that guide E2open in integrating other systems into the platform and updating configurations to align with platform enhancements. Certain members of this group are also involved in reviewing requests for platform enhancements against the available funds and endorsing which enhancements are part of each new platform release. The Data Management Task Force (Processes) works to align the VAN data structure. This group started by developing master data management policies and procedures, including the product master database for the VAN. Their ongoing work includes harmonizing family planning product descriptions, making it possible to integrate and aggregate procurement orders and shipments, manufacturer shipments, inventory, and supply plans. The Data Management Task Force’s work on creating the product master database has set a precedent for how to combine data from multiple systems into a single, integrated dataset. The Super Users Group (People) was the last Task Force to be established. It comprised the widest range of stakeholders among all Task Forces—procurers, data analysts, manufacturers, and country actors. It played a crucial role in selecting, designing, and configuring the platform; in establishing key performance indicators; and in developing the roles, job descriptions, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that define the Control Tower. Over time, the group evolved to become the User Task Force, which consists of a User Group, Super User workstream, and VAN Community group. Each of these sub-groups provides a forum for sharing information on updates to the VAN platform, SOPs, and network overall, with participation varying depending on the type of institutional membership. Members continue to play an important role in testing and adjusting the platform and in defining areas for improved technology functions and features. 11 Ensuring the Task Forces remained functional with strong participation among members was not without its challenges. Maintaining a collective mindset across groups with different understandings of the issues and with diverse priorities was not always easy. Consistent messaging and support from the Management Unit, combined with accountability to the Steering Committee, helped build a common sense of purpose. A notable challenge was effectively managing the volume of materials and communications being generated within the Task Forces to ensure transparency and access for all Task Force members, whose home institutions utilize varying communications and document sharing platforms. The Management Unit introduced a suite of project management and work planning software tools (e.g., Trello, Google Drive, Box, GoToMeeting, and Skype) to support collaboration and communication among Task Force members. It also employed different communications approaches—recording meetings, making recordings available, one-on-one calls, a webpage, and an introductory video on the VAN—to ensure everyone could stay up to date. Each Task Force plays a critical role in the creation of the policies and processes that guide operations of the VAN. During the proof-of-concept phase and through today they often serve as the “first adopters” of the VAN, helping to facilitate interest, ownership, and buy-in within their home institutions. “They have played a fundamental role in fostering a joint understanding of the VAN’s vision and approach by giving those involved a stake in the results.” (Julia White, Management Unit). It is appropriate they are the foundation of the VAN governance pyramid, as our network benefits greatly from their voluntary contribution of time, expertise, advocacy, and visibility. 12 The VAN proof-of-concept initiative allowed the RH community, through the RHSC and the GFPVAN partners, to test a governance model for a visibility and analytics network that would bring disparate actors together to work towards a joint vision of improved contraceptive supply chain management. The governance structure put in place by the GFPVAN Management Unit allowed for high-level decision-making and consensus building among essential leaders and decision-makers (Steering Committee); operational development of the platform, management of the network, and strategic planning (Management Unit); and ensuring the GFPVAN platform and Steering Committee were responsive to the needs of potential users and the broader RH community (Task Forces). While there were challenges along the way, the GFPVAN governance model has built strong bonds of trust between the partners involved, facilitated attainment of all milestones during the proof of concept phase, and set the stage for ongoing success. Key learnings As noted previously, design and implementation of a complex mechanism like the VAN is incredibly challenging. It requires many disparate institutions to come to consensus on the vision, operational approach, and implementation plan, as well as agree to share their data, employee time, and, in some cases, financing. Below are the key learnings regarding the establishment of a governance model during the proof-of-concept phase. Building an effective governance structure takes time, but that time can be compressed with a shared, time-bound, and pragmatic road map. Establishing the VAN governance pyramid required significant time from each of the units involved (Steering Committee, Management Unit, and Task Forces). Realistic expectations should be set with donors and members of the governing units regarding the time required to build out and implement a governance approach. However, for the VAN, the consensus-based proof-of-concept milestones helped define a shared vision early in the process, enabling rapid progress. Continually checking in on the progression toward each milestone and celebrating each success along the way contributed to keeping donors engaged, facilitated rapid decision-making, and held the entire VAN collaborative together. Secure long-term commitment from Steering Committee members where possible, but be prepared for shifting membership at the decision-making level. The members of the VAN Steering Committee are senior decision-makers within their home institutions with high levels of day-to-day responsibility and commitments. This level of influence has been key to the governance and progress of the VAN but also means some of the members will be called away for other institutional priorities, either permanently or occasionally. To the extent possible, secure commitment from Steering Committee members to participate in the group for at least one year to maintain institutional knowledge and facilitate decision- making. Nevertheless, it is best to be prepared to orient new institutional representatives with easily accessible documentation and background materials that describe the history, accomplishments to date, and the path forward. Bringing a visibility and analytics network to life requires donors to think differently. The VAN initiative required a fundamental shift in how donors, who have a stake in the VAN, see their role. Traditionally, donors finance specific, time-bound initiatives; however, establishment of the VAN, or any visibility and analytics network, requires their active participation in a long-term process. In the case of the VAN, the donors were an essential part of the decision- making, strategic direction setting, and of course, the financing, to transform the way the RH community makes supply chain decisions and becomes more aligned, and therefore, more effective. This transformation is through gradual improvements taking place over many years, including the important step of aligning different donor expectations and visions for the VAN. Consensus and community transformation take time, and require visionary leadership, commitment, and flexibility for success. The VAN proof-of-concept phase covers a short period in the life of the VAN. Recent information about progress, challenges, and successes can be found in the publicly available VAN Business Cases on the VAN website ( 13 @rhsupplies @rh_supplies E2open is a registered trademark of E2open, LLC. THE REPRODODUCTIVE HEALTH SUPPLIES COALITION & THE GLOBAL FP VAN In 2016, members of the RH community asked the RHSC to take the lead in defining and operationalizing a more coherent and efficient way to gather and use data for upstream supply chain decision-making. The vision was to act on that request and put in place a Global Family Planning Visibility and Analytics Network (VAN). The VAN is meant to bring together people, processes, policy and technology to transform the way our community makes supply chain decisions. It offers a platform to collectively estimate and prioritize supply needs, people and processes to act when supply imbalances loom, and policy to govern data sharing and use. Eventually, a well-functioning VAN will lead to more timely and cost-effective delivery of commodities; more women reached with the right product at the right time; and a better allocation of limited health resources. The present case study focuses on the people quadrant of the VAN framework. It is part of a series of case studies documenting the key learnings from the VAN proof-of-concept phase.

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