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Core Program Dashboards

Your Core Program has received an OHRDP Dashboard with each Semi-Annual Inventory Management Survey (SIMS) since June 2022. OHRDP has made changes based on the feedback we’ve received from you and we’re introducing a new interactive Core Program Dashboard. It allows you to   toggle through tabs to learn more details related to harm reduction supplies your core has ordered.

The Dashboard reflects the volumes ordered through OHRDP and may not be a complete and accurate representation of the volumes distributed throughout your region. The Dashboard highlights:

  • a summary of harm reduction supplies ordered
  • a breakdown of volumes by supply group
  • volume changes by year, and
  • volume ratios with respect to Best Practice Recommendations (BPRs)

You may wonder why OHRDP created this dashboard when your program continues to receive a table with your Core Program’s last 6-month ordering history with each SIMS. Simply put, the interactive Dashboard provides a lot more information! We hope the increased detail may be valuable to your  operations, and helpful when meeting with community partners to discuss trends in your region.

The Dashboard provides your Core Program with the ability to see changes and monitor trends in your region through different metrics. For example, looking at the breakdown of only baggies ordered by your Core Program may indicate kit trends if your region has standardized coloured kits.

This information can help with programming decisions. If you observed the volume or percentage of the supply category being larger, this could mean it’s a supply or kit popular in your region. This could indicate an area of focus for your Core Program and partners.

Consulting the ratios tabulation to learn about your program’s ratios may influence decision making and highlight engagement needs, too!  

We encourage keeping your Core Program’s Interactive Dashboard link close, and consider using information for team planning and with community agencies!

We’d love to hear how your Core Program uses the data provided through the Dashboards.    

Ella (OHRDP)

Pozitive Pathways Community Services & the bin system

In 2022, Pauline Nash with her team at core NSP, Pozitive Pathways Community Services in Windsor adopted the bin system (see the January 2023 blog about bin systems). At the recent OHRDP “Let’s Talk Shop” meeting, Pauline shared details about how the bin system is working. 


” For some of the sites that order larger quantities of, say, bowl pipe kits – we know on average the site gives out maybe 300 a month.  The idea was to have bins that would have that quantity, so two bins that would have 150 kits each. Once one bin goes empty, it’s a trigger for those sites to reorder. Because a lot of sites have other objectives, (their business is something else), it’s difficult for them to manage inventory.  We thought it was a wonderful idea and it is working well at some sites – although, there are definitely one or two sites that still struggle a little bit. It’s more of a visual way for sites to help manage their inventory, rather than having to keep track of numbers.”

This image demonstrates how the bin system works at the community agencies that Pozitive Pathways Community Services supports –

We wanted to get a bit more information and followed up with Pauline with some questions:

What challenges were you trying to solve with the bin system AND how well has it worked?

“We were dealing with inconsistent inventory management both at our core site and community agency sites. We needed to ensure the quantities ordered reflected the distribution data reported by the community agencies. The system has been successful because it prevents community agencies from suddenly running out of supplies, and it takes the guess work out of their ordering.”

How did you decide the size of bins for each community agency?

“The size of bin a site receives is determined using each sites average monthly distribution data obtained from Neo360. Sizes are re-assessed every 6 months.”

Do you have any tips on adopting the bin system?
  • “Focus the bin system for sites that distribute large quantities of kits.
  • Use a coding system such as coloured labels on bins. For example, green label on bins with bowl pipe kits, blue label on bins with straight stem kits, etc. This allows staff to distinguish which kits are packed into different bins thus making the organizing and delivery processes easier.”
We appreciate Pozitive Pathways, Windsor sharing this system of distributing kits in their communities of Windsor-Essex, and Chatham-Kent.  Thank you Pauline and Team!

There are so many unique inventory management systems that core NSPs are using. Sharing what is working in your region may help another program that has been tackling a particular issue. Do you have a system or process that has been working well in your region? Would you be willing to share it in a blog post? Let us know at [email protected].

Blog written by Pauline Nash, and Lucas Rychlo.

SIMS – What’s the Purpose?

Let’s get into the SIMS!

