For the past five years, Kountable has been digitally mapping, financially managing, and operationally supporting the inbound supply chains of the largest healthcare buyers in Kenya and Rwanda. We have delivered $27,000,000 in healthcare goods and services and another $33,000,000 of goods and services for critical infrastructure across hundreds of international procurement transactions ensuring quality sourcing, efficient fulfillment, compliant customs clearance, and financial governance. We have built a cloud-based global collaboration platform to ensure these tens of millions of units of critical goods get where they need to be. I’m writing this open letter to ask for your help and invite you to collaborate.
“ERP” for multi-entity cross-border collaboration
Kountable has become a critical component for healthcare delivery because of our unique focus on local market facilitators. Many existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are built for and focus on enterprise clients and are unable to accommodate the distributed network of smaller supply chain participants that perform critical functions like demand recognition and synthesis, serving as in-country importers of record, and last mile delivery and acceptance. The distributed nature of this critical leg of the supply chain creates very real challenges related to maintaining integrity and fidelity of goods-in-transit and extending the liquidity provided by international donors through their recipients and out to the local actors responsible for executing these orders. These actors are on the front lines of their national COVID-19 responses and are the best equipped to handle the dynamic nature of the current market and they know their customers and communities better than any international donor or global company ever could. That knowledge is the key to a successful response.
Enterprise and Government procurement departments in these markets were lean prior to this crisis and often relied heavily on this distributed network of SME suppliers to handle a major component of their purchasing. As the proliferation of COVID-19 puts mounting pressure on even the most formal and mature supply chains, coordinating these traditionally distributed and less formalized supply chains becomes mission-critical to combating this disease.
Mounting stress on the system brings these areas of opportunity to the forefront and makes it extremely apparent that we need to support and strengthen them. One thing COVID has shown us is that we are intimately connected and that contagion is more than a biological phenomenon. Our biology, our markets, and even our individual freedoms have been shown to be interconnected. Strengthening supply chains into the most vulnerable global markets needs to become a global priority.
The best way to strengthen a system is to ensure that every actor is focusing specifically on their strengths and being resourced to collaborate with others who bring complementary strengths. We don’t need to “fix” the weaknesses of local actors. That level of development takes changes to policy, training, and requires a timeline we simply can’t afford. We need to ensure that the execution layer of the local supply chain is connected to the best resources that we can bring to bear. Resources include technology, capital, logistics support, supply chain expertise and real-time communication. Kountable’s platform adds a layer of trust and safety that makes all of this possible:
Donors and large buyers can validate contracts and verify their local suppliers so they can go to market with the strength of their customers’ balance sheets behind them.
Banks and Donors can verify the availability of buyer funds and extend financial support through the supply chain to make these local suppliers and therefore their end buyers more competitive bidders in the supply chain.
Logistics providers can plug into this curated and verified network of actors to coordinate this demand and ensure close communication and availability.
Large global enterprises manage this level of coordination inside a single system of record. This is often a large ERP system integrated with accounting software and provides the type of transparency, governance and audit capabilities that allow liquidity to flow through an international supply chain. Kountable brings that trust and safety layer to the distributed, dynamic healthcare supply chains in our markets.
Technology isn’t enough, though. COVID-19 requires a coordinated response from the most powerful actors in global healthcare to execute at the level of scale necessary to win:
We need donors to assist buyers in the verification of funds, and buyers to confirm orders. Liquidity support is needed from banks and we need global suppliers to accept these digital validations as evidence of endorsement for these local suppliers and service providers. We need customs clearance and logistics companies to consume the operating information and prepare for the arrival of international shipments and “last mile” delivery. And we need real-time visibility into the relevant activities of local suppliers to bring end-to-end transparency to this process.
Kountable has been enabling this level of coordination for our powerful community of suppliers to help them serve the Ministries of Health of Kenya and Rwanda, the large national healthcare purchasing organizations KEMSA and RBC, Nairobi Hospital, The Rwanda Military Hospital, The Kenyan Army, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNOPS, The US Embassy, King Faisal Hospital, CHUK - Centre Hospitalier University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Missions for Essential Drugs & Supplies - MEDS, Chemonics, Rwanda Family Health, US Embassy Nairobi, and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
We’ve coordinated our efforts with Silicon Valley Bank, Ecobank, Equity Bank, Bank of Kigali, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Standard Bank, State Bank of Mauritius, Kenya Commercial Bank, Access Bank, Cogebank and others.
We’ve purchased medical supplies from Becton Dickenson, Abbott, VWR, Covidien, Medtronics, BSN-Radiante, Convatec International, GE Healthcare, Healthmark Industries, Helmer Scientific, DJ Giancola, Pellerin Milnor, Shandong Zhenfu Medical Device Company, Shenzhen IMDK Medical Technology, Sifin Diagnostics, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, SP International Saglik, Starmed Enterprises, STS Medical Group, The Scientific Group, Thermo Electron LED, Thomas Scientific, Weigao Medical International Co. and World Auto International FZE (Ambulances).
To combat a virus that spreads exponentially without respect for borders and thrives most when cooperation is lowest and information is most scarce we’re going to need to push the limits on international collaboration and balance trust and safety with agility and scale. Kountable can help build collaborative, repeatable, trusted, scalable processes by leveraging the strength, breadth and experience of international business and global financiers alongside the agility, real-time local knowledge, and last mile execution capabilities of each local supply chain ecosystem partner. We represent a growing community of manufacturers, logistics professionals, capital providers, banks, last mile delivery, and major healthcare buyers and we invite you to join us.
Founder and CEO