4.2 Operational planning

Assessing the logistics implications as early as possible in the project cycle ensures that the logistical feasibility and cost of the proposed project are fully taken into account. In some cases, this can significantly affect viability, timing or cost effectiveness. The information gathered must then be translated into a logistics operational plan. The logistics operational plan produced in this post-assessment phase is integral to the project approval process.

Logistics operational plans should address:

  • budget requirements
  • infrastructure requirements (including offices, warehouses and staffing)
  • transport and movement planning
  • items required, sourcing and procurement schedules
  • distribution plans.

To produce the plan, information will be gathered from:

  • existing/previous projects of a similar technical or operational nature in the same area
  • knowledge/experience of logistics activities, including physical and human resources, communication and transport capability, and capacity in the region
  • knowledge of the global, regional and local logistics, and supply policies and procedures of CARE, donors and/or partners.

The logistics plan for a project addresses three phases of the project cycle:

  • start-up
  • implementation
  • closure.

For all activities in each phase, simple criteria should be used to address the issues of:

  • what-what is involved or required
  • who-who is consulted, makes decisions and carries out actions
  • when-timing of activities, their sequencing and dependencies
  • where-location of the project or project activities
  • quantities-how much and phasing
  • costs-estimates and constraints (staff, goods, services and works).

As the information is gathered for the activities at each phase, keep a record of: 

  • assumptions made and risks identified
  • dependencies on external factors
  • the critical success factors (things or people that are critical for the activity to be successful)
  • performance indicators that demonstrate how the activity has been carried out

Note! There must be good communication and teamwork between programme, logistics and finance people to ensure appropriate and feasible programmes and budgets for the response.