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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 20 July 2021

Hossein Baharmand, Amin Maghsoudi and Giulio Coppi

Some studies and reports have recently suggested using blockchain technology to improve transparency and trust in humanitarian supply chains (HSCs). However…

2029

Abstract

Purpose

Some studies and reports have recently suggested using blockchain technology to improve transparency and trust in humanitarian supply chains (HSCs). However, evidence-based studies to display the utility and applicability of blockchains in HSCs are missing in the literature. This paper aims to investigate the key drivers and barriers of blockchain application to HSCs and explore whether evidence could support that the application of blockchain improves transparency and trust in HSCs.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper puts forward a two-stage approach to explore the blockchain application in HSCs: an initial exploration of humanitarian practitioners and academicians interested in blockchain through focus group discussions; semi-structured interviews with practitioners involved at the UK Department for International Development's Humanitarian Supply Blockchain pilot project.

Findings

First, we found that main drivers include accountability, visibility, traceability, trust, collaboration, time efficiency, reducing administrative work and cross-sector partnership. Main barriers, however, are composed of engagement issues, lack of technical skills and training, lack of resources, privacy concerns, regulatory problems, pilot scalability issues and governance challenges. Second, evidence from our case study revealed the blockchain application could have added value to improve visibility and traceability, thus contributing to improve transparency. Concerning trust, evidence supports that blockchain could enhance both commitment and swift trust in the pilot study.

Practical implications

Our study contributes to a more understanding of added values and challenges of blockchain application to HSCs and creates a perspective for humanitarian decision-makers.

Originality/value

This study provides the first evidence from the actual application of blockchain technology in HSCs. The study discovered that it is still less evident in many humanitarian organizations, including medium- and small-sized nongovernmental organizations, that they engage in a direct deployment of in-house or customized blockchain-based HSC. Instead, these actors are more likely to indirectly use blockchain in HSCs through a private commercial partner.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 2 March 2021

Russell Harpring, Amin Maghsoudi, Christian Fikar, Wojciech D. Piotrowicz and Graham Heaslip

This study aims to describe the compounding factors in a complex emergency, which exacerbate a cholera epidemic among vulnerable populations due to supply chain…

1790

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to describe the compounding factors in a complex emergency, which exacerbate a cholera epidemic among vulnerable populations due to supply chain disruptions. Basic needs such as food, medicine, water, sanitation and hygiene commodities are critical to reduce the incidence rate of cholera and control the spread of infection. Conflicts cause damage to infrastructure, displace vulnerable populations and restrict the flow of goods from both commercial and humanitarian organizations. This study assesses the underlying internal and external factors that either aggravate or mitigate the risk of a cholera outbreak in such settings, using Yemen as a case study.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a system dynamics methodology to analyze factors that influence cholera outbreaks in the context of the Yemeni Civil War. A causal loop diagram with multiple components was constructed to represent the complexities of humanitarian situations that require critical decision-making. The model was built using data from humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations and practitioners, along with literature from academic sources. Variables in the model were confirmed through semi-structured interviews with a field expert.

Findings

Compounding factors that influenced the cholera outbreak in Yemen are visualized in a causal loop diagram, which can improve the understanding of relationships where numerous uncertainties exist. A strong link exists between humanitarian response and the level of infrastructure development in a country. Supply chains are affected by constraints deriving from the Yemeni conflict, further inhibiting the use of infrastructure, which limits access to basic goods and services. Aligning long-term development objectives with short-term humanitarian response efforts can create more flexible modes of assistance to prevent and control future outbreaks.

Research limitations/implications

The model focuses on the qualitative aspects of system dynamics to visualize the logistics and supply chain-related constraints that impact cholera prevention, treatment and control through humanitarian interventions. The resulting causal loop diagram is bounded by the Yemen context; thus, an extension of the model adapted for other contexts is recommended for further study.

Practical implications

This study presents a systematic view of dynamic factors existing in complex emergencies that have cause-and-effect relationships. Several models of cholera outbreaks have been used in previous studies, primarily focusing on the modes and mechanisms of transmission throughout a population. However, such models typically do not include other internal and external factors that influence the population and context at the site of an outbreak. This model incorporates those factors from a logistics perspective to address the distribution of in-kind goods and cash and voucher assistance.

Social implications

This study has been aligned with six of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using their associated targets in the model as variables that influence the cholera incidence rate. Recognizing that the SDGs are interlinked, as are the dynamic factors in complex humanitarian emergencies, the authors have chosen to take an interdisciplinary approach to consider social, economic and environmental factors that may be impacted by this research.

