RITA: Relief Item Tracking Application
In 2013, the Logistics Cluster successfully deployed the Relief Item Tracking Application (RITA) for consignment reporting, and standardized the application as part of their normal, internal tool kit. The application now supports the Logistics Cluster operations in the Philippines, South Sudan, Syria and service provision for WFP Logistics in Zimbabwe. 2014 will continue to see additional developments and increased usability enhancements as more countries and operations incorporate the application and development continues.
RITA, a WFP developed web-based application, allows for: better management of service requests; improved remote support for customers and operators in field locations; easier training of staff in the field; remote login by customers; and, better consolidation of service reporting. Most importantly for the Logistics Cluster, RITA can be used at any time and requires a minimal amount of training. Furthermore, navigation within the system is organized by function (i.e. Input, Receive, Dispatch) in a logical sequence.
For the field level Logistics Clusters, and partners offering service provision through the Logistics Cluster, having easily accessible information on current and upcoming movement requests allows for a greater degree of transport planning. Additionally, operations are now able to report standard metrics of their performance to date, thereby providing users and the Cluster with the most recent data entered by remote operators. For customers, the added functionality offered by RITA includes a unique tracking number, which enables the user directly to gather an overview of basic information concerning the disposition of their shipment through the main RITA website.
Specifications and Key Features
The strength in RITA lies in its powerful reporting tools and customer support features. The system allows for numerous reports to be generated within set date ranges and for export to Excel; providing the opportunity to create customized reports, based on operator needs. Not only does RITA provide information on cargo movements, it can also act as a basic warehouse-reporting tool. Some other key features include, but are not limited to:
- Warehouse reporting based on a set date range to show past stock levels and activity;
- Detailed dispatch reporting;
- Detailed reporting for agencies showing past activity and the status of their items currently in the system;
- Consignment information for all movement planning;
- Consignment information broken down by agency, type of cargo, and location; and,
- Updates available to users through a consignment disposition screen accessed through a unique tracking number.
The application is currently complete as per original specifications but continues to undergo additional development to meet new needs and accommodate requests arising from established operations. The support team in Rome continues to work with the developer, operators and managers on modifications to the application. Future features to be added to the application will include but not be limited to:
- Accessibility through mobile devises such as tablets and mobile phones;
- Waybill and key document tracking;
- User agency login to create consignment request(s);
- Automatic emails to users for updates on cargo status;
- Invoice generation.
This simple, yet powerful application has allowed the Logistics Cluster to report on common service provision to both users and donors with an unprecedented level of consistency, accuracy, and detail. Through extensive user-testing, it now stands as the standard to be used in any future emergency operation. In addition, RITA will be adopted as the principal reporting tool for WFP operations providing non-food item storage and transport support.
Since writing this report, RITA has been successfully deployed to four operations. The Philippines, South Sudan and Syria Logistics Cluster emergency responses have implemented the RITA system as their common service reporting tool. WFP Zimbabwe has also deployed it to support their storage and transport service provision to other agencies. Currently, 109 agencies rely on RITA for the reporting of their cargo and over 30 operators have been trained globally, to include non-WFP operators. For the Philippines (Philippines Cargo Transport Snapshot), Syria (Syria Reporting) and South Sudan (South Sudan Common Service Reporting) operations, RITA has tracked and reported on 1,664 requests for common services submitted by humanitarian agencies.
For additional questions, please contact the RITA HelpDesk at: firstname.lastname@example.org.