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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Nathan Kunz, Luk N. Van Wassenhove, Maria Besiou, Christophe Hambye and Gyöngyi Kovács

This paper is based on a panel discussion at EurOMA 2015. The purpose of this paper is to identify a number of barriers to relevant research in humanitarian logistics. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is based on a panel discussion at EurOMA 2015. The purpose of this paper is to identify a number of barriers to relevant research in humanitarian logistics. The authors propose a charter of ten rules for conducting relevant humanitarian research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use operations management literature to identify best practices for doing research with practice. The authors compile, condense and interpret opinions expressed by three academics and one practitioner at the panel discussion, and illustrate them through quotes.

Findings

The increasing volume of papers published in the humanitarian logistics literature has not led to a proportional impact on practice. The authors identify a number of reasons for this, such as poor problem definition, difficult access to data or lack of contextualization. The authors propose a charter of ten rules that have the potential to make humanitarian logistics research more relevant for practice.

Practical implications

By developing best practices for doing relevant research in humanitarian logistics, this paper enables the academic community and practice to better work together on relevant and impactful research projects. Academic knowledge combined with practice-inspired problems has the potential to generate significant improvements to humanitarian practice.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to address the problem of relevance of humanitarian logistics research. It is also one of the few papers involving a practitioner to discuss practical relevance of research. Through this unique approach, it is hoped that this paper provides a set of particularly helpful recommendations for researchers studying humanitarian logistics.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Marianne Jahre, Ala Pazirandeh and Luk Van Wassenhove

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a more complete understanding of logistics preparedness. By comparing extant research in preparedness and logistics with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a more complete understanding of logistics preparedness. By comparing extant research in preparedness and logistics with findings from empirical analysis of secondary data, the authors develop a definition of and framework for logistics preparedness, along with suggestions for future research agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors link the way in which humanitarian organizations define and aim to achieve logistics preparedness with extant academic research. The authors critically analyze public data from 13 organizations that are active in disaster relief and review papers on logistics preparedness and humanitarian logistics.

Findings

The authors found that, despite the increased attention, there is no unified understanding across organizations about what constitutes logistics preparedness and how it can contribute to improvements in operations. Based on the review of the academic literature, the authors found that the same is true for humanitarian logistics research. The lack of a common understanding has resulted in low visibility of efforts and lack of knowledge on logistics preparedness.

Research limitations/implications

On the basis of extant research and practice, the authors suggest a definition of and framework for logistics preparedness with related suggestions for future studies.

Practical implications

Findings can help the humanitarian community gain a better understanding of their efforts related to developing logistics preparedness and can provide a better basis for communicating the need for, and results from, funding in preparedness.

Social implications

Results can support improvements in humanitarian supply chains, thereby providing affected people with rapid, cost-efficient, and better-adapted responses.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to humanitarian logistics literature, first by identifying the issues related to the lack of a common definition. Second, the authors extend the understanding of what constitutes logistics preparedness by proposing an operationalized framework and definition. Finally, the authors add to the literature by discussing what future topics and types of research may be required.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

Rolando M. Tomasini and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has developed a humanitarian supply management system (SUMA) that records, tracks and reports the flow of donations and…

Abstract

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has developed a humanitarian supply management system (SUMA) that records, tracks and reports the flow of donations and purchased goods into a disaster area. While a lot of the received goods are in-kind donations, there is a procurement process triggered by the cash funds to meet specific needs. This procurement process also needs to comply with the humanitarian principles, and is therefore susceptible to manipulations from different stakeholders. SUMA has contributed to all the different deployments with the ability to build transparency and accountability in complex operations. These two contributions help to isolate the political factors from the supply chain and protect the humanitarian principles and space.

