Logistics performance management in action within a humanitarian organization

Sabine F. Schulz (Logistics Department, University of Technology Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Ian Heigh (Global Emergency Group, Middleburg, Virginia, USA)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to share the design and testing procedure of the “Development Indicator Tool” – a tool developed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to guide and monitor the continuous performance improvement of their (regional) logistics unit(s) on a daily basis.


The paper follows a descriptive approach. It starts with a description of the situational background of the IFRC. In a second step, it briefly portrays the theoretical concepts of continuous improvement and of the Balanced Scorecard and highlights the extension of existing literature on performance measurement in general and humanitarian logistics in particular. Next the paper summarizes the objectives of the tool and describes the four development phases as well as the tool design including the dashboard and the selected indicators. It concludes with indications on key success factors, challenges met along the way, expected impact and the future perspective.


The process of designing and implementing (tools for) a performance measurement and management system can and should be kept simple. Important for the success of the process is the integration of key stakeholders throughout the entire process as well as the simplicity and user‐friendliness of tools and system.

Practical implications

The provided insights are only a cut‐out of a solution developed for the specific context of one humanitarian organization. But by its simplicity it might encourage other organizations to start or improve their own performance management system.


Since conceptual and empirical research on performance management systems in the context of humanitarian operations in general and disaster relief logistics in particular are still limited, design and testing of a concrete indicator tool might contribute to the further investigation of this topic. The paper aids this process.



Schulz, S. and Heigh, I. (2009), "Logistics performance management in action within a humanitarian organization", Management Research News, Vol. 32 No. 11, pp. 1038-1049. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170910998273

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