Supply chain process modelling for humanitarian organizations

Alexander Blecken (Heinz Nixdorf Institute, Paderborn, Germany)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper is to present a supply chain process modelling method adapted to the requirements of humanitarian organisations.


Empirical research was conducted to identify the state of practice of supply chain management (SCM) in humanitarian organisations. An established procedure was selected, in order to develop a reference task model which forms the basis of the process modelling method. A literature review, expert interviews and other primary sources were used to identify the SCM activities that are required for the reference task model.


An empirical survey revealed that process modelling and optimisation are in their infancy at humanitarian organisations. A reference task model identifying over 100 SCM tasks is constructed. The applicability and feasibility of the developed process modelling method is exemplified by means of a case study.

Research limitations/implications

The reference task model provides the basis for further research on process modelling and optimisation in humanitarian supply chains.

Practical implications

The process modelling method supports humanitarian organisations in modelling and optimising their supply chain processes. Standardisation of supply chain processes is promoted which can be a key to improving operational effectiveness and efficiency as well as cooperation and coordination in humanitarian operations.


No rigorous supply chain process modelling technique adapted to the requirements of humanitarian organisations has yet been proposed. Likewise, to date, no comprehensive task model, which enables the construction of supply chain processes for humanitarian organisations, has been developed.



Blecken, A. (2010), "Supply chain process modelling for humanitarian organizations", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 40 No. 8/9, pp. 675-692.

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