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Why African Healthcare Supply Chains Must Go Digital

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Manual supply chain and logistics processes can be a major hurdle in the smooth delivery of goods to end consumers, and this is especially true in the case of healthcare products.

Here are several reasons why manual processes can be suboptimal in the logistics of healthcare products and why they must go digital:


Manual processes often involve a lot of pen & paper data entry, which can be both time-consuming and prone to errors. This can lead to inefficiencies, with lots of back and forth between touch-points to correct errors.

Poor customer experience

Feeding onto this, such back and forth can lead to delays or errors in the fulfillment of orders, which can result in a poor customer experience. These customers can and will turn elsewhere to have their orders fulfilled.

Lack of visibility

Manual processes can make it difficult to track and monitor the progress of orders or shipments, leading to a lack of visibility into the supply chain. This can make it difficult for managers who want to understand where bottlenecks are and identify routes to efficiency. For example supply chain managers at pharmaceutical companies would want visibility to accurately understand and forecast demand levels.

High costs

Manual processes can be labour-intensive, which can drive up costs and make the supply chain and logistics process less cost-effective.

Time sensitivity

Healthcare products often have strict time constraints for delivery, as they may be needed for urgent medical procedures or to treat patients with serious conditions. Manual processes can make it more difficult to meet these time constraints.

Temperature sensitivity

Some medical products, such as COVID vaccines as well as other biologicals, need to be stored at specific temperatures to remain effective. Manual processes can make it more difficult to properly monitor and maintain these temperatures during storage and transportation. Devices such as Kapsule's IOT enabled supply chain surveillance tracker specifically target this issue.

Compliance requirements

The logistics of medical products is often subject to strict compliance requirements, such as those related to the handling and storage of controlled substances. Manual processes can make it more difficult to ensure compliance with these requirements with laborious paperwork and signing processes.

Supply chain complexity

The supply chain for medical products can be complex, with multiple intermediaries involved in the distribution process. This is especially the case in Africa where there can be one licensed distributor for a Pharmaceutical product which then sells onto a whole host of domestic wholesalers and logistics companies. Manual processes can make it more difficult to effectively manage and coordinate these intermediaries.

High value of medical products

Medical products can be quite valuable, both financially and in terms of the importance they have for patient care. Manual processes can increase the risk of errors or losses, which can be costly and have serious consequences.

To ensure a smooth and efficient supply chain and logistics process, it is critical to consider automating manual processes wherever possible.

Kapsule have been working with NGOs, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, 3PLs and Wholesalers to build two of our products: the Supply Chain Surveillance Tracker and our On-Demand Delivery Apps to solve these exact challenges.

Learn more here or get in touch with us at

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