VAN introduces groundbreaking product catalog management tool

15th January 2020

Global FP VAN members and other key health supply chain stakeholders came together in Washington, DC recently to learn more about the groundbreaking Product Catalog Management Tool (PCMT). Health systems around the globe face challenges with inconsistent product identifiers (the ID numbers and barcodes used to manage inventory and delivery of medicines). These inconsistencies undermine supply chain efficiency and visibility. ID numbers differ across hundreds of paper and digital systems, contributing to a heavy manual effort and low data quality. PCMT is a user-friendly tool for publishing and managing product catalogs; GFPVAN is the first PCMT user, managing its family planning product catalogue in the tool and using it as the definitive global source for product information for family planning products.

PCMT interoperates with many systems in LMIC countries using global standards such as GS1.  GS1 – a business language designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains. If GS1 were used by all organizations and countries, everyone would be referencing the same product identifiers, which helps increase efficiencies in supply chain management. If shared data standards are defined, these harmonized standards can make transactions efficient, speedy, and effective.

At the recent meeting, participants from healthcare areas other than family planning had the opportunity to see how the tool works, learn how to adapt it for their own specific usage, and gather inspiration from its design.

This meeting included a two-day workshop in which participants from Malawi, Rwanda, and Ethiopia shared perspectives, visions and needs with representatives from USAID, GHSC-PSM, The Global Fund, JSI, and RHSC and technology partners at Digital Square, VillageReach, and GS1. Learn more about PCMT at

For more information, please contact Global FP VAN Director Julia White at

Category: Global FP VAN

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