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Quantifying communication effects in disaster response logistics: A multiple network system dynamics model

Danilo R. Diedrichs (Mathematics & Computer Science Department, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA)
Kaile Phelps (Mathematics & Computer Science Department, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA)
Paul A. Isihara (Mathematics & Computer Science Department, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 4 April 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Complementing the importance of adequate relief supplies and transportation capacity in the first two weeks of post-disaster logistics, efficient communication, information sharing, and informed decision making play a crucial yet often underestimated role in reducing wasted material resources and loss of human life. The purpose of this paper is to provide a method of quantifying these effects.

Design/methodology/approach

A mathematical discrete dynamical system is used to model transportation of different commodities from multiple relief suppliers to disaster sites across a network of limited capacity. The physical network is overlaid with the communication network to model information delays and communication breakdowns between agents. The cost in human lives and the monetary cost are measured separately.

Findings

Simulations results highlight quantitatively how communication deficiencies and indiscriminate shipping of resources result in material convergence and shortage of urgent supplies observed in actual emergencies.

Originality/value

The model provides an example of a simple, objective, quantitative tool for decision making and training volunteer managers in the importance of a smart response protocol.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Michael Kietzman and Philip Stanton, as well as Joe Zeno at CaroTrans International and James Lagreca at AZ Midwest, Inc. for their professional assistance. This work was supported by the Wheaton College Summer Science Research Program and the Wheaton Alumni Association.

Citation

Diedrichs, D.R., Phelps, K. and Isihara, P.A. (2016), "Quantifying communication effects in disaster response logistics: A multiple network system dynamics model", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 24-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHLSCM-09-2014-0031

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited