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A well-deserved award for the humanitarian sector

The European Supply Chain Excellence Awards are given each year to companies that have achieved outstanding levels of performance and innovation within the logistics industry. With about 20 categories of awards ranging from supply chains of innovation in technology, to retail, to aerospace, the winners are commonly private sector companies such as UPS, Unilever or Virgin Media.

However, this year, members of the humanitarian logistics sector made their way to the winner’s table.  On 1 November in London, a training program for logisticians called the Certification in Humanitarian Logistics (CHL) was awarded the 2011 European Supply Chain Excellence Award for Training and Professional Development. Created by the San Francisco-based Fritz Institute and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT), the CHL faced  fierce competition among short-listed candidates including DHL Supply Chain, BAE Systems and Gist. The award was accepted by the Fritz Institute, in partnership with CILT UK and the Logistics Learning Alliance (LLA).

For WFP, the significance is the person who was behind the development of the CHL: Congratulations to none other than our own Bernard Chomilier of the Logistics Development Unit! Coordinated by the Fritz Institute, and together with a team of humanitarian aid professionals from leading organizations including WFP, Bernard led the development of the training as the original content expert and at the time, a Fritz staff member. This included the creation of a 700-page, 7-module booklet, the formulation of the training itself, and lastly the design of the overall case study.

According to a Fritz Institute press release, judges evaluated each entry up for the award by looking for, “evidence of significant developments in supply chain professional development programs within an organization, or their field, as well as strategic use of training programs for the logistics and supply chain functions.”

Looking back to 2005, Bernard recalls how important it was to have the major humanitarian organizations willing to work together to come up with a standardized training. “That was complex,” Bernard noted. “It took us 3 meetings of 4 hours each to only define what a supply chain is, because it is different for each organization.”

Not only has the CHL been recognized by the commercial supply chain industry, but it also has an ever-increasing impact on the humanitarian community, as well as on WFP.  Since its launch in 2006, the completion of the CHL has progressively moved towards becoming a pre-requisite for today’s logisticians, with some organizations calling it an essential Certification.

WFP Logistics has integrated the training into its own staff development programme and has sponsored 116 logistics staff members to complete the CHL from 2007 to 2010. Globally, the total number of participants continues to grow, representing logisticians from over 200 organizations. Just last month, the 1000th participant enrolled in the Certification, which includes both the French and English versions of the training. Upon completion of the course, graduates report a better understanding of the overall supply chain and of the fundamentals of logistics, as well as increased job opportunities.

Our tip of the hat goes to Bernard, Fritz, CILT and LLA for this great accomplishment!