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Humanitarian logistics: mapping the future

'Oh my god, these people need help!' – Our initial reaction when we hear about a natural disaster such as the 2004 Tsunami and Hurricane Sandy. But how exactly do we get these people the help they need? And quickly?

This is where the role of humanitarian logistics comes into play. Humanitarian logistics refers to the organization of delivering disaster relief supplies to those in need.

The research below explores further the need for humanitarian logistics and highlights the opportunities for how it is a key part of the supply chain management when dealing with disaster relief.

The use of the PEARL model in disaster relief

This research highlights how the 'PEARL' (public equitable allocation of resources) model is useful to approximate proportions of inequity in the total response and how it may signal the need for additional resources and correct inequitable distribution decisions.

Read more: Introducing PEARL: A Gini-like index and reporting tool for public accountability and equity in disaster response

Journal: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management


How could cross partner relationships benefit humanitarian logistics?

Cross-sector partnerships usually involve the government (public), business (private) and non-profit (civil society, communities) sectors and can be used to improve the performance of humanitarian logistics. This paper explores further the lack of clarity in the use of 'partnership', 'coordination', 'collaboration' and 'relationship' to explain the engagement between the business sector and the humanitarian sector in humanitarian logistics.

Read more: Humanitarian–business partnerships in managing humanitarian logistics

Journal: Supply Chain Management: An International Journal

Flying maggots: Using aircraft systems to overcome a medical challenge

This paper demonstrates how the use of LE-RPAS (long endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems) can support remote communities and offers the potential to deliver healthcare supplies at reduced costs. The paper specifically uses 'medical maggots' used in maggot debridement therapy (MDT) wound care to establish if LE-RPAS is an effective solution for healthcare challenges within humanitarian logistics.

Read more: Flying maggots: a smart logistic solution to an enduring medical challenge

Journal: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

The role of logistic service providers within humanitarian logistics

The research identifies three main roles and several sub-roles that can be played by logistics service providers in the different phases of the relief process and highlights how they have grown into important players in the 'unique' context of humanitarian and disaster relief, providing support to NGOs and governments.

Read more: Humanitarian logistics: the role of logistics service providers

Journal: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

Hybrid cargo airships: a humanitarian logistic game changer?

Hybrid cargo airships (HCAs) ability to operate from and into ad hoc locations (including those on water) would enable direct delivery from an international airhead or humanitarian response depot to an affected area. This research examines the benefits and challenges of Hybrid cargo airships (HCAs) in support of the humanitarian logistician by looking at a broad cost/time comparison between the use of an HCA and the recorded response that took place in the aftermath of a number of recent natural disasters.

Read more: Hybrid cargo airships: a humanitarian logistic game changer?

Journal: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

How can cloud computing improve collaboration between humanitarian organizations and their suppliers?

Cloud computing (CC) has a positive and significant impact on collaboration between humanitarian organizations and their suppliers and is found to be significantly positively associated with agility in humanitarian organizations. This study seeks to address not only the question of whether CC improves collaboration but also other facets which may impact the relationship between CC and collaboration.

Read more: Humanitarian supply chain use of cloud computing

Journal: Supply Chain Management: An International Journal

How important is visibility in humanitarian supply chain management?

This study is among the first to empirically test the link between visibility, resource sharing and performance, specifically in a humanitarian context, which is among the critical success factors for better coordination and aid delivery. The findings of the study, show the importance of visibility of resources in their supply chains to the humanitarian organizations and suggest that higher visibility of information can increase the resources shared.

Read more: Visibility, resource sharing and performance in supply chain relationships: insights from humanitarian practitioners

Journal: Supply Chain Management: An International Journal

How can we better manage disaster relief operations and supply chains?

It is important to remain focused even in times of chaos and natural disasters. Planning effectively and responding timely may help to optimize the limited resources that are available at the time and to deliver quality relief services to the disaster victims. This paper explores the role of quality management models in facilitating planning, implementing, reviewing, and improving disaster relief supply chain management.

Read more: Disaster relief supply chain quality management (DRSCQM)

Journal: International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management


What's next for Humanitarian Logistics?

Image: Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The editors of the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management share their thoughts on what the future research in Humanitarian Logistics looks like.

“Apart from humanitarian logistics being a highly dynamic area in practice, research here has moved on from establishing the state of the art to setting the pace. There are a number of examples of innovation such as the use of 3D printing and cash transfer programmes, that change the entire humanitarian system and how we see it. Watch the space for more research insights to come!”

– Ira Haavisto, Hanken School of Economics, Finland.

You can also check updates on novel research projects in humanitarian logistics from the HUMLOG Institutes LinkedIn group which you can join here.