Logistics is something most of us take for granted. When we order something online, it just magically appears. Most of us have no idea the journey our new gadget or garment has taken to get to our front door. For MedShare, logistics can’t be taken for granted. It’s vital to their mission of providing life-saving medical supplies and equipment to international communities in need. That’s why it was critical for MedShare to find the cheapest and fastest way to get supplies to those that need it most. Enter startup and Pledge 1% company Flexport.

Global Trade Runs on Logistics

Flexport considers themselves “the Operating System for Global Trade.” To most of us, this is pretty abstract until you realize that all those garments and gadgets you buy online were most likely made overseas. How do you think they got from the factory overseas to the warehouse that shipped it to you? That’s logistics.

Logistics is the art, craft, and science of moving materials within a supply chain. Without the global logistics network, trade would grind to a halt just like your computer would show the blue screen of death if the operating system malfunctions. If you have resources (e.g. money), it’s easy to call the IT person to fix your computer. If you’re an international humanitarian nonprofit, like MedShare, your “support” might be in a remote village, a war zone, or a disaster area that is hard to reach.

Humanitarian Logistics Runs on Good Will

Humanitarian logistics is a delicate dance between availability, infrastructure, governments, and the good will of companies like Flexport who have the resources and technology to understand how to ship a 40 foot container full of medical supplies to the Indigenous Peoples’ Hospital Foundation of the Diocese of Bayombong in a remote area of the Philippines. Without such knowledge, shipments like this would get delayed and cost MedShare both time and money.

Flexport Employees Volunteering at MedShare sending off a Shipment to the Indigenous Peoples’ Hospital in the Philippines

Giving Back Has a Ripple Effect

Flexport recently did a volunteer event at MedShare San Leandro to support MedShare’s mission of healthcare as a human right as well as reducing Maternal and Child mortality. The 40’ trailer of clean birthing kits, medical supplies, and equipment will treat 12,500 patents. Not only did Flexport employees help sort and organize the medical supplies, they managed the entire logistics of getting the 40’ trailer from San Leandro, CA to Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines.

The power of impacting those 12,500 patents goes beyond those people. In the case of a clean birthing kit, it impacts not only the mother but also the child. That ripple continues generation upon generation because a clean and safe birth improves overall community health.

The shipment arrives at the Indigenous Peoples’ Hospital

 

The shipment is unloaded, sorted, and put to use immediately

Hope Arrives Because of Logistics

MedShare has been providing much needed medical supplies to communities around the world for over 20 years. Most of those shipments are like the one to Indigenous Peoples’ Hospital, where local medical providers can order what they need via an online portal. This ability to order what you need, when you need it, is one of the unique aspects of what MedShare provides to its “customers.” MedShare uses this unique method because of their experience with disaster logistics — an aspect of their mission that logistics is critical to.

Disaster Logistics is Critical to Humanitarian Relief

Cyclone Idai hit the coast of Mozambique on March 4th and left millions without food, water, or medical supplies. MedShare has seen these types of disasters before and knows that getting the right materials, to the right people, at the right time is critical to supporting humanitarian relief efforts. As one can imagine after a cyclone or hurricane, or earthquake, the infrastructure is compromised. Logistics becomes challenging because something as simple as a road or a telephone might not be available. Couple this with ongoing rescue and recovery operations, the situation on the ground becomes fluid — making logistics a nightmare.

That’s why the MedShare/Flexport partnership is critical to humanitarian relief. By closely coupling the technology that Flexport has deployed with the on the ground needs of MedShare’s “customers”, it makes it possible to get humanitarian relief to a region as rapidly as possible.

Using Technology to Drive Philanthropy

The Flexport/MedShare partnership is one of many ways companies, especially technology companies, can help drive the kind of philanthropy that scales. Too often, in the rush to provide aid, the wrong supplies are delivered to the wrong place and just pile up unused. That’s why the companies that Pledge 1% are vital to helping nonprofits focus on their core strengths of helping those in need while benefiting from the scale and scope of platforms like Flexport’s. If you want to help technology drive philanthropy, why not Pledge 1%?