Inspiration

Crisis can be powerful sources of inspiration...

Through our families in Spain and Mexico, we were direct witnesses for the collapse of the sanitary system during COVID-19. People were deeply desperate -and depressed-, due to the impossibility to buy FFP3 masks for infected persons, in order to protect other family members from an infection. I know several families in which almost all members were infected by one single person. All that nice hand-made masks do not help in such situations. FFP3 standards become necessary.

Even sending masks from Germany to Spain was forbidden by the Spanish government, to stop the speculation, exploding black-market and price gouging.

Many of us had the sensation that Spain was thrown back to the middle age.

And all that time, I could not stop thinking about, how easy all the solutions were, which I ideated, designed and in partly developed for SAP systems in purchasing and SCM area (eBay integration with Catalog, Spot Quote for Ariba Network, One-Click Shopping Cart, SRM Sourcing Cockpit Integration with Ariba Network...). None of them were rocket science and almost all belong now to the standard product of SAP.

- Would it be possible to deliver any analogue technical solution to solve or at least to mitigate the above exposed issue?

- And if so, would it be possible to measure the effect of such a solution to the reduction of the problem?

What it does

The solution here intends to answer exactly that questions. It is basically a public platform to...

  • easily report product demands at the consumer level (hospitals, retirement homes, supermarkets, public institutions, offices, NGOs, etc.)
  • forecast the demand plan for selectable critical materials (demand plan calendar)
  • identify geographical gradients of the demand which could be balanced (demand plan map)
  • provide necessary overall statistical information to optimize logics chains

Features:

  • Centralized public database for demands
  • Storage of demands on the level of doctor´s offices, supermarkets, schools, companies, retirement homes, etc., including the geographical information.
  • Storage of demand plan and actuals data in the timeline.
  • Access to the centralized public data via Mobile App

Application Modules

  • Rough prototype of the demand database (only plan data) - easy regional data model based on post codes intervals and on a calendar week basis.
  • Phone App UI to maintain demands
  • Phone App UI to display the demand data in a timeline range for a region
  • Phone App UI to display a geographical map of the demands (in progress!!)

Who should use it?

  • Demanding organizations - to report demand plans
  • Material requirements planners - to identify when to increase the production rate at a production plant
  • Logistic companies - to identify regional gradients and estimate the probability of last-minute plan changes per region, impactin e. g. the transports
  • Health authorities and governments - to monitor the demand evolution and degree of fulfillment and identify on time the need of measures

Challenges We ran into

  • Knowing the demand plan in a particular time frame ("Real-Time" Information).
  • Knowing the regional gradients in availability and production capacity (Geographic Information).
  • Publishing the demand information (Transparency).
  • Coping with a larger time zone shifting for the cooperation, at such a short timeline. Sporty!
  • Technical Challenge: integration of google services with Firebase Cloud Platform for the calendar and geographical information.

Accomplishments that we´re proud of

  • The easy, intuitive application, delivering value already in few clicks
  • We have a solution which is technically integrable with > 150.000 companies using SAP SCM and other non-SAP ERP/SCM products due to the usage of standard exchange technologies.
  • Usage of United Nations conform material categories to allow an international and global usage

How I built it

  • For the Demand database: FireBase cloud platform
  • For the services reading and maintaining the demand data: FireBase cloud database
  • For the UI: Flutter Google Ui toolkit
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