SIMS stands for Semi-Annual Inventory Management Update & Survey. This survey is sent to all Core Program Managers each June and December. Why? –  to collect harm reduction supply volume projections so OHRDP is stocked and ready to meet your community’s harm reduction supply needs. It also is a way for you to guide some of the other work ORHDP does to support core Programs.

The survey can be completed by the Program Manager or delegated to an appropriate person knowledgeable on the ordering and distribution of OHRDPs harm reduction supplies.

We know how busy everyone is and like to keep this survey as short as possible. When your Program Manager receives the SIMS correspondences, we include the volumes of each OHRDP supply that was ordered through us from the previous 6-month period – and – your Core Program Dashboard (a PDF showing information and trends). This information is to help you complete the survey and can be used for your own program’s internal purposes!

What can you expect?

Typically, the June SIMS is more in-depth, as we request actual projections of volumes that will be required from OHRDP monthly for each supply. These volumes might take a bit of time to determine. You’ll want to consider changes that may impact volumes such as:

  • changes in the number of community agencies, and
  • change in CTS or outreach services.

Reaching out to community agencies will help you understand your region’s needs in comparison to current distribution practices. Using the volumes we provide, based on your recent ordering history can be your benchmark when factoring in these considerations! The volumes you share with us through the survey helps OHRDP ensure we are purchasing the right amount of supplies to meet provincial needs.

After the supply volume projection questions, we have other topic categories. These questions are related more to inventory management practices, different supplies, community trends, and so on. Depending on OHRDPs focus, your responses will provide us with information to make decisions based on the aggregate needs and interests.

And of course – at the end of the survey, we give you the opportunity to share with us any comments or feedback.  We take this feedback very seriously and appreciate anything you share!

How long does it take?

Completion time can vary! It can take time to collect information from community partners and colleagues. Once all information is collected, responding to the survey should only take 30 minutes or less. Generally, there is a 3 – week timeline to complete and submit the SIMS.

That’s it!

That’s the SIMS wrapped up! If you have any questions about our SIMS, email [email protected].

Written by Ella 

Expecting the Unexpected

No matter where you fit in the harm reduction supply chain of people and supplies, expecting the unexpected is just a part of our work. There is simply no opportunity, (for you on the ground, or for OHRDP working to ensure you have access to supplies) to chill out and coast.

We thought we would share some of the zany that we’ve been dealing with lately. While it’s removed from your direct service work – all of what we do is to make sure you have what you need to support your community

Where Are Those Impact 1.0 Blue Screens?

We ask you to project, which is difficult when you don’t have a crystal ball for the needs of your community. Now, multiply that for the entire province and long-term planner becomes a loose term. There is a long lead-time for supplies to be made, plus the distance for transportation from another country.  The problem with dealing with manufacturers overseas are the dreaded transportation delays.

Our records were clear that we had a good 2 months-worth of Impact 1.0 blue screens in the warehouse, more than enough to carry us until the incoming shipment. Well – apparently there was ‘no-months-worth’ of these screens in the warehouse. Human error at the medical distributor’s warehouse miscalculated and there was NO Impact 1.0 screens at all. Scrambling to find where the incoming shipment was to expedite it, we discovered it was backed up at the harbour port in Vancouver.  Major port backlogs meant we didn’t know how long it would take to dock and unload. Getting it from dock to warehouse at the quickest speed was another issue. What we learned was, once on a boat and in harbour, released containers can not be opened to re-package and distribute. They must leave the port as a whole container as stated on the original paperwork. This limited possible solutions.

But here are a couple of important things we are always reminded:

  1. It doesn’t matter where you are in the harm reduction supply chain (warehouse or direct service), physical ‘eyes on’ stock counts are critical to making sure you have what you need! Not only relying on computer spreadsheets.
  2. We have amazing and generous core programs. Toronto had stock on hand and offered to send some of their Impact 1.0 blue inventory back to Stevens to re-distribute for those programs that needed it, until the shipment arrived.

Those Aren’t Our Spoons!

The OHRDP team won’t forget the day we were informed by Stevens that the new shipment of Spoons cookers received in the warehouse was way different from our usual order. We could not stand behind this new product without evidence of its safety. And the manufacturer would not share any information about this new product. Without evidence of safety, we knew we couldn’t give these to service-users.

