Investigating humanitarian logistics issues: from operations management to strategic action

Jérôme Chandes (Cooperación Logística Solidaria, Lima, Peru and Université de la Méditerranée (Aix‐Marseille 2), Marseille, France)
Gilles Paché (Université de la Méditerranée (Aix‐Marseille 2), Marseille, France BEM – Bordeaux Management School, Bordeaux, France)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 16 March 2010



The purpose of this paper is to underline the advantages offered by applying the collective strategy model in the context of humanitarian logistics, enriching the existing benefits that operations management and business logistics techniques have brought to the field. In both man‐made and natural disaster relief, humanitarian logistics operations have been hampered by a lack of coordination between actors, which directly affects performance in terms of reactivity and reliability. Adapted collective strategies could offer a solution to this problem.


A literature review deals with the issue of humanitarian logistics through an operational dimension, followed by a strategic approach. This is rounded out with a case study dealing with the Pisco earthquake in Peru (August 2007), which is based on a participant observation methodological approach.


The research presented in this paper reveals that a collective action approach has a positive impact on the working of humanitarian supply chains, as long as a “hub” is used to provide accountability and reliability. If a technical approach, particularly in matters of operations management (optimization of transportation, location of regional warehouses, etc.) is essential to better manage humanitarian logistics, it must also be in the service of a collective strategy, notably in the pre‐positioning of supplies and the coordination of relief efforts.


There is an emerging body of work on managing logistical operations in a humanitarian context, but less on strategic readings of humanitarian supply chains. In addition, the application of methods from the field of business logistics is possible, but too often underestimated. This work helps to address both gaps.



Chandes, J. and Paché, G. (2010), "Investigating humanitarian logistics issues: from operations management to strategic action", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 320-340.

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