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Article

Timo Gossler, Tina Wakolbinger and Christian Burkart

Outsourcing of logistics has great importance in disaster relief. Aid agencies spend several billion US dollars every year on logistics services. However, the concept of…

Abstract

Purpose

Outsourcing of logistics has great importance in disaster relief. Aid agencies spend several billion US dollars every year on logistics services. However, the concept of outsourcing has not been established adequately in literature on humanitarian logistics, leading to a fragmented view of the practice. This paper provides a holistic perspective of the concept by constructing a conceptual framework to analyze both practice and research of outsourcing in humanitarian operations. Based on this analysis, we explore future trends and identify research gaps.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a structured review of academic literature, a two-round Delphi study with 31 experts from aid agencies and a complementary full-day focus group with twelve experts from aid agencies and logistics service providers.

Findings

The paper systemizes the current practice of outsourcing in humanitarian logistics according to a conceptual framework of five dimensions: subject, object, partner, design and context. In addition, it reveals ten probable developments of the practice over the next years. Finally, it describes eight important research gaps and presents a research agenda for the field.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review considered peer-reviewed academic papers. Practitioner papers could provide additional insights into the practice. Moreover, the Delphi study focused on the perspective of aid agencies. Capturing the views of logistics service providers in more detail would be a valuable addition.

Originality/value

The paper establishes the academic basis for the important practice of outsourcing in humanitarian logistics. It highlights essential research gaps and, thereby, opens up the field for future research.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 50 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

Content available
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

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