Details

Journal of Public Procurement, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1535-0118

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 December 2020

Lina Frennesson, Joakim Kembro, Harwin de Vries, Luk Van Wassenhove and Marianne Jahre

To meet the rising global needs, the humanitarian community has signed off on making a strategic change toward more localisation, which commonly refers to the empowerment…

Abstract

Purpose

To meet the rising global needs, the humanitarian community has signed off on making a strategic change toward more localisation, which commonly refers to the empowerment of national and local actors in humanitarian assistance. However, to this date, actual initiatives for localisation are rare. To enhance understanding of the phenomenon, the authors explore localisation of logistics preparedness capacities and obstacles to its implementation. The authors particularly take the perspective of the international humanitarian organisation (IHO) community as they are expected to implement the localisation strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

A phenomenon-driven, exploratory and qualitative study was conducted. Data collection included in-depth interviews with 28 experienced humanitarian professionals.

Findings

The findings showed the ambiguity inherent in the localisation strategy with largely different views on four important dimensions. Particularly, the interviewees differ about strengthening external actors or internal national/local offices. The resulting framework visualises the gap between strategy formulation and implementation, which forms major obstacles to the localisation aims.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is required to support the advancement of localisation of logistics preparedness capacities. Important aspects for future research include triangulation of results, other stakeholder perspectives and the influence of context.

Practical implications

The authors add to the important debate surrounding localisation by offering remedies to overcoming obstacles to strategy implementation. Further, the authors’ proposed framework offers a language to precisely describe the ways in which IHOs (should) view localisation of logistics preparedness capacities and its operationalisation.

Originality/value

To the best of authors’ knowledge, this paper is the first academic article on localisation within the humanitarian logistics context.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Joris‐Johann Lenssen and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

A new era for development is needed and business needs to play a significant role in this era. This paper aims to provide insights into the necessary conditions for such a

Abstract

Purpose

A new era for development is needed and business needs to play a significant role in this era. This paper aims to provide insights into the necessary conditions for such a new era of development and specifically the potential contribution of business and academia.

Design/methodology/approach

This explorative study is based on expert interviews and the summary of the discussion of the EABIS Colloquium 2011 (“Corporate Responsibility and Developing Countries”).

Findings

Innovative companies are moving from building “shareholder value” to “shared value” for all stakeholders; from “quarterly capitalism” to “long‐term capitalism”. They are also providing resources, open access systems and capital to entrepreneurs and communities to support technology and knowledge transfers. Companies that integrate future development concerns into their business model will be ideally placed to secure long‐term licences to operate, develop loyal new consumer bases, and innovate in new market segments.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology only allows preliminary findings for now. More research (also on the ground) will be needed to identify the necessary strategies business has to adopt to play a potent role in a new era for development.

Originality/value

The paper is based on a rich set of data and combines these findings with the thinking of the EABIS Colloquium 2011. It can be the basis for future research.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2011

Maria Besiou, Orla Stapleton and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the appropriateness of system dynamics (SD) methodology as a tool for humanitarian decision makers to understand the effect of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the appropriateness of system dynamics (SD) methodology as a tool for humanitarian decision makers to understand the effect of their decisions on humanitarian operations. The authors seek to present the initial stages and preliminary findings of a SD model used to analyze a well‐defined subsystem of humanitarian operations, field vehicle fleet management; then build on this example by identifying an additional area of humanitarian operations for future research using the SD methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

Case‐based research was combined with SD methodology to examine the appropriateness of this methodology for use in humanitarian operations.

Findings

Humanitarian operations are characterized by multiple actors, feedback loops, time pressures, resource constraints and uncertainty. The authors find that SD has the capacity to accurately represent the dynamic complexity of humanitarian operations, and is therefore an appropriate tool to study these systems.

Research limitations/implications

The well‐defined issue of field vehicle fleet management in humanitarian organizations is used to illustrate an application of SD for humanitarian operations. Due to the difficulty in obtaining necessary data to build the SD model, this study uses estimations based on over three years of research into fleet management in the humanitarian sector. The authors then present an example of a broader but less well‐defined subsystem in the humanitarian sector that can be analyzed using SD methodology to the benefit of the overall humanitarian relief operation.

Practical implications

Decision making in humanitarian operations is usually based on intuition and experience which are not always sufficient to fully understand the global impact of these decisions. SD provides humanitarian decision makers with a method to simulate and compare the impact of alternative decisions that would not be possible in real life situations.

