September 18, 2007 The Fritz Institute has released innovative new software designed to help humanitarian organizations manage relief chain logistics by cataloging, tracking and delivering supplies to disaster victims. Known as HELIOS, the software platform has been implemented by World Vision International and Oxfam to assist their efforts in Africa.
HELIOS was created by the Fritz Institute, a non-profit organization that develops solutions for rapid and effective disaster relief. During the crisis period of the South Asian tsunami in 2004, humanitarian organizations tracked incoming and outgoing supplies manually, often with just a pen and paper. Those organizations and the Institute felt there had to be a better was to manage the logistics when disaster occurs.
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“Our research has shown that 80% of a successful disaster relief effort is in the logistics. Only about 25 percent of agencies surveyed immediately after the 2004 South Asia tsunami, had systems in place to manage goods and supplies that poured in from over 40 countries,” said Fritz Institute Chief Logistics Officer Mitsuko Mizushima. “HELIOS makes it easier for humanitarian organizations to manage their supply chains efficiently and effectively, from mobilization to warehousing, which can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people in need of aid,” he said.
In the wake of the 2004 tsunami there was much public concern surrounding the mismanagement of material donations such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. The HELIOS software addresses these issues by keeping account of the destination of donated items. The HELIOS project has received substantial financial and technical support from leading corporations such as Abbott Labs, Applied Materials, Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Levi Strauss and Co., and KPMG International.