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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2020

Saurav Negi and Gaurav Negi

The purpose of this paper is to identify the issues and challenges in humanitarian logistics and to develop a framework for effectively managing the humanitarian logistics

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the issues and challenges in humanitarian logistics and to develop a framework for effectively managing the humanitarian logistics in disaster relief supply chain operations in India.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a framework to manage humanitarian logistics effectively in disaster management through qualitative analysis. First, the author examines the challenges facing the humanitarian logistics and supply chain through the reviews of the literature on various disasters. Then, the author presented a framework based on the best practices and initiatives taken worldwide in the preparedness and response stage of the humanitarian supply chain to manage and reduce the aftermath of any disaster in context to India.

Findings

A framework has been developed to manage humanitarian logistics in the disaster relief operation, which would improve the humanitarian supply chain in India and help to effectively manage natural disasters in the preparedness and response stage at the state and district levels.

Research limitations/implications

The paper mainly emphasises on the preparedness and response stage of disaster supply chain management in Indian context.

Practical implications

None of the disaster incidents can be stopped from taking place, but the impact can be minimised by proper preparedness and effective response during the operations of humanitarian logistics. With this hope, the framework has been developed, which if implemented would help to plan and manage any disaster incident in an effective manner, which ultimately would save millions of lives and cost in terms of infrastructure, property, assets etc.

Originality/value

As natural disaster incidents are occurring frequently in Indian states, there is an urgent need for a framework to manage the logistics operations effectively and efficiently during any disaster relief operations. Limited literature is found on developing and presenting a framework focusing on the preparedness and response phase of disaster supply chain management in context to India. Hence, this paper is believed to be the first to fulfil this gap with main emphasis on the preparedness and response stage of disaster supply chain management in Indian scenario.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2020

Mohammad Asif Salam and Sami A. Khan

The purpose of this study is to draw lessons for logistics management in humanitarian disasters, using the earthquake in Haiti as a case study. In Haiti, there were…

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1151

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to draw lessons for logistics management in humanitarian disasters, using the earthquake in Haiti as a case study. In Haiti, there were problems with the logistical response. This study investigates the humanitarian logistics challenges faced by various stakeholders in Haiti during the disaster-relief operations.

Design/methodology/approach

In this exploratory case study, the central methodology used was data triangulation. Data triangulation involved interviews with respondents grouped into three categories, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the military establishment and the governmental agencies. Prominence is given to the common themes expressed by each group. These common themes are then compared to the themes of other groups to identify opportunities and problems for future disaster relief operations.

Findings

The study indicates that there is a clear gap in terms of how the humanitarian efforts were coordinated between different actors. Lack of civil–military cooperation and coordination was one of the findings from the interviews, and many of the resources and initiatives were overlapping or redundant. Timeliness and efficiency need to be at the forefront of all planning and would result in more saved lives and reduced human suffering. The key goal of humanitarian logistics stipulates is to form connections and relationships, which was well illustrated through the informants' interviews. It was found that organizing different stakeholders/actors to work together by sharing processes and distribution channels demands a vision that goes beyond logistics management. Government agencies, the military establishment, NGOs, locals and victims need to collaborate to create a synergy in generating solutions that are tailored to the shock of the disaster in the first place.

Research limitations/implications

The current study relies on a single case study approach as disaster scenarios are unique in terms of their impact, magnitude, timing and location. Despite these limitations, this study provides a detailed account of the logistical challenges in dealing with the disaster that took place in Haiti. The logistics-related lessons learned from this case study should be carefully applied in other settings, taken into consideration contextual differences.

Practical implications

One important aspect of measuring efficiency for any commercial logistics system is key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate how well the firm is doing in managing its inbound and outbound operations. From a practical standpoint, the Haiti case raised a challenging concern with regard to how to measure the performance of humanitarian disaster logistics. This is a starting point to understand the dynamics of disaster system efficiency and logistics interplay and offers a few lessons to improve the resource availability in the case of future emergencies.

Originality/value

This study lays the groundwork for future researchers to explore and debrief on the topic once disaster relief draws to a close and time has allowed logisticians and relief workers to analyze the response mechanisms used in disasters.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 7 April 2015

Denise D.P. Thompson

The purpose of this paper is to review the current state of disaster logistics among Caribbean small island developing states that are Caribbean Community (CARICOM…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the current state of disaster logistics among Caribbean small island developing states that are Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members, and, based on those findings propose a coherent logistics framework that could influence the development of a robust system that can effectively respond to disasters in the region.

Design/methodology/approach

Consisted of a series of in-depth interviews with national and regional disaster managers in the Caribbean. Secondary sources augmented the interviews. Data analysis conformed to Pope, et al. guidelines for qualitative research. There are limitations to this approach, but, the lack of existing research on the region and the need for information on the topic justify the approach.

Findings

The main findings show the lack of a coherent and integrated logistics strategy. Missing or weak components like transportation and distribution infrastructure, a procurement strategy, inadequate port facilities and insufficient human resources undermine the overall logistics performance. Although limitations of small island status further weigh on the development and implementation of a regional logistics approach is possible. The paper proposes one.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework has implications for disaster management and disaster policy in the Caribbean. From a disaster policy perspective it suggests important logistics governance decisions including funding, scalability issues and formalized agreements that must be made collectively.