We contacted the programs who ordered the Spoon on a regular basis to break the news to them. We wanted to know the impact it would have on their service-users, and how we could help with transition. 

 And here are a couple of important things we were reminded:

  1. Every single program was understanding, supportive, and felt they could work with their service-users around this transition.
  2. Again! – we have amazing and generous core programs. Many of you offered your inventory of Spoons from your shelves to be re-distributed to those programs whose service-users would need them more. 

Zac Efron

Our team loves the work we do – and we are inspired by working with you as our colleagues. Every day we all must adapt to the realities in our work. Ultimately, and in the sage words of Zac Efron, ‘we’re all in this together.’  Lean on each other during the zany times, and remember – we’re always available to bounce ideas off of, or to ask questions.

The Visual Workplace and the 2-Bin System

Imagine being a new staff person and entering your storage space for the first time. You would probably have many questions and would be looking for visual signs in your surroundings to help guide you.  Making your storage space a visual workplace has benefits for new and seasoned staff and is vital for keeping the space efficient, safe and organized.

What is the Visual Workplace?

The visual workplace uses symbols, signs, and labelling to quickly communicate important information. Think about how visual signs or aids are used in the grocery store. Arrows on the floor directing you down the aisles, and thanks to the aisle labelling, you are able to find where the pepper is located.  With pepper in hand, you see which cash registers are open because their numbers are lit up. These are all examples of visual cues and signs.

There are lots of visual signs you can include in your storage space, such as floor markings, colour-coded task lists, outlined spaces for tools, posters, and labelling.

Another very practical use of visual aids would be implementing what’s known as the 2-bin system.

 The 2-Bin System and Its Benefits

The 2-bin system is a simple way to know when/how much to restock, and can be useful for places like kit pick-up areas. It works by having a certain number of items in each bin, with instructions about which to take from first, and what to do when the first bin is empty.

  • For example, think of this system:
  • 2 bins full of supplies
  • service users take from bin 1 first
  • when bin 1 is empty it is set aside, and bin 2 is put into rotation
  • meanwhile bin 1 is re-stocked and ready to rotate in when bin 2 is empty

With the right labelling, this becomes a self-sustaining system where the empty bin serves as the visual signal for staff to restock.   A similar system can also be used for stock movement with community agencies, or for your own ordering from your suppliers.

Has this given you any ideas for how visual aids can assist you and your team at your program? We’d love to hear your ideas and see photos.  We’re always available to email at [email protected].

-Lucas (OHRDP)

Storage Areas Need Cleaning Too!

Storage Space Cleaning Party!

Storage spaces regardless of their size and shape are in need of constant attention. Although we’d like to tidy them up once and walk away – unfortunately they need TLC. Regardless of shape or size, they can become a dusty area with the occasional cobweb or spider!

Set Your Goals

At your harm reduction program, your storage area for supplies should not be a place where you dread to tread. So, regardless of what it looks like at the moment, visualize your storage space being as organized and clean as possible. In your mind’s eye, create the most efficient lay-out within the actual parameters of your available space. Picture areas mapped out and labelled for each supply. Consider your storage area receiving consistent attention, just like other important spaces in your building.

Remember, many of the products you are storing have been sterilized. So, if your boxes are covered with dust, or sitting on a damp floor – these things could compromise the quality of the supplies.  Temperature and humidity control are important too, so that supplies don’t freeze or overheat. You also need to be mindful of expiry dates, so use ‘first in first out’ with expiration dates facing so they can be easily read.

Plan an Afternoon

Use your best judgement, how many hands will you need to turn what you have, into what you want, in a single afternoon? Talk with your team and develop a plan. Share your vision for the storage area to make sure it works for the whole team.  With approvals in hand, set the date and gather the materials you’ll need to make it happen.

Some of us are old enough to recall the song, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Well, if you have to roll up your sleeves and do this, why not make it fun? Gather your posse and crank some tunes. During an afternoon of moving boxes, sweeping, mopping, wiping down walls, sanitizing shelves, organizing, labelling, and everything else you’ll be doing – it’s time well spent team building!

-Sticky (OHRDP)

Have Questions?

Reach out to our support team at OHRDP.

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