How Costpoint Aids Nonprofit Organization on the Frontlines: Supporting Those in Crisis Worldwide

June 25, 2021

International Medical Corps (IMC) is an emergency response-focused nonprofit organization that delivers medical and related services to those affected by conflict, disaster and disease, no matter the location or conditions – saving lives and relieving suffering. It also trains people within their communities to help them chart their own path to self-reliance and become effective first responders themselves.

Founded in Afghanistan in 1984 by a group of doctors and nurses, IMC developed a pioneering approach to train Afghan civilians as advanced medics and support, supplying them as they returned to Afghanistan to help residents in crisis within their home communities. It was then that the organization established a key component of its humanitarian approach: strengthening local systems and training local people, to build resilience and self-reliance.

Teams quickly expanded, and since its founding has provided more than $3.2 billion in aid in more than 80 countries. Today, with more than 7,200 staff members around the world (90% of whom are local to the communities they serve), the organization in 2020 helped more than 18,541,622 people in crisis –reaching more than 1,941,030 people through nutrition services – and supported more than 3,810,018 people with water, sanitation and hygiene services.

In 2013, our Senior Leadership team had a vision that technology needs to play a vital role in the organization’s success and to ensure organization’s growth and expansion needed to reach out to those in crisis, often located in desolate and remote areas all around the globe. That was the year International Medical Corps implemented Deltek Costpoint.

Q: How has International Medical Corps been involved in response to the global pandemic?

A: IMC is continuously providing medical expertise, as well as equipment, training and triage treatment services. We actually designed a multipronged approach to ensure that at-risk countries and regions are able to prepare for and respond to outbreaks of COVID-19.

We prioritized response activities to include training and capacity building, to protect frontline health workers and staff in at-risk countries and slow the spread of the coronavirus, and prepositioned and deployed medicine and supplies – this was critical with a global shortage and the rising costs of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Q: Explain how you are leveraging Costpoint to help with the challenges posed by COVID-19, improve business processes and help people in crisis.

A: To support the deployment of medicine and supplies, we use Materials within Costpoint. We partnered with the United Nations to support COVID-19 relief, because the UN has a warehouse in Dubai, which is a central location for countries where IMC provides services. With this partnership, we created a partner warehouse to store supplies, and created a partner view within Costpoint that enabled the UN to have visibility over these supplies, including masks, gowns and other protective equipment to fight COVID-19.

However, it’s important to note that IMC not only provided assistance to countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We also mounted an extensive domestic response across the United States for COVID-19. In the U.S. specifically, we provided support to hospitals and healthcare facilities in Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas. We focused on large metropolitan areas and vulnerable populations, partnering with local health facilities and medical centers to strengthen the capacity and meet service gaps within these communities.

Solutions like Costpoint enable us to have more centralized procurement and improve our business processes, allowing for more effective delivery of services in the fight against COVID-19. Every mission that IMC runs, in about 30 countries around the world, has access to our inventory within Costpoint. Written reports with status updates are readily available, and missions have the ability to reserve a portion of the inventory, making it easier for certain countries to receive PPE where it’s more expensive and difficult to obtain. Furthermore, from a domestic perspective, we’ve had the ability to more accurately track projects (especially those that involve PPE) since moving to Costpoint. Sometimes we need to send generators, mobile hospitals, medical equipment and medicine to more-remote parts of the world, and we rely heavily on Costpoint to find available resources in the vicinity. If we don’t have the supplies in store, we initiate emergency procurement via Costpoint’s Procurement module.

Q: What role has technology played to support IMC’s mission, and how important is that to your organization?

A: Technology played a vital role across our organization. We are proud first responders, able to reach people in need after major disasters within the first 72 hours, but we've been thinking of ourselves lately as a software experts, due to all the software solutions that we have acquired or even developed internally to help reach even more people in need.

Imagine you’re planning a family vacation, and you start planning weeks, if not months, in advance to find accommodations, book flights, rental cars, etc. For us, as part of the emergency response, technology provides state-of-the-art resources to help our teams confirm travel within that 72-hour window. It is critical that we have trusted solutions, like Deltek Costpoint, at our disposal for successful missions.

Q: What led you to Deltek and its Costpoint solution?

A: We had a vision to grow, expanding IMC’s global presence so we could serve more people in need. We wanted to be everywhere, and this wasn't supported by our legacy systems. Due to outdated technologies, we had various accounting systems running in each country. We did not have a timesheet collection system; instead, it was a manual process based on Microsoft® Excel.

But we have more than 7,000 staff members worldwide, with 12 monthly timesheets required. When you multiply that, you have 84,250 timesheets to collect per year. We calculated our revenues manually, including our intercompany transfers. It was time for us to move to a one-stop shop, to a robust solution. In the last three years, we’ve introduced the Time & Expense module and mobile app to more than 6,000 staff members, saving our teams a significant number of work by automating the timekeeping and expense-report process.

Additionally, we desperately needed a web-based solution – one that could be deployed in a new country in a matter of hours. With our previous systems, we had to implement the system every time we would go to a new country. With Costpoint, we just set up a new network, along with a couple of new projects, add some staff and there we have it – Costpoint up and running in our new countries for these emergency responses in no time.

Governmental and donor regulations, along with commendation requirements, were also becoming more restrictive. With our previous solution, data retrieval was fully manual and time-consuming. Costpoint supports our compliance requirements right out of the box.

Another reason we chose Costpoint was the ability to consolidate our financials and the data between accounting software in the field. Previously, at the end of each month, each field team sent numbers to headquarters. From there, accounting would reconcile the numbers, and import them. By running on Costpoint, everything is integrated as soon as a transaction is entered, with complete visibility into project data and financial transactions for both the field office and headquarters. We went from managing 30 different applications worldwide – which cost a lot of time, money and resources – down to managing one central system. All of this helped us.

Q: Can you tell us what it’s been like partnering with Deltek, so far?

A: We should start with our selection of the Select Care, because our decision helped us develop a partnership with Deltek. It introduced us to many great people at Deltek, who have been our advocates and helped us reach our goals.

For example, back in 2019 at Deltek Insight, the Deltek team graciously helped us organize a fundraising event. During the Expo, a large team helped us put together hygiene kits that we then sent to beneficiaries at some of our African missions. The fact that Deltek staff was willing to offer time, during its conference, to help a customer complete a mission for those in need – now, that is partnership.

Q: How does International Medical Corps define success?

A: We divide success into two sections: organizational and technology success. Organizationally, we want to continue to provide services around the world, helping the most vulnerable populations, deliver medical services and move products during difficult times such as the pandemic. PPE is an extremely important piece of supply to distribute into our field programs, enabling them to continue delivering services.

Success in technology, however, means that by leveraging modern technology like a Deltek ERP, we operate more efficiently and effectively. The purpose of technology is to support various business units and processes, which Costpoint enables us to do seamlessly.

Q: What’s next on the horizon for International Medical Corps?

A: We’re continuing to save lives and work with vulnerable communities around the world. We’ve been heavily focused on responding to the pandemic, and it’s been a lot of work for our teams, but we will continue to provide other services to those in need, including fighting other infectious diseases; helping people deal with the mental health ramifications of conflict, disease and disaster; giving women and children the healthcare they deserve; supporting survivors of gender-based violence, providing nutrition services; and ensuring that communities have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. We also will turn our attention to COVID-19 vaccination programs worldwide. Given our expertise in treating and preventing infectious diseases and in conducting effective immunization campaigns, we are happy to help halt the spread of this terrible disease.