Collaboration & Planning

How can the VAN detect and prevent supply disruptions?

For more than a decade, the RHSC has led a collective effort to detect, prevent and remedy supply shortfalls, stockouts and overstocks. In 2012, the Coordinated Supply Planning (CSP) group was launched as an antidote to the growing number of last-minute supply requests being addressed by the RHSC’s flagship Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health (CARhs) group and the planning uncertainties that gave rise to them. Its solution was to improve supply chain coordination for family planning commodities through continuous, collaborative review of major donor and country supply plans, and the development of forecasts.

As we continue work to share data more effectively and dismantle old information silos, the decision was made to merge the functions of the CSP and CARhs together under the VAN umbrella. The new Consensus Planning Group (CPG) combines both the hands-on skills required to address stockout emergencies with the expertise needed to prevent disruption by aligning orders before they are ever shipped.

What is the Consensus Planning Group?

The Consensus Planning Group (CPG) works to prevent countries from ending up with too few supplies to meet contraceptive needs or too many supplies to be consumed before they expire. It does so by sharing data that makes it possible to coordinate shipments and allocate resources appropriately within and among countries. The CPG works to prevent imbalances from happening in the first place, but it also serves to remedy the imbalances that do. It combines under a single umbrella the functions of the former Coordinated Supply Planning (CSP) group and the Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies group (CARhs), the former having focused on longer-term planning and product allocation, the latter on remedying the more imminent stock crises. CPG members include representatives of UNFPA’s Procurement Services and Commodity Security Branches, USAID, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), John Snow, Inc. (JSI), the Global Health Supply Chain Program - Procurement and Supply Management project (GHSC-PSM), the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the RHSC.

The CPG seeks to ensure better coordination between the two key institutional procurers of family planning commodities, USAID and UNFPA, and key supply chain partners. The CPG:

  • Provides a forum for donors, procurers, and partners to discuss and solve supply-related issues that affect the availability of FP products
  • Analyzes data and recommends actions to make the most of available resources
  • Aligns and prioritizes planned orders so manufacturers can fulfill requests accordingly
  • Forecasts future product demand and provides regular updates to donors, suppliers and other stakeholders
  • Quantifies the funding gap between supply needs and available financing, and shares these with a view to mobilizing additional funds