A simple definition of distribution in business is the delivery or supply of goods and services to users or consumers. Although distribution may involve various functions e.g., sourcing of raw materials, inventory control, warehousing, logistics, marketing channels, etc., efficient delivery of products or services to customers is one of the important objectives of the service in a business.
Like in other sectors, businesses in animal health also have as their objective efficient delivery of their products, often for a profit to ensure sustainability. While achievable, it is a however a challenge or a barrier in markets comprised predominantly of small-scale livestock producers (SSPs).
In a survey conducted by GALVmed in July 2020, approximately half of the respondents identified 1) issues around levels of market information to drive investment and level of manufacturing capacity dedicated to the SSP sector and product registration, and 2) issues around time, effort, and expense required to register products in target countries as the biggest barriers in the animal health supply chain in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The survey was conducted amongst a range of professionals across the supply chain of livestock animal health products, into the key constraints and opportunities facing the animal health industry in SSA. Other issues identified included local retailing – issues around geographic dispersion, levels of customer service, product offering and product care; animal health services – issues around numbers and levels of training/incentivisation for effective support of the SSP sector and SSP customer demand; and issues around levels of animal health awareness, general husbandry and productivity. All these contribute to challenges in the overall level of demand for animal health products from within this sector.
Although only the major issues identified by respondents are highlighted above, what is clear from the survey is that barriers to efficient delivery of products to SSPs, span the entire animal health value chain i.e., from manufacturing to end-users.
The survey confirmed many of the barriers that continue to impede the efficient delivery of animal health products to SSPs, which GALVmed has and continues to address, through its projects and in partnership with other industry players. GALVmed strives to increase awareness, adoption, and availability of animal health products to SSPs by addressing challenges such as lack of warehousing and cold chain facilities, poor animal health services, SSP awareness and education, and last-mile delivery of products and services to SSPs in remote rural areas.
GALVmed’s interventions are in line and supports some of the solutions suggested by respondents, which included harmonisation and simplification of registration procedure, improving infrastructure for cold chain, and awareness and training of SSPs.
While barriers exist, GALVmed has demonstrated through the years that, given the livestock population numbers and their importance in improving livelihoods, the SSP market segment presents a huge potential for the animal health sector. GALVmed is therefore working with partners on a proposed platform known as the Integrated Intelligent Logistic and Supply Chain Platform, to address strategies and interventions that will potentially transform distribution of animal health products in SSA. A prioritised component of the platform will be diseases awareness, in line with the solutions suggested by survey respondents.
The Integrated Intelligent Logistics and Supply Chain Platform is one of three proposed platforms to deliver a comprehensive, financially sustainable solution that will unlock new opportunities for growth in the animal health industry.
Written by Thembinkosi Ramuthivheli, Senior Manager of Commercial Development & Impact, Africa.