1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is a growing appreciation in literature on the importance of adoption of mobile technology in the supply chain management. However, much of the available literature is in developed countries. A reliable, timely movement of the pharmaceutical products and information up and down the supply chain can be used to characterize an effective supply chain management, in the pharmaceutical industry. That is, from the delivery or destination point such as the hospitals, clinics, health posts or pharmacy where drugs are dispensed to the higher levels in the hierarchy and back. Data from the product and service delivery points are the most significant and relevant to the supply chain managers to make well informed decisions on what type and how much of pharmaceutical products and services should be delivered or provided. In Kenya, the logistic management system is paper based, and therefore the right data does not normally reach the right people at the right time. For effective drugs supply chain, quantification, selection, procurement, distribution and storage functions are equally significant and interdependent to ensure quality and good drugs are available promptly to the delivery pharmaceutical stores. However, the supply chains based on mobile technology offer the potential of accelerating transmission of data to multiple stakeholders simultaneously hence reducing the burden of reporting. Less of the literature focuses on how mobile technology can be adopted in the retail supply chain management in the pharmaceutical industry in Kenya. In so doing, this seems to be pushing aside the importance of adopting mobile technology in supply chains. This study therefore aims to fill this gap by focusing on the supply chain processes, participants, mobile technology and the benefits.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 Broad Objectives
The broad objective of this study is to investigate and examine more fully the advantages and benefits to retail supply chains in the pharmaceutical industry in Kenya, when mobile technology is adopted in the supply chain management.
The Specific Objectives included:
• To explore the importance of harnessing technology in strengthening drug supply chains
• To determine the challenges of using the traditional supply chain management methods
• To establish the mobile technology applications and information available for the retail supply chain companies in pharmaceutical industry in Kenya
• To determine the constraints in effective supply chain of drugs in Kenya.
• To implement a pilot supply chain android and web application that simulates a platform for increased business productivity
• To implement a pilot supply chain android and web application that simulates real-time data and an improved work flow
1.4 Hypothesis of the Study
H1: There is a significant difference in data transmission for retail supply chains using mobile technology compared to the traditional supply chains
H2: Mobile technology in supply chains provide all stakeholders with data access in real time
H3: There is a significant acceleration in flow of information to and from delivery or dispensing stations to the supply chain managers
The roads that pharmaceutical drugs need to take are from the manufacturer as the source, to the patient as the destination. In some instances, the road is a short distance or a longer distance. For most patients in developing countries such as Kenya, this road is often long. The road begins from the manufacturer to the centralized medical warehouses, to the local suppliers, very small depots, dispensaries, health centers and pharmacies. The long road is often bumpy with potholes. This study examined the challenges and problems to do with selection, forecasting, procurement, storage, inventory management, distribution and shelf life in Kenya. The different ways, in which these challenges manifest at the level of the patient, range from under stocking of the facilities or the facilities experiencing stock outs, which endanger the lives of patients, and this compromises treatment adherence. Similarly, the facilities can be overstocked with subsequent drugs that have expired. By adopting mobile technology in supply chain management, it can help in overcoming some of the problems and challenges in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Several mobile technology innovations and initiatives are assisting stakeholders in ensuring a more adequate supply of the pharmaceutical products. Mobile devices can be used for transfer of data and even mobile money services, specialized databases and software, and electronic tools can as well help, so long as the problems in the supply chain have been identified clearly. It therefore makes sense to address them in this research dissertation. This study will also enlighten policy makers and supply chain mangers and is the kind of research dissertation to inform practice.