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Internal integration in humanitarian supply chain management: Perspectives at the logistics-programmes interface

David Makepeace (Durham University Business School, Durham University, Durham, UK)
Peter Tatham (Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Yong Wu (Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith University, Southport, Australia)

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 2042-6747

Article publication date: 3 April 2017




The purpose of this paper is to compare perspectives on humanitarian logistics (HL) and supply chain management (SCM) among programmes and logistics/support staff.


Underpinned by services supply chain management (SSCM) theory, a single case study of a leading international non-governmental organisation is presented based on a web-based survey of the organisation’s global operations staff, supplemented by semi-structured interviews conducted with senior representatives.


The study is believed to be the first to consider the different perspectives of programmes and logistics staff on the interpretation of logistics and SCM. The results indicate both significant divergence between the views of these two cohorts, as well as a general lack of clarity over the concept of SCM, its relationship with logistics and the cross-functional nature of SCM.

Research limitations/implications

Insufficient responses from programme staff limit the generalisability of the findings. Suggestions for future research include further examination of the potential of applying SSCM and demand chain management concepts to the humanitarian context.

Practical implications

The results support the notion that a broader, more strategic interpretation of SCM, more clearly distinguished from the practice of HL, may assist in breaking down perceived jurisdictional boundaries, bridging the gap between programmes and logistics teams, and strengthening demand-chain influences and the “voice of the beneficiary”.


By taking into account the views of non-logisticians, a broader, cross-functional interpretation of SCM is offered leading to revised definitions for both SCM and HL within this sector, together with a framework that integrates SCM across humanitarian relief and development contexts.



Special thanks to Rosie, wife of the author David Makepeace, for the encouragement and patience during this long process. A tremendous thanks to the co-author, Peter Tatham, for the guidance and thought-provoking, but always gracious, debate. Thanks also to Dr Kiran Fernandes of Durham University and Dr Yong Wu of Griffith University for their input. No funding was received by any party in the development of this work.


Makepeace, D., Tatham, P. and Wu, Y. (2017), "Internal integration in humanitarian supply chain management: Perspectives at the logistics-programmes interface", Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 26-56.



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