British Red Cross and its technology partners AIDC Solutions and TransitionWorks have developed a new system designed to streamline and improve the management of over 5,000 Red Cross assets in the field, including laptop computers, satellite phones, GPS locators, surveying equipment and vehicles used in multiple humanitarian aid projects worldwide, it was announced today.
Each asset will be fitted with an updatable RFID (radio frequency identification) tag which will hold details of user, programme, location and several other pieces of information. Tags can be scanned in the field using a handheld device to record changes that are then updated on the tag before being uploaded via the internet to a British Red Cross server in the UK.
The system is being piloted at the Red Cross international warehouse in Bristol, where the organisation stores the equipment for its logistics and mass sanitation Emergency Response Units, or ERU. Assets to be tracked in this case include fork lift trucks, drilling and other construction equipment, hygiene promotion items, vehicles and generators. Red Cross and Red Crescent ERUs – standby teams and equipment – are on call 24/7, ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. The logistics ERU plays a vital role in getting relief to people who need it, by setting up systems and warehouses for the relief supplies coming into a disaster zone and ensuring that those items are accounted for and sent out in an organised way.
"As an organisation supported and funded by our donors our accountability and visibility are vital, and we take the responsibility of tracking our assets very seriously" says British Red Cross logistics support officer David Northfield. "The new asset management system will help us do that, as well as streamlining our processes and response".
The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation – the largest of its kind – that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement started in 1863, inspired by a Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant.
"This is the first system of its kind to be developed for the humanitarian response environment, and we are pleased to see our supply chain asset tracking knowledge being used in this way" says AIDC Solutions operations director David Myers.