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Article

Timo Gossler, Ioanna Falagara Sigala, Tina Wakolbinger and Renate Buber

The purpose of this paper is to determine best practices of aid agencies for outsourcing logistics to commercial logistics service providers (LSPs) in disaster relief…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine best practices of aid agencies for outsourcing logistics to commercial logistics service providers (LSPs) in disaster relief. Moreover, it evaluates the application of the Delphi method for research in humanitarian logistics.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a two-round Delphi study with 31 experts from aid agencies and a complementary full-day focus group with 12 experts from aid agencies and LSPs.

Findings

The study revealed 12 best practices for outsourcing logistics in disaster relief and a compilation of more than 100 activities for putting these practices into action. Experts consider a proper balance between efficiency and compliance, a detailed contract and a detailed service request most important. Additionally, the Delphi method was found to be a promising technique for research on humanitarian logistics.

Research limitations/implications

By critically examining the Delphi method, this study establishes the basis for a wider application of the technique in the field of humanitarian logistics. Furthermore, it can help to prioritize future research as the ranking of practices reflects the priorities of practitioners.

Practical implications

The paper provides guidance to practitioners at aid agencies in charge of outsourcing logistics.

Originality/value

This research is one of the first in the field of humanitarian logistics to apply the Delphi method. Moreover, it addresses the lack of literature dealing with approaches for building successful cross-sectoral partnerships.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
Article

Ioanna Falagara Sigala, William J. Kettinger and Tina Wakolbinger

The purpose of this study is to explore what design principles need to be considered in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for humanitarian organizations (HOs) to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore what design principles need to be considered in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for humanitarian organizations (HOs) to enable agile, adaptive and aligned (Triple-A) humanitarian supply chain capabilities and digitize humanitarian operations.

Design/methodology/approach

This study follows an embedded case study approach with a humanitarian medical relief organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which engaged in a multiyear ERP design at its humanitarian field missions.

Findings

This research shows that ERP systems for humanitarian organizations should be designed as unique systems addressing humanitarian organizations' challenges and unique missions, their value generation processes, and resource base in an effort to improve organizational performance. This study presents 12 general design principles that are unique for humanitarian organizations. These design principles provide a high-level structure of guidance under which specific requirements can be further defined and engineered to achieve success.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study are based on a single case study limiting generalizability. However, the case study was analyzed and presented as an embedded case study with five autonomous subunits using different business processes and following different adoption and implementation approaches. Therefore, the findings are derived based on considerable variance reflective of humanitarian organizations beyond MSF.

Practical implications

This study recognizes that HOs have unique routines that standard commercial ERP packages do not address easily at the field level. The primary contribution of this research is a set of design principles that consider these unique routines and guide ERP development in practice. National and international HOs that are planning to implement information systems, private companies that are trading partners of HOs as well as vendors of ERP systems that are looking for new opportunities would all benefit from this research.

Originality/value

This study fills the gap in the humanitarian literature regarding the design of ERP systems for humanitarian organizations that enable Triple–A supply chain capabilities and it advances the knowledge of the challenges of ERP design by HOs in the context of humanitarian operations.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Content available
Article

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…

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

Keywords

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