SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Providing aid to millions of people around the world affected by poverty, disaster and civil unrest, Direct Relief International relies on software from SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) to support thousands of clinics located in 62 countries. The aid organization uses SAP® solutions to anticipate on-location developments such as breakouts of illnesses, as well as to make important decisions and react quickly to get personnel and supplies to the right places so as to ease human suffering as quickly as possible. SAP software allows Direct Relief to track every item from its warehouses to the final destination, enabling the company to provide the transparency to demonstrate how each donation goes where it is ultimately needed.
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With a fundraising efficiency score of 99 percent or better from Forbes for the past eight years, Direct Relief provides medical assistance in the U.S. and throughout the world, and is the first and only nonprofit organization to become a wholesale pharmacy distributor in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Established over 60 years ago and based in Santa Barbara, California, the nonprofit organization is focused on improving quality of life by bringing critically-needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide. With benefactors including major pharmaceutical companies, Direct Relief has provided more than $1.4 billion in privately funded humanitarian aid since 2000 — of which more than $200 million was in assistance in the U.S.
"Poverty and adversity can hit people suddenly and with full force — not just in developing nations, but anywhere," said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO, Direct Relief International. "We have to match the available resources to the needs of those who are suffering as quickly, precisely and efficiently as we can. The only way we can do this is by having the right information available at the right time – and that is what SAP gives us."
Direct Relief's legacy systems had reached their limits and were slowing down the nonprofit's growth. As a result, the organization was finding it difficult to extend aid programs. It selected SAP because the software offered the most robust features and the data integrity needed to support worldwide operations.
The SAP® Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM) application provides Direct Relief with precise information about inventory to help it visualize where the flow of aid is going through its network. It is essential that inventory is labeled and stored correctly because it contains medications and medical equipment with varying storage and temperature requirements as well as differing areas of application and expiration dates. Direct Relief's warehouse personnel use scanners to import the barcode data into the SAP system that controls the physical inventory and the supply chain so that they know exactly where items are located and what their final destinations are, which helps ensure that physical inventory is accurate and delivery runs smoothly.
With SAP, Direct Relief has created a networked approach to optimize both donations and emergency response efforts, which are often hampered by poor information flows. The SAP NetWeaver® Portal component allows Direct Relief to link up more efficiently with its partner network of thousands of nonprofit clinics in the U.S., providing them access to Direct Relief's inventory through a secure website. This allows precise ordering, greater transparency, and tight audit tracking of donations that are available for use by low-income, uninsured patients. Direct Relief also implemented the SAP® Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application to help its clinics place requests for products and supplies and also to track availability so that they can have greater insight across demand and supply and match them as much as possible. This is helping Direct Relief better plan its supply chain to match demand, which is critical to relief operations.
Since the earthquake in January 2010 struck Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince, reducing it to rubble, one million Haitians have been living in tent camps under highly inadequate hygiene and medical conditions. Food and safe drinking water are in short supply; disease and illness are rampant. Thanks to the generous support of private and corporate donors, Direct Relief launched the biggest emergency campaign in its history, one that is still ongoing. Solutions from the SAP® Business Objects™ portfolio help Direct Relief manage over 600 tons of medical and other relief supplies by giving it the insight needed to help ensure delivery to over 50 healthcare facilities and hospitals in Haiti where it is needed most. The analytics software offers greater transparency into inventory and incoming donations, helping Direct Relief to quickly, precisely and efficiently match the available resources to the needs of those suffering.
Direct Relief International's network is not limited to community clinics and health centers. Corporations such as Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer are also key partners and supporters that make up about 30 percent of its total donations. These companies often donate entire batches of medications for rapid and easy distribution. SAP software makes it easier for Direct Relief to pinpoint where the donations are, as well as when and how they reached their destination. Direct Relief credits the success of its ongoing donations from large companies and individuals to the transparency delivered by the analytics software. Donors can access an interactive map located on Direct Relief International's website, which is powered by SAP solutions, to demonstrate exactly where donations of supplies and money are helping.
"With the innovation only SAP can deliver, we can empower organizations such as Direct Relief International to make faster, more informed decisions based on what is happening in the world in real time," said Sanjay J. Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, SAP Business Analytics, Line of Business and Industry Solutions and Sales, SAP AG. "SAP offers Direct Relief an IT platform that orchestrates all the relevant processes and information with laser precision and vivid transparently so that its staff and its partners can better manage funds, finances and logistics. Underscoring SAP's vision to make the world run better, the power of SAP software enables Direct Relief to focus on their work of creating a healthier and better world."
To see how Direct Relief International uses SAP solutions for better transparency, faster shipping and effective management of a global partner network, watch the SAP TV video "High-Tech Help for Haiti."
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