Practical implications

From a management perspective the shows how to strengthen the regional response mechanism (RRM), builds efficiency in response and provides redundancies in the regional logistics system.

Originality/value

This paper’s value lies in its focus on a region that is often omitted in academic literature, but is disaster-prone. Importantly, the research proposes a workable framework on which to build a robust logistics infrastructure and improve logistics capacity based on primary research.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2007

Gyöngyi Kovács and Karen M. Spens

This paper aims to further the understanding of planning and carrying out logistics operations in disaster relief.

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33701

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to further the understanding of planning and carrying out logistics operations in disaster relief.

Design/methodology/approach

Topical literature review of academic and practitioner journals.

Findings

Creates a framework distinguishing between actors, phases, and logistical processes of disaster relief. Drawing parallels of humanitarian logistics and business logistics, the paper discovers and describes the unique characteristics of humanitarian logistics while recognizing the need of humanitarian logistics to learn from business logistics.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is conceptual in nature; empirical research is needed to support the framework. The framework sets a research agenda for academics.

Practical implications

Useful discussion of the unique characteristics of humanitarian logistics. The framework provides practitioners with a tool for planning and carrying out humanitarian logistics operations.

Originality/value

No overarching framework for humanitarian logistics exists in the logistics literature so far. The field of humanitarian logistics has so far received limited attention by logistics academics.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Cécile L’Hermitte, Peter Tatham and Marcus Bowles

The purpose of this paper is to use a theory-based approach to develop a new classification model for disasters that reflects their logistics implications, and to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use a theory-based approach to develop a new classification model for disasters that reflects their logistics implications, and to contextualise the findings by applying the model to a particular disaster situation.

Design/methodology/approach

A widespread literature review was conducted in order to conceptualise the proposed disaster classification model and a case study (the 2011-2012 Somali food crisis) was used to provide a practical illustration and an initial validation of the conceptual approach.

Findings

The new classification model proposes a set of four categories of disasters based on two generic dimensions, whilst simultaneously integrating five situational factors that reflect the impact of the external environment on the logistics operations. The case study confirms that this systemic approach is necessary since, from a logistics perspective, a disaster should be considered in its entirety and within its contextual environment.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed to establish the operational characteristics of each disaster type in order to determine the applicability of business logistics practices to each scenario. In addition, this paper highlights the opportunity to validate or refine the model by using a more varied range of case studies.

Originality/value

This paper proposes a new classification model for disasters based on their logistics implications and, by integrating the key environmental factors, it moves beyond the traditional 2×2 model found in the literature.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 April 2019

Ioanna Falagara Sigala and Tina Wakolbinger

The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore the potential of outsourcing of humanitarian logistics activities to commercial logistics service providers (LSPs…

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3086

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore the potential of outsourcing of humanitarian logistics activities to commercial logistics service providers (LSPs) throughout the different disaster phases. The authors identify incentives for initiating outsourcing of humanitarian logistics activities to commercial logistics providers, humanitarian logistics activities to be outsourced and selection criteria for partners.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on empirical data collected by interviewing 12 practitioners from commercial LSPs and 12 practitioners from humanitarian organizations (HOs). A review of related literature guided this research.

Findings

This research shows that incentives for initiating outsourcing engagements, partner selection criteria and activities to be outsourced are changing throughout the different disaster phases. A number of research propositions are presented.

Research limitations/implications

This research constitutes a first step towards the goal of a comprehensive analysis of humanitarian logistics outsourcing throughout the different disaster phases. The authors collected data from practitioners and large organizations based mainly in Europe and the USA. Hence, insights from national and local organizations of other parts of the world are missing.

Practical implications

This research provides a deeper understanding of outsourcing of humanitarian logistics activities. As the main implication for practice, the research suggests a strategic use of outsourcing during the three disaster phases. The authors acknowledge that business objectives, risks, stakeholder agendas and requirements, as well as costs play a vital and changing role for outsourcing decision-making during the three disaster stages. The managerial implications arising from the research can provide support to commercial LSPs and HOs that initiate or develop strategic outsourcing relationships.

Originality/value

This study covers the gap in the humanitarian literature related to context-specific factors of outsourcing in humanitarian logistics by empirically investigating the phenomenon. This is one of the first studies that empirically investigate the potential of outsourcing of humanitarian logistics activities throughout the disaster phases.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2018

Oscar Rodríguez-Espíndola, Pavel Albores and Christopher Brewster

Decision-making structures are commonly associated with the logistics challenges experienced during disaster operations. However, the alignment between the operational…

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1274

Abstract

Purpose

Decision-making structures are commonly associated with the logistics challenges experienced during disaster operations. However, the alignment between the operational level and the decision-making structure is commonly overlooked. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the fit of both levels and its impact on performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is developed around a case study in Mexico. Through a review of the disaster management policy in the country, interviews and secondary data, the paper provides an analysis of the current decision-making structure, the logistics activities undertaken by authorities and the impact of the alignment between both components on logistics performance.

