Purdue University researchers have developed a new tool to help first responders and disaster relief organizations better provide assistance to developing countries. The Purdue team created a cloud-based supply chain management system for emergency response to track inventory and distribution in countries struck by disasters.
“Our system is a step forward in bringing better aid to those impacted by horrific natural disasters and other events,” said Yuehwern Yih, a professor of industrial engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering, who leads the research team. “Our novel system combines inventory and distribution tracking in one easy-to-use platform. A key element is that everything has a footprint within the system and can be tracked.”
Yih and her research team worked with first responders to understand their needs when responding to areas hit by natural disasters or other catastrophic events. The Purdue system is meant to replace paper forms and ad hoc spreadsheets that are commonly used in developing countries to track things such as medical supplies, food, water and shelter.
Data can be entered offline to later be synced to the system via WiFi or network connections. The entire life cycle of items in the system can be traced, such as who delivered the item, which warehouse it was stored, which vendor the item was purchased from and names of people involved in each transaction. The Purdue team also plans to use the platform to analyze data from disaster responses to better understand trends and risk factors and help first responders prepare for future incidents.
About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization
The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Visit the Office of Technology Commercialization for more information.
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