CARISCA Organises First SCALE Meeting

The Centre for Applied Research and Innovation in Supply Chain – Africa (CARISCA) organised its first Supply Chain Action Labs for Engagement (SCALE) meeting in  November 2020.  

The virtual event which was under the theme; Warehousing and Inventory Management, Challenges and Solutions’: A CARISCA Framework’ saw over a 100 participants from various companies in agriculture, pharmaceutics and logistics as well as Regional and International Partners of the Centre.

The SCALE meeting aimed to understand the nature and extent of warehousing and inventory management as well as identify challenges in this sector-specific area; explore possible solutions and establish collaborative research frameworks with stakeholders and explore the role of women and disadvantaged groups in warehousing and inventory management.

Professor Dale Rogers, CARISCA Bridge TRAIN Executive Director

Professor Dale Rogers, CARISCA BRIDGE TRAIN Executive Director, in his remarks, welcomed participants and described the event as historical, as it was the first of its kind. He noted that CARISCA would organise subsequent SCALE meetings which would create the opportunity for organisations to come together to discuss challenges in the supply chain system.  

Giving an overview of CARISCA, Professor Rogers mentioned that CARISCA is a five-year project between the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Arizona State University (ASU). He noted that one of the goals of the Centre is to ‘significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care and agricultural value chains in Africa’ and to this cause, CARISCA established three components of which the SCALE meeting formed part of the second component. Prof. Rogers thanked participants for joining the virtual event and was hopeful for a positive outcome.

The event was packed with a series of presentations from Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and representatives from HAUL 247, Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association of Ghana (PIWA), FLEXE and the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO). The presentations sought to identify the various challenges faced by these organisations in the aspect of warehousing as well as present how these challenges have been dealt with by some of these companies.

Mr Joe Fiifi Yamoah, Executive Director of PIWA, in his presentation noted that the pharmaceutical sector continues to experience challenges in warehousing and inventory management. One challenge faced by the Association, he added, is the lack of funds or capital, especially in warehousing. This, according to him, becomes a major challenge as the sector is capital-intensive and resource-demanding. 

Mr Yamoah also mentioned that the sector is equipped with personnel who are not trained or skilled in warehousing. He pointed out that the educational system does not include warehousing intensive courses, forcing the sector to rely on personnel with other backgrounds. Mr Yamoah was hopeful that CARISCA would develop intensive programmes which would train personnel in the sector.

CEO of HAUL 247, Mr Sehinde Afolayanin, in his remarks, noted that warehousing and inventory management takes up a greater chunk of the logistics sector in Africa. He added that warehousing mostly focuses on food and beverages, leaving out pharmaceutics in Africa. As a result, most warehouses are built without the necessary requirements to house pharmaceutical products which at the long run create challenges.

Mr Afolayan also used the opportunity to address challenges related to warehousing in Africa.  He noted that about 40% of agricultural products is lost during harvest due to improper warehouse practices in Africa. This problem, he explained, had to do with an infrastructural deficiency which he linked to poor road networks; preventing the transportation of goods from the warehouse to the intended location. However, he was of the view that Africa has a bright future in warehousing, therefore, encouraged practitioners to adopt technology (IT) into their system to ensure productivity.

Mr Karl Siebrecht, CEO of FLEXE, in his presentation, mentioned two methods which could be easily adopted by other companies in terms of warehousing and inventory management. These methods, according to him, were the software platform and the commercial model which creates an interchange to allow adequate flow in the system. These types of methods would allow flexibility in warehousing for companies.

Mr Siebrecht also noted that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused an acceleration in e-commerce and online marketing due to the global lockdown as well as heightened the awareness on the need for flexibility in the supply chain. With this flexibility, it would be easier for companies to be resilient especially when it comes to warehousing, in the wake of an unexpected event. 

In a related development, a panel discussion was held which brought to the table intriguing topics related to warehousing, women in logistics and the impact of the recent pandemic on supply chains. The panellists were; Prof. Dale Rogers, Prof. Mohan Gopalakrishnan, Prof. Nathaniel Boso from CARISCA respectively, Samuel Donkoh (President- PIWA), Alhaji Abdul-Hanan Wahab Aludiba, (CEO-NAFCO), Karl Siebrecht, (CEO- FLEXE) and Mr Sehinde Afolayanin (CEO-HAUL 247).

CARISCA’s SCALE Concept is modelled after ASU’s Frontier Economies Logistics Lab which seeks to engage industry players in converting research into action. CARISCA host annual SCALE meetings to translate research into real-world solutions for Ghanaian and pan-African supply chains.





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