Humanitarian and disaster relief supply chains: a matter of life and death.INTRODUCTION
Since January 2010, the world has witnessed a number of significant disasters, most of which have been caused by natural forces. These have included Haiti (earthquake, January 12, 2010), Chile (earthquake, February 27, 2010), Japan (earthquake and tsunami, March 11, 2011) and Thailand (flooding, July-December 2011). These disasters have caused enormous social and economic hardships. The earthquake in Haiti affected at least three million people with between 217,000 to 230,000 deaths; the flooding in Thailand has affected over 12.8 million people with the World Bank estimating economic damages exceeding $45 billion USD (Time 2011); the combined effects of the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan caused 15,842 deaths (Japanese National Police Agency 2011) with the World Bank estimating that economic costs were in excess of $235 billion USD (Kim 2011; Zhang 2011). In a disaster, the economic effects are not limited to the countries experiencing the disaster; cascading disruptions can ripple through supply chains to affect businesses across the globe. For example, the 2011 Thailand flooding severely affected the performance of such companies as Intel (causing it to lowering its 2011 fourth quarter revenue expectations from $14.7 billion USD to $13.7 billion USD), Sony (which delayed shipments of its new Sony NEX-7 and A65 digital cameras), Seagate, Nikon and Western Digital.
In response to calls for help from governmental and private aid organizations, many countries, aid organizations and groups pledged and/or delivered aid in the form of money, medical teams, medicine, food, water, sanitation equipment, engineers, shelter and support personnel. The challenge of securing the needed resources, getting them to the disaster sites, deploying the resources and helping the areas begin the process of recovery fell to the humanitarian/disaster relief supply chain (HDRSC).
The HDRSC is a research paradox. Although it is a relatively new development in management research, researchers working in other areas like engineering, medicine, earth sciences, disaster forecasting, mitigation and logistics, etc. have a rich literature. However, there has been very little dealing with humanitarian/disaster relief supply chain management (HDRSCM). Although supply chain researchers often assume that HDRSC can benefit from the insights generated from research into commercial supply chains, researchers focusing on commercial supply chains can also benefit from research into HDRSC (Christopher and Tatham 2011). Thus, a major purpose of this study is to encourage research into the management of HDRSCs for the benefit of humanitarian/disaster relief efforts as well as the supply chain management body of knowledge.
This article has the following objectives:
* To assert the value of knowledge transfer both to and from HDRSCs within the supply chain management (SCM) universe;
* To define HDRSCM and its relationship to humanitarian/disaster relief logistics;
* To identify the areas of theory and research development where HDRSC lessons can inform supply chain researchers and practitioners; and,
* To highlight HDRSC areas and issues where additional research is needed.
The remainder of this article is organized into five sections. In the following section, we explore how knowledge can be transferred between different types of supply chains. Next, we characterize the unique nature of HDRSCs as compared to the types of supply chains most frequently studied by management scholars. We then identify three areas of research currently developed in the HDRSC areas that are potentially relevant to researchers working in SCM in general. In the penultimate section, we identify three areas where additional research would help meet critical needs as defined by practitioners and researchers working in the humanitarian/disaster relief field. In the final section we provide concluding comments.
KNOWLEDGE 'TRANSFER WITHIN THE SUPPLY CHAIN UNIVERSE
As stated in the introduction, one of the major premises of this article is that the study of HDRSCs facilitates the transfer of knowledge regarding SCM. This transfer is bidirectional--that is, HDRSC could benefit from the existing body of SCM research, which is overwhelmingly about business or commercial supply chains. Furthermore, the body of SCM research could benefit from the research that has been done in HDRSCs. If we are to examine such knowledge transfer in the SCM universe, it is important to first understand what we mean by SCM. Based on our experiences with HDRSCs specifically and overall supply chains in general, we offer a different view of SCM:
Supply chain management is a system intended to identify, articulate and to achieve desired outcomes by implementing and managing processes, resources and relationships (within the firm, within the supply chain and between supply chains) that seek to make the attainment of such desired outcomes inevitable over time.
