Supply Chain Management main glossary

This is a glossary of key terms used throughout the site.

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SSS is an acronym for Single Source Selection, a procurement method.


Standard Operating Procedure

Standard operating procedures (SOP) are a set of written instructions established or prescribed to be followed routinely when carrying out a given operation in a given situation. SOPs guarantee that the practice is done in accordance with agreed upon specifications and aimed at obtaining a desired outcome. The development and use of SOPs are an integral part of a successful quality system as it provides staff with the information needed to perform a job properly.


STG is the acronym for standard treatment guidelines. According to WHO, STG is a systematically developed statement designed to assist practitioners and patients in making decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances. 


Stock keeping unit

A stock keeping unit (SKU) is a number given to a product in retail or warehousing. This number gives easy access to the price, the attributes, and the manufacturer of the product.

Stock on hand

The stock on hand is the quantity of usable stock available at a particular facility or level, or at all levels of a system at a given point in time.

Stock on order

The stock on order is the quantity of stock in the pipeline, ordered or confirmed as ordered with the suppliers but not yet delivered.


A stock-out is a situation where the demand for a product cannot be fulfilled. In other words, the stock on hand of the product is nil. This situation has to be avoided at all costs in the supply chain management of medicines, as it creates acute risks for the health of the population and jeopardises their trust in the health system. 

Stringent Regulatory Authorities

Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRA) are national regulatory authorities who apply the same standards for quality, safety, and efficacy of medicines as those of the WHO. To qualify as a SRA, a country must either be a member, or an observer of the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use. or have a mutual, legally binding recognition agreement with a member.

Substandard medicines

Substandard medicines are medicines that do not not meet the quality specifications set for that product. They are usually produced by genuine manufacturers, but the products became substandard as a result of negligence, human error, or poor storage conditions. The public health impact of substandard medicines is huge.

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