Originality/value

This paper provides an insight into the underlying inter-relations of internal and external factors present in the context of a cholera outbreak in a complex crisis. Supply chains for food; water, sanitation and hygiene; and health products are crucial to help prevent, control and treat an outbreak. The model exposes vulnerabilities in the supply chain, which may offer guidance for decision makers to improve resilience, reduce disruptions and decrease the severity of cholera outbreaks.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 24 December 2020

Amin Maghsoudi and Mohammad Moshtari

This paper identifies the challenges during a recent disaster relief operation in a developing country where the humanitarian response is dominated by national actors…

4674

Abstract

Purpose

This paper identifies the challenges during a recent disaster relief operation in a developing country where the humanitarian response is dominated by national actors, with international actors having a minor role.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study design is used; the main data sources are semi-structured interviews with 43 informants involved in the 2017 Kermanshah earthquake relief operation.

Findings

The findings suggest that humanitarian practitioners deal with multiple challenges during disaster relief operations. One group of challenges relates to humanitarian logistics (HL) like needs assessment, procurement, warehousing, transportation and distribution, all widely discussed in the literature. Another involves the growing use of social media, legitimacy regulations and the engagement of new humanitarian actors (HAs) like social media activists and celebrities. These factors have not been extensively studied in the literature; given their growing influence, they require more scholarly attention.

Practical implications

The findings will help humanitarian practitioners and policymakers better understand the challenges involved in disaster relief operations conducted by multiple actors and thus help them improve their practices, including the creation of proper regulations, policies and logistics strategies.

Originality/value

The study uses primary data on a recent disaster to assess and extend the findings of previous studies regarding HL challenges. It also elaborates on the critical non-logistical challenges that influence aid delivery in emergency responses, including the growth of social media, regulations and the engagement of new HAs. The results may motivate future empirical and modelling studies to investigate the identified challenges and identify practices to mitigate them.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 January 2016

Amin Maghsoudi and Ala Pazirandeh

This paper aims to, by connecting to the ongoing conversation on the importance of supply chain visibility, empirically examine the impact of visibility in supply chain…

3235

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to, by connecting to the ongoing conversation on the importance of supply chain visibility, empirically examine the impact of visibility in supply chain relationships, on resource sharing among and on the performance of humanitarian organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 101 humanitarian organizations in Southeast Asia. The organizations all experienced being interconnected within the supply chain relationships formed in humanitarian response settings. Data are used to test the conceptually developed model, using the structural equation modeling-partial least square (SEM-PLS) approach.

Findings

Results show that visibility has a significant impact on resource sharing and the performance of the organizations, especially in terms of the willingness to share resources, resources used and flexibility of organizations. The results also show that, in situations of high uncertainty, the association between resource sharing and performance becomes weaker.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to the method used.

Practical implications

Findings of this research provide insights for humanitarian practitioners on the need to increase visibility of the scarce resources available within the relationships formed during a disaster relief operation to improve overall disaster response. The level of uncertainty in terms of needs assessment, number of affected people, location of a disaster and so forth, is also taken into account in the recommendations made.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to empirically test the link between visibility, resource sharing and performance, specifically in a humanitarian context, which is among the critical success factors for better interorganizational coordination and better aid delivery.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Article
Publication date: 23 September 2021

Rohit Sharma, Taab Ahmad Samad, Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour and Mauricio Juca de Queiroz

The authors originally explore the factors for blockchain technology (BCT) adoption in agricultural supply chains (ASCs) to enhance circularity and understand the…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors originally explore the factors for blockchain technology (BCT) adoption in agricultural supply chains (ASCs) to enhance circularity and understand the dependencies, hierarchical structure and causalities between these factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on an extant literature review and expert opinion, the present study identified ten enablers for adopting BCT to leverage the circular economy (CE) practices in the ASCs. Then, using an integrated interpretive structural modeling and decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (ISM-DEMATEL) approach, hierarchical and cause–effect relationships are established.

Findings

It was observed that traceability is the most prominent enabler from the CE perspective in ASCs. However, traceability, being a net effect enabler, will be realized through the achievement of other cause enablers, such as seamless connectivity and information flow and decentralized and distributed ledger technology. The authors also propose a 12 Rs framework for enhancing circularity in ASC operations.

Research limitations/implications

The paper identifies enablers to BCT adoption that will enhance circularity in ASC operations. The ISM hierarchical model is based on the driving and dependence powers of the enablers, and DEMATEL aids in identifying causal relationships among the enablers.

Practical implications

The study's findings and proposed 12 Rs framework may help the practitioners and policymakers devise effective BCT implementation strategies in ASCs, thereby empowering sustainability and circularity.