In the first part of the definition, we agree with Melnyk, Davis, Spekman and Sandor (2010) who argue that supply chains are outcome-driven. What SCM does is to identify what sets of outcomes are important (specifically from the perspective of the critical customers to the supply chain). Next, it must articulate these outcomes--describe them in operational terms that are meaningful to everyone involved. This articulation is often done using metrics and performance measurement systems. Then, it must design and implement the systems that make these outcomes inevitable. The systems must not only consist of processes but also resources (hard and soft assets) and relationships (which are often critical in the supply chain context) (e.g., Kwon and Suh 2005; Ryals and Humphries 2007; Ambrose, Marshall and Lynch 2010; Cheung and Rowlinson 2011). The definition, in stating that SCM seeks to make the desired outcome inevitable, should not be interpreted as taking a deterministic view. Rather, it is intended to convey the notion that the outcomes are attained primarily by people working within the processes, rather than the personnel trying to compensate for poorly conceptualized and implemented processes. Finally, by including the phrase "over time," we recognize that supply chains are dynamic--due in large part to changes in the environment (government, competition), technology, customer base and in corporate strategy. Consequently, SCM must be consistent with the demands of this dynamic environment (Gattorna 2007, 2009).
To motivate the value of SCM knowledge transfer to and from HDRSCs, consider the similarities in the type of supply chain lifecycle management found in HDRSCs and transient supply chains. Transient supply chains are finite-life supply chains that are regularly deployed in response to a specific event (e.g., the World Cup, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the construction of a large project such as a bridge, the Olympics, a theatrical touring company and its schedule of shows). Once the event is completed, the supply chain is disbanded. Consequently, management has to consider all supply chain lifecycle stages (i.e., preplanning, initiation, ramp-up, steady state, termination/transformation) in a relatively short period of time, as is required for HDRSCs (Pettit and Beresford 2005; Van Wassenhove 2006; Kovacs and Spens 2007). As these supply chains move through the various lifecycle stages, the priority of outcomes can be expected to change. For example, during the preplanning stage, for some organizations, security is critical. Yet, this focus can change to responsiveness during the ramp-up and then change again to efficiency in the steady state stage. The identification of the transition points from one stage to another is critical. Failure to do so can result in the supply chain pursuing inappropriate objectives (e.g., we should be cost efficient in the steady state rather than focusing on responsiveness). Furthermore, agreement over the transition points should be shared with the various supply chain partners. There must also be recognition of the possibility for interstage conflict. That is, actions that we might take at one stage can affect our ability to achieve the objectives of another stage. Similarly, when dealing with HDRSC, situations are often encountered where the actions that are carried out for relief compromise the ability of the system to recover. Although they may arise in a more urgently responsive, uncertain and dynamic environment, these issues find much in common with transient supply chains.
In contrast, firms such as Toyota and Wal-Mart often focus on the steady state stage of the supply chain life cycle, since these supply chains will spend the vast majority of their time and effort operating in this stage. Nonetheless, these steady state demand-driven supply chains can also find opportunities for knowledge transfer with HDRSCs. For example, the UNDP (2004) report on "disaster risk reduction" addresses the interplay between disaster relief and development aid. That is, disasters disrupt development efforts; yet development aid can make the next disaster less (or more) likely and severe. Similarly, the daily process management efforts in steady state demand-driven supply chains can give rise to enhanced or diminished ability to manage disruptions. A good illustration of the impact that day-to-day management processes have on disruption resilience is found in the success of Nokia and failure of Ericson following a plant fire at their mutual supplier, Phillips (Wollin and Perry 2004). HDRSCs and traditional manufacturing companies alike benefit when response and recovery are not only linked, but also considered in nondisruption activities.
We believe that the opportunities for learning from HDRSCs are greatest when researchers focus on issues involving critical outcomes such as responsiveness, or when focus is on how supply chains are initially organized for a task, or when the goal is understanding how supply chains evolve and change over their lifespan. As we will subsequently try to show in this article, the study of HDRSCs can offer insights for supply chain researchers who focus on such issues as the impact of uncertainty, convergence, social capital and emergent organizations. Although these may be relatively new issues for many supply chain researchers with Operations or Logistics backgrounds they have long been studied by HDRSC researchers from other disciplines.
