Maintenance and spare parts inventories in man‐made humanitarian disasters

Bernt E. Tysseland (Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, Bergen, Norway, and Molde University College, Bergen, Norway)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to determine how a small country's military force and a small country's non‐governmental organization (NGO) plan for and set up equipment maintenance, spare parts inventories in connection with man‐made humanitarian disasters. Additionally, it seeks to determine how the physical context, organizational structure and governance affect the planning and set‐up.


A research model that combines organizational theory with spare parts inventory theory is developed. Case study research methodology is used and observations and findings are discussed within the research model in order to answer predefined hypotheses.


Regarding planning procedures, as well as how the maintenance concept and spare parts inventory are set up, the research concludes that the organizational structure and governance of the organization contributing to the humanitarian operation in question are more important than physical context of the operation itself. Further it is concluded that the maturity level, when it comes to inventory control issues, is different for the two cases in question. None of the cases, however, utilize modern optimization methods and tools.

Research limitations/implications

Qualitative data from the two case studies give the possibility for in depth analysis of the case study findings. Lack of quantitative data means that it has not been possible to statistically reject or accept the hypotheses. More research is needed to present a template and/or processes based on the findings in the research.

Practical implications

By applying the research model developed in this study, organizations that contribute to humanitarian disasters could more easily assess their own possibility for effective maintenance and spare parts inventory planning and set up.


The study of the planning and set up of maintenance and spare parts inventories for both military and NGO players in connection with a man‐made humanitarian disaster is new. Further, the development of spare parts inventory theory into organizational theory is relatively new. Limited research is available within this field. The paper should be of interest to both practitioners and researchers within the field of maintenance and spare parts inventories in general, and in connection with humanitarian disasters in particular.



Tysseland, B. (2009), "Maintenance and spare parts inventories in man‐made humanitarian disasters", Management Research News, Vol. 32 No. 11, pp. 1065-1080.

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