Social implications

This paper examines the appropriateness of SD methodology to help humanitarians improve the effectiveness of their relief and development programs through better‐informed decision making.

Originality/value

This paper presents one of the first attempts to use SD methodology to build a model for humanitarian operations using a well‐defined subsystem, field vehicle fleet management.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2010

Aurelie Charles, Matthieu Lauras and Luk Van Wassenhove

By constantly working in environments with high degree of uncertainty, humanitarian organizations end up becoming specialists in the implementation of agile systems. Their…

Abstract

Purpose

By constantly working in environments with high degree of uncertainty, humanitarian organizations end up becoming specialists in the implementation of agile systems. Their counterparts in profit‐making organizations have a lot to learn from them in this domain. Volatility of demand, imbalance between supply and demand and disruptions are all factors that affect commercial supply chains and call for a high level of agility. The aims of this paper are twofold: first, to clearly define the concept of supply chain agility, and second, to build a model for assessing the level of agility of a supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

Three approaches are used in this research: literature review, case study and symbolic modeling.

Findings

The paper developed first, a framework for defining supply chain agility and second, a model for assessing and improving the capabilities of humanitarian and commercial supply chains in terms of agility, based on an analysis of humanitarian approaches.

Research limitations/implications

The model has been developed thanks to inputs from humanitarian practitioners and feedbacks from academics. The practical application to various humanitarian relief operations and commercial supply chains is yet to be done.

Originality/value

This paper contributes significantly to clarifying the notion of supply chain agility. It also provides a consistent, robust and reproducible method of assessing supply chain agility, which seems appropriate for both humanitarian and business sectors. Finally, it is complementary to existant research on humanitarian logistics. It shows that though humanitarian professionals have a lot to learn from the private sector, the reverse is also true.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 40 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1993

Robert C. Lieb, Robert A. Millen and Luk N. Van Wassenhove

Provides a comparison of third‐party logistics services utilizationbetween large manufacturing firms in the USA and Western Europe. Allthese firms had been utilizing…

Abstract

Provides a comparison of third‐party logistics services utilization between large manufacturing firms in the USA and Western Europe. All these firms had been utilizing third‐party providers for at least three years, although many had been doing so for five years or longer. The group of Western European firms is more committed to outsourcing, as evidenced by the substantially greater percentage of their total corporate logistics budget allocated to third‐party firms. The strategic decision to utilize third‐party companies is more often made at the corporate level and includes input more frequently from other functional areas in Western European firms. However, many of the findings indicate that the issues faced by both groups of executives are very similar, such as their reservations to outsourcing and their experiences with implementation. Almost all the executives indicated that they are satisfied with the performance of third‐party providers, and would, at least moderately, increase their use of such firms.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 7 December 2015

Nathan Kunz, Luk N. Van Wassenhove, Rob McConnell and Ketil Hov

Fleet management is a key function in humanitarian organizations, but is not always recognized as such. This results in poor performance and negative impacts on the…

Abstract

Purpose

Fleet management is a key function in humanitarian organizations, but is not always recognized as such. This results in poor performance and negative impacts on the organization. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrates how the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) managed to substantially improve its fleet management through the introduction of an Internal Leasing Program (ILP), in which headquarters procures vehicles and leases them to field offices.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper develops a framework for fleet management based on a longitudinal case study with UNHCR. It compares fleet performance indicators before and after implementation of an ILP.

Findings

At UNHCR, vehicle procurement was driven by availability of funding. Fleet management was highly decentralized and field offices had limited awareness of its importance. These systems and behaviors led to major challenges for the organization. The introduction of the ILP positively impacted fleet management at UNHCR by reducing fleet size, average age of fleet and procurement costs.

Practical implications

This paper provides fleet managers with a tool for analyzing their fleet. The frameworks and actions described in this paper contain practical recommendations for achieving a well-performing fleet.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to analyze fleet management before and after introduction of an ILP. It describes the benefits of this model based on empirical data, and develops frameworks to be used by researchers and practitioners.

Details

Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6747

Keywords

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