HDRSC--UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT
Beginning in the mid-1990s, there has been an increase in interest from both researchers and practitioners into SCM and its various areas. Initially, this interest was devoted to understanding what SCM is and how it affects corporate performance. We are now starting to understand the elements of SCM and the factors that shape the nature of the structure, deployment and evolution of supply chains. One factor that we are now becoming aware of is that although there are certain common elements to supply chains, the manner in which these elements are combined is strongly influenced by the environment in which the supply chain is deployed. For example, Hull (2005) and Hussain, Assavapokee and Khumawala (2006) have shown that supply-driven supply chains, such as those encountered in the energy/petroleum industries, require different practices if they are to be deployed most effectively and that practices that work well in demand-driven supply chains (e.g., Wal-Mart and Toyota) will not necessarily be appropriate when deployed in supply-driven environments. Similarly, humanitarian/disaster relief systems comprise another environment that requires changes in how supply chains are formed, deployed and changed (e.g., Apte 2009; Kovacs and Spens 2009; Tatham and Spens 2011).
At the heart of any humanitarian/disaster relief system is the disaster--an event that forms the focal point around which all SCM activities are organized. In this article, we use the definition offered by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR 2004, p. 3), which describes a disaster as:
... a serious disruption of the functioning of society, posing a significant, widespread threat to human life, health, property, or the environment, whether caused by accident, nature or human activity, and whether developing suddenly or as a result of complex, long-term processes.
What makes a disaster major (since major disasters are often the focus of HDRSC activities) is that it over-whelms the ability of the established community systems (or nation as in the case of Haiti--2010) to cope with the effects of the disaster. Disasters are varied in nature and reflect the influence of two factors: the speed of onset, and the source of the disaster (Van Wassenhove 2006). These two factors and examples of disasters associated with each combination are summarized in Figure 1. Furthermore, disasters are also inter-related and compounding, (e.g., political crisis leads to refugee crisis and turns drought into famine).
What Makes Humanitarian/Disaster Relief Supply Chains Unique?
The HDRSC operates under conditions that would frustrate most commercial supply chain managers. Different objectives and mechanisms drive HDRSCs; their operating environment is extremely uncertain and dynamic, and unique management principles are often employed. Yet, it is these very traits that make research into HDRSC very attractive, because the issues of dealing with uncertainty (as compared with risk--to be explained later), emerging and changing organizational structures and different and conflicting demands and requirements issues familiar to any researcher or manager who has worked with HDRSCs--are now playing a more important role in SCM research. Evidence supporting the increasing importance of HDRSCs can be readily identified. This article is one piece of evidence; another is the fact that academic professional societies such as the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) and the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) are now featuring separate tracks dealing with HDRSCM. Finally, HDRSC now has its own recently launched dedicated journal--the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management. It can be argued that we are now faced with a "perfect storm" in terms of doing research into humanitarian/disaster relief SCM there is an increased level of awareness of the importance of HDRSCs; there are critical issues that demand research attention now; there are avenues for publishing the resulting findings; and the insights and lessons gained by studying HDRSC can be applied to other types of supply chains, such as found at Wal-Mart, Apple, Toyota, MacDonald's and Procter and Gamble.
FIGURE 1 Categorizing Disasters Source Natural Man-made Speed of Sudden Earthquake Terrorists attack Onset Hurricane Cop d'etat Totnado Chemical Leak Tsunami Slow Famine Political Crisis Drought Refugee Crisis Poverty Source: van Wassenhove (2006, p. 4)
It is also the nature of the disaster that contributes to many of the unique and challenging aspects of HDRSCs, such as the following.
Command and Control issues. Although the United Nations has a leadership role and prescribed procedures in the event of a major international disaster, the role of the government (at the national/state/provincial/local/tribe levels) must be recognized. No international action can take place if the local government does not request it. When cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar (Burma) in 2008, the military junta refused to grant permission to some organizations to enter the country with aid. French and U.S. ships with aid supplies were anchored just offshore for more than 2 weeks before finally leaving. Even when permission is granted, there are still occasional conflicts of authority and delays in decision making, due to distance, communication impediments or misunder-standing. In the private sector world, there may be delays in decision making, but conflicts of authority are very unusual even across great distances.