Originality/value

This study enriches the literature by identifying and modeling enablers for BCT adoption in ASCs. The study also proposes a new 12 Rs framework to help enhance ASC circularity.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Mirpouya Mirmozaffari, Elham Shadkam, Seyyed Mohammad Khalili, Kamyar Kabirifar, Reza Yazdani and Tayyebeh Asgari Gashteroodkhani

Cement as one of the major components of construction activities, releases a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, resulting in adverse…

Abstract

Purpose

Cement as one of the major components of construction activities, releases a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, resulting in adverse environmental impacts and high energy consumption. Increasing demand for CO2 consumption has urged construction companies and decision-makers to consider ecological efficiency affected by CO2 consumption. Therefore, this paper aims to develop a method capable of analyzing and assessing the eco-efficiency determining factor in Iran’s 22 local cement companies over 2015–2019.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses two well-known artificial intelligence approaches, namely, optimization data envelopment analysis (DEA) and machine learning algorithms at the first and second steps, respectively, to fulfill the research aim. Meanwhile, to find the superior model, the CCR model, BBC model and additive DEA models to measure the efficiency of decision processes are used. A proportional decreasing or increasing of inputs/outputs is the main concern in measuring efficiency which neglect slacks, and hence, is a critical limitation of radial models. Thus, the additive model by considering desirable and undesirable outputs, as a well-known DEA non-proportional and non-radial model, is used to solve the problem. Additive models measure efficiency via slack variables. Considering both input-oriented and output-oriented is one of the main advantages of the additive model.

Findings

After applying the proposed model, the Malmquist productivity index is computed to evaluate the productivity of companies over 2015–2019. Although DEA is an appreciated method for evaluating, it fails to extract unknown information. Thus, machine learning algorithms play an important role in this step. Association rules are used to extract hidden rules and to introduce the three strongest rules. Finally, three data mining classification algorithms in three different tools have been applied to introduce the superior algorithm and tool. A new converting two-stage to single-stage model is proposed to obtain the eco-efficiency of the whole system. This model is proposed to fix the efficiency of a two-stage process and prevent the dependency on various weights. Converting undesirable outputs and desirable inputs to final desirable inputs in a single-stage model to minimize inputs, as well as turning desirable outputs to final desirable outputs in the single-stage model to maximize outputs to have a positive effect on the efficiency of the whole process.

Originality/value

The performance of the proposed approach provides us with a chance to recognize pattern recognition of the whole, combining DEA and data mining techniques during the selected period (five years from 2015 to 2019). Meanwhile, the cement industry is one of the foremost manufacturers of naturally harmful material using an undesirable by-product; specific stress is given to that pollution control investment or undesirable output while evaluating energy use efficiency. The significant concentration of the study is to respond to five preliminary questions.

Article
Publication date: 7 July 2021

Taha Hocine Douara, Salim Guettala, Tarek Hadji and Ahmed Attia

The purpose of this study is to contribute with experimental study of the effects of binary and ternary combinations of river sand (RS), crushed sand (CS) and dune sand…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to contribute with experimental study of the effects of binary and ternary combinations of river sand (RS), crushed sand (CS) and dune sand (DS) on the physical and mechanical performances of self-compacting concrete (SCC) subjected to acidic curing environments, HCl and H2SO4 solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

Five SCCs were prepared with the combinations 100% RS, 0.8RS + 0.2CS, 0.6RS + 0.2CS + 0.2DS, 0.6RS + 0.4DS and 0.6CS + 0.4DS. The porosity of sand, fluidity, deformability, stability, compressive strength and sorptivity coefficient were tested. SCCs cubic specimens with a side length of 10 cm were submerged in HCl and H2SO4 acids, wherein the concentration was 5%, for periods of 28, 90 and 180 days. The resistance to acid attack was evaluated by visual examination, mass loss and compressive strength loss.

Findings

The results showed that it is possible to partially substitute the RS with CS and DS in the SCC, without strongly affecting the fluidity, deformability, stability, compressive strength and durability against HCl and H2SO4 attack. The two combinations, 0.8RS + 0.2CS and 0.6RS + 0.2CS + 0.2DS, improved the compactness and the resistance to acid attacks of SCC. Consequently, the improvement in SCC compactness, by the combination of RS, CS and DS, decreased the sorptivity coefficient of SCC and increased its resistance to acid attacks, in comparison with that made only by RS.

Originality/value

The use of RS is experiencing a considerable increase in line with the development of the country. To satisfy this demand, it is necessary to substitute this sand with other materials more abundant. The use of locally available materials is a very effective way to protect the environment, improve the physico-mechanical properties and durability of SCC and it can be a beneficial economical alternative. Few studies have addressed the effect of the binary and ternary combination of RS, CS and DS on the resistance to acid attacks of SCC.

Details

World Journal of Engineering, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1708-5284

Keywords

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