Findings

The analysis suggests that several of the challenges commonly associated with centralisation are actually rooted on its alignment with the operational level. The logistics performance is negatively affected by faulty assumptions, poorly planned procedures, inconsistent decision-making and poorly designed structures. The case showed the need to align the operational level with a centralised perspective to increase responsiveness, flexibility and the interaction between different organisations.

Originality/value

This paper identifies the impact of the misalignment between the decision-making structure and the operational level on logistics performance, an area currently understudied. It moves from the current argument about the appropriate decision-making structure for disaster management to the identification of components to implement an efficient and effective disaster management system. Additionally, this paper provides recommendations for best practices in humanitarian logistics, which are applicable to Mexico and other countries using a centralised decision-making approach.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2009

Gyöngyi Kovács and Karen Spens

The purpose of this paper is to identify the challenges of humanitarian logisticians with respect to different types of disasters, phases of disaster relief and the type…

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18148

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the challenges of humanitarian logisticians with respect to different types of disasters, phases of disaster relief and the type of humanitarian organization. A conceptual model is constructed that serves as a basis to identify these challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a country as a case, namely Ghana. Structured and unstructured data are collected in a workshop with humanitarian logisticians, and complemented with presentations of humanitarian logisticians, as they perceive their challenges. Disaster statistics and country profiles are used as secondary data.

Findings

The paper shows that some disasters defy a categorization between natural and man‐made causes. Challenges of humanitarian logisticians depend not only on the disaster at hand, but also on the local presence of their organization. The most emphasized challenge is the coordination of logistical activities. Challenges can be managed better if attributing them to different stakeholder environments.

Research limitations/implications

Applying stakeholder theory to logistics, this paper provides a greater understanding for the challenges of humanitarian logisticians.

Practical implications

A stakeholder categorization of the challenges of humanitarian logisticians helps to find potential collaboration partners as well as to mitigate these challenges.

Originality/value

Humanitarian logistics is a rather new field in logistics literature. What is more, there is a lack of empirical cases in the field. This paper proposes a conceptual model based on an actual empirical case.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2012

Nathan Kunz and Gerald Reiner

The purpose of this paper is to give an up‐to‐date and structured insight into the most recent literature on humanitarian logistics, and suggest trends for future research…

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4159

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to give an up‐to‐date and structured insight into the most recent literature on humanitarian logistics, and suggest trends for future research based on the gaps identified through structured content analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a quantitative and qualitative content analysis process to analyse the characteristics of the existing literature, identifying the most studied topics in six structural dimensions, and presenting gaps and recommendations for further research.

Findings

It was found that existing humanitarian logistics research shows too little interest in continuous humanitarian aid operations, in slow onset disasters and man‐made catastrophes. While several papers address different phases of disasters, very few focus particularly on the reconstruction following a disaster. Empirical research is underrepresented in the existing literature as well.

Research limitations/implications

While five of the authors’ structural dimensions are inspired by previous reviews, the sixth dimension (situational factors) is derived from a theoretical framework which the authors developed and which has never been tested before. The validity of the study could therefore be increased by testing this framework.

Originality/value

The authors analyse the broadest set of papers (174) ever covered in previous literature reviews on humanitarian logistics. A quantitative analysis of the papers was conducted in order to analyse the situational factors which have mostly been studied so far in literature. This paper is also the first in humanitarian logistics to use content analysis as the main methodology to analyse literature in a structured way, which is of particular value to the academic community as well as practitioners.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Graham Heaslip and Elizabeth Barber

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges of civil military logistical cooperation, coordination and collaboration in…

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3195

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a greater understanding of the challenges of civil military logistical cooperation, coordination and collaboration in humanitarian relief logistics.

Design/methodology/approach

Systematic literature review of academic journals.

Findings

This paper has four main findings. First, a categorisation of humanitarian logistics literature is achieved through a systematic review. Second, a classification of military involvement in humanitarian relief logistics is presented. Third, the research substantiated systematic differences in the kinds of military cooperation not only due to stage of operations but also depending upon whether the disaster is “natural” or “manmade”. Fourth, the research identifies the challenges of civil military logistical cooperation, coordination and collaboration and posits recommendations to overcome the identified challenges.

Research limitations/implications

This paper represents an exploratory study and provides the basis for further research on cooperation, coordination and collaboration between military and civilian agencies in humanitarian operations. The paper sets a research agenda for academics.

Practical implications

This paper is the first to offer practical guidance to military commanders and managers of humanitarian agencies on solutions and recommendations to overcome the challenges to civil military logistical cooperation/coordination in humanitarian operations.

Originality/value

The area of civil military logistical cooperation/coordination has received limited consideration within the humanitarian aid logistics literature to date. This paper is designed to redress this shortfall. As a result, it is hoped that it will act as a catalyst for further research and to widen and deepen the resultant debate with a view to improving the outcome for those affected by current and future disasters.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

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