Life and Death vs. Profit and Loss. The HDRSC management experiences a heightened urgency for making decisions and taking action. Although the effectiveness and efficiency of private sector supply chains can be the difference between profit and loss, for firms in that sector HDRSC effectiveness can mean the difference between life and death of disaster victims.
Supply Chain Formation. The specific group of organizations assembled for any particular disaster is a function of location, the nature and severity of the disaster, availability of potential responder units, anticipated needs and prescribed procedures. For instance, when delivering aid in some regions of the world, cargo and personnel security is a significant issue. In other regions logistics alternatives may be limited due to strained relationships between nations, as in the above example of Burma. And in others, some well-qualified organizations may not be permitted to enter the country or traverse a specific country or area enroute. Thus, the relief group's membership could change from one disaster to another, adding an extra dimension of complication to the coordination. New supply chains for particular sets of customers are formed in the private sector as well, but that typically occurs in anticipation of the changing needs of the customers.
Donor Independence. As noted by Kovacs and Spens (2009), Apte (2009) and Tatham and Spens (2011), one of the major challenges of HDRSC is that there are relatively few resources devoted in advance of disasters; rather, these resources flow in once a disaster has taken place. Consequently, disaster relief effort often depends upon donor organizations to provide the goods and services needed for responding to the disaster. During the initial phase, when speed in getting these supplies to the disaster area is important food, water, shelter and medical supplies are usually the highest priority. As more specific needs are identified, supply chain managers can make more precise requests; however, what they receive may be determined by what donors decide to provide. An example of this was provided to us by a responder organization participant during a November 2010 workshop (discussed in greater detail later in this article), who described how donors contributed animal food in response to images shown on television of cats and dogs roaming about the disaster area hungry and lost. These contributions were in excess of the needs; their arrival also contributed to the congestion at the donation management collection/dispersal site. Furthermore, the money spent on the animal food could have been better spent on other supplies. The respondent noted that they would have preferred money but they recognized that donors often feel that giving goods constitutes a more concrete action. Moreover, some donors restrict where and how their resources can be used. In contrast, it is hard to imagine a situation where a private sector firm is sent a truckload of items that the supplier thinks is appropriate (or simply has on hand) but which do not satisfy the needs of the recipient.
High Uncertainty Levels. The HDRSCs function in the presence of high levels of uncertainty about disaster timing and location, victims' needs, donors' contributions, infrastructure and even relief group composition. In a post-disaster environment, some information is simply not available, while other information may be available but may not make it to the organizations that need it--a fact recognized by Tatham and Spens (2011), Day, Junglas and Silva (2009) and Bharosa, Lee and Janssen (2009).
Shifting Overall Priorities. As noted by many researchers (e.g., Van Wassenhove 2006; Apte 2009), HDRSCs are also different because they involve all the stages of the supply chain life cycle--from preplanning to termination/transformation. At each stage, demands and desired outcomes change. During the initial stage of a disaster relief operation, responding just after the disaster has occurred, the critical performance attribute is typically speed. Most importantly, speed can translate into a reduction in lives lost and in human suffering, but it is required in the face of high demand uncertainty. Consequently, relief organizations often "push" available supplies into the disaster area as rapidly as they can. Yet, speed is difficult to attain for several reasons, including obtaining adequate supplies, finding sufficient shipping capacity and getting to the disaster site. Experience, inventory availability, access and capability often dictate what will be moved rather than knowledge of needs. Within days, as infrastructures are stabilized and people are moved out of harm's way, the supply chain quickly shifts to focus on efficiency and security (protecting those affected by the disaster and safeguarding supplies from looting) in long-term recovery efforts. Response efforts become more demand driven, using information about damage and needs, to "pull" supplies to the victims (Whybark 2007). Private sector firms may also need to change their supply chain priorities over time, but rarely so quickly and radically as a disaster relief supply chain.
Changing Operational Needs. Not only do the priorities change over time, but the local conditions are highly dynamic as well. This situation requires different responses, resources and capabilities. For example, as the airport in Port-au-Prince became operational, setting priorities on incoming supplies (particularly supplies that might help locate and rescue people still trapped under collapsed buildings) became more important than finishing up the work on the airport control tower, particularly supplies which might help locate and rescue