Humanitarian Logistics Operations: A Review
2011, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald, Sucky, E., Asdecker, B., Dobhan, A., Haas, S., Wiese, J.
Humanitarian logistics is a critical element of a successful relief operation, as it focuses on effective management of flows of persons, goods and information during and after a disaster. This field has been extensively studied so far, especially during the last three years. Although four literature reviews have been published on this topic up to now, they all focused on papers written between 1980 and 2008. Over 20 papers on this topic have been published since then; therefore our literature review gives an up-to-date insight on most recent publications. By using qualitative content analysis, we try to determine the main managerial problems studied until now, the major findings as well as proposed further research. We categorize the existing literature according to several attributes, such as topic, type and stage of disaster, methodology of the research, etc. We present the major findings from the existing literature, as well as the recommended steps for further research. Finally, we identify gaps between further research mentioned in the literature and the results of our content analysis. We find, for example that more attention should be given to slow onset, man-made disasters, as well as to the reconstruction phase following disasters. We also find that case studies and surveys should be used more in order to increase the empirical knowledge in the field.
The ambivalent role of governments in humanitarian supply chains
2012-2-24, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald, Grubbström, Robert, Hinterhuber, Hans
Humanitarian supply chains aim to deliver food and medicines to victims of natural or man-made disasters. Through a multiple case study research among four Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), we analyze the impact of import barriers imposed by governments on humanitarian supply chains. We find that, in the short term, import barriers have negative impacts on the performance of humanitarian logistics operations, and in the end, on beneficiaries, because they can create important delays and additional costs. However, we also find that in the long term, these barriers can have positive effects on the sustainability of humanitarian aid and the country’s economy, as they encourage NGOs to increase their local sourcing.
Relief aid, yes, but
2013-5-4, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
Empirical evidence shows that some governments increasingly hinder relief organizations from operating in their territory. Through a case study, we analyze problems encountered by four organizations. We find that state fragility explains the tendency of governments to restrict relief organizations’ activities. This study helps organizations in their efforts towards preparedness.
Capabilities investment versus prepositioning inventory: a new approach to disaster preparedness
2012-8-23, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald, Gold, Stefan
Disaster preparedness has been recognized as a central element in reducing the impact of disasters worldwide. However, donors are reluctant to finance such efforts, as there is no certainty that a disaster will strike. Usual methods of preparedness, such as prepositioning of supplies in countries prone to disasters, are problematic because they require high investment costs at various locations, due to the high uncertainty about the timing and location of the next disaster. Product expiry is a major problem, as there is no inventory turnover (Whybark, 2007). Therefore, Van Wassenhove (2006) proposes relief organizations to invest in effective disaster management capabilities, such as human resources, knowledge management, process management, resources and community. Investing in such capabilities instead of physical assets has several benefits. First, in opposition to prepositioning supplies in specific locations, such capabilities acquired by the organization can be used worldwide. Second, these capabilities, in particular those related with import processes, allow organizations to deliver supplies quickly from a central warehouse in case of disaster. Finally, investments in capabilities cost less than prepositioning supplies in large quantities in many locations. In this paper, we analyze the effect of investing in these disaster management capabilities, through a system dynamics model. We model the delivery process of a therapeutic food item during the immediate response phase of a disaster. By comparing a standard import scenario with one where investments in capabilities have been made, we quantify the improvement potential of such preparation efforts (i.e., lead time and inventory reduction). We find that with capabilities investment, goods can be delivered to beneficiaries almost as fast as if supplies were prepositioned in the country, but at lower inventory costs (lower opportunity costs and physical holding costs, less product expiry and obsolescence, etc.). Transportation costs are higher, but occur only where the disaster strikes, and not in each country where inventory is prepositioned. The managerial implication of our research will encourage relief organizations to invest more into capabilities instead of prepositioned physical inventories during the preparedness phase of a disaster. Because of lower costs and risks involved, donors are encouraged to finance such pre-disaster efforts which have a strong potential to improve disaster response.
Government restrictions on relief supply chains
2013-6-11, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
Response to catastrophic disasters often requires external assistance from international relief organizations. Literature and empirical evidence show that governments do not always welcome this assistance. Based on a multiple case study conducted among four relief organizations, we identify governmental restrictions imposed on humanitarian relief supply chains in different countries. We analyze the dependency between government characteristic and the level of restrictions. We find that the more fragile a government is, the more restrictions it imposes on relief organizations. This knowledge helps relief organizations to prepare adequately before entering a new country, by anticipating concerns and establishing trust with the government.
What are tradeoffs and obstacles towards a comprehensive framework of supply chain performance in global food chains?
2012-5-3, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
Purpose The paper investigates why business still postpones integration of sustainability and other non-financial performance measures into global agrifood supply chains. Design/methodology/approach On basis of literature-based conceptual reasoning (“disciplined imagination”), we identify tradeoffs that are prevalent in basic agrifood supply chain strategy types (efficient, risk-hedging, responsive, and agile chains) and tradeoffs that additionally emerge when agrifood chains simultaneously strive for sustainability. Further, we conceptualize one major obstacle for businesses pursuing comprehensive supply chain performance in global agrifood chains, which helps explaining why agrifood chains procrastinate the integration of sustainability into their business activities. Findings First, we develop a variety of research propositions about performance trade-offs that appear when agrifood chains follow different supply chain strategy types. Second, we point out that many supply chain performance attributes represent in fact credence attributes not to be verified by the (final) consumer. Rational business responses to this situation tend to optimize publicity efforts by sustainability reports and other brand-enhancing marketing tools that are often and easily decoupled from real efforts of operations and supply chain improvements. Research limitations/implications The research propositions are to be tested in follow-up empirical and modeling/simulation research on global food supply chains. Originality/value The conceptual considerations presented in the paper serve as basis for managers and academics to develop innovative inter- and intra-organizational business processes that reconcile tradeoffs pushing the performance frontier outwards and that overcome hurdles towards sustainability that are inherent in current food production, processing, retailing and consumption/shopping practices.
Sustainable business growth in SMEs: How may decision-making guide the transition journey?
2014-6-23, Schwab, Leila, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald
The research aims at (1) exploring new theory at the interface of business growth and sustainable development while (2) providing managerial implications for growing firms. For this end, we propose typologies of decisions to be considered by growing firms; by means of a longitudinal case study of a Swiss family-owned SME wood construction company (that is in a process of intense growth), we identify, visually represent and analyze the sequences of selected managerial decisions. The empirical analysis and theory development pave novel ways for research and companies towards sustainable business growth.
Managing international agrifood supply chains - Pathways towards a sustainable paradigm
2012-6-8, Gold, Stefan, Kunz, Nathan, Akwen, Patience, Reiner, Gerald
Drawing on academic literature concerning supply chain management and, more specifically, (global) agrifood chains, the extant paper proposes a conceptualization of factors of supply chain design and operations as well as effective governance mechanisms that facilitate holistic performance of agrifood supply chains. Furthermore, tradeoffs that probably emerge when aiming at comprehensive multi-dimensional performance are attributed to different supply chain strategy types. Asking why businesses and supply chains still postpone integration of sustainability and other non-financial performance measures into global agrifood supply chains, we point out that these measures represent in fact credence attributes not to be verified by the (final) consumer. This implies the propensity of businesses to engage both in hidden action concerning actual supply chain/operations management and conspicuous public relations. From these considerations we derive some research propositions to be tested in follow-up empirical and modeling/simulation research on global food supply chains.
Sustainable humanitarian supply chain management – Exploring new theory
2013-5-4, Kunz, Nathan, Gold, Stefan, Reiner, Gerald
We propose a framework of sustainable humanitarian supply chain management (SCM) for the rehabilitation phase of disasters. Our framework connects enablers, features and triple bottom line performance of SCM with specific socio-economic/governmental contingency factors. Findings from multiple case studies in Chad provide initial evidence for illustrating and underpinning the framework.