Imagine you are a health supply chain manager looking to improve your organisation’s performance: where would you start? With 2021’s year of the health and care worker still fresh in your mind, you may decide that investing in your health workforce is the best place to begin.
Professionalisation, which includes defining a formalised supply chain career path, could well be the answer you are looking for. But what is professionalisation and how can it be put into practice? Fortunately you’ll find the answers in People that Deliver’s supply chain management (SCM) professionalisation framework.
Professionalisation: making SCM a profession of the highest integrity
Professionalising SCM means transforming it into a recognised profession of the highest integrity. If your organisation – and indeed your supply chain– achieves a high level of professionalisation, not only does this mean that your staff will be more likely to remain in their roles, but also that more qualified personnel will want to pursue a career in your organisation.
All in all, professionalisation advances the profession of supply chain management as a whole, elevating its status, enhancing awareness of the career paths it offers and helping to develop a supply chain leadership pipeline.
According to Dominique Zwinkels, executive manager of PtD, “The SCM workforce really is the backbone of health systems and if we are to strengthen health systems and reach even more patients, professionalisation will play a huge part. This is why we developed the professionalisation framework: to help organisations and countries better respond to the needs of patients.”
Embarking on the journey to professionalisation may seem daunting but PtD’s SCM professionalisation framework contains all the elements to guide users.
Walking you through professionalisation
Developed by PtD in collaboration with USAID, the Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project and SAPICS, the professional body for supply chain management in South Africa, the framework details a set of global standards that align career path, education and professional growth in health supply chain management. Importantly the framework is available in both English and French.
The framework can help governments to set standards, learning institutions to outline teaching, employers to define competency needs and employees to map careers. It provides the guidance needed to create a skilled workforce in the private and public sectors, and improve supply chain management outcomes.
It centres on four resources: the library of competencies and designations is a detailed framework that defines the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for people working in health SCM to fulfil their roles, while the collection of roles and job descriptions for health supply chains is a body of 93 job descriptions that can be adapted to any supply chain organisation.
The mapping of education details over 250 technical and academic courses worldwide for health supply chains as well as all the available qualifications and certifications to equip health supply chain professionals with the relevant skills. The implementation approach, meanwhile, provides clear guidance on how to work towards professionalisation.
The professionalisation framework in action
According to Ines Buki, Country Director of the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) project in Rwanda, “The professionalisation framework is already playing a key role in developing the Rwanda Medical Supply Limited (RMS) workforce in Rwanda with the use of the PtD library of competencies and the collection of roles and job descriptions to realign RMS to its new supply chain mandate.”
The GHSC-PSM project, in collaboration with the Rwanda Medical Stores (RMS) and the University of Rwanda, began implementing the SCM professionalisation framework in Rwanda in 2021. By the end of 2021 they had completed steps one and two and had achieved a key milestone in the implementation approach: the development of the Project Charter, which required the commitment of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and key stakeholders to professionalise the supply chain workforce in Rwanda. In 2022, they will begin step three: mapping supply chain processes.
With human resources for health being a priority area for the MoH, Eliezer Nsengiyumva, pharmaceutical supply chain management specialist in Rwanda’s MoH, insists it’s important to develop supply chain professionals capable of innovation and change management for improvement:
“The professionalisation framework is integral to defining the occupational standards and requirements of the health supply chain management profession in Rwanda. It is guiding us as we make capacity-building and human resource development a strategic priority, and helping us to develop an effective and efficient health supply chain system.”
Later this year PtD will work with Africa Resource Center for Excellence in SCM to pilot the SCM professionalisation framework in Nigeria within the logistics management coordination units at federal and state levels.
Access the SCM professionalisation framework in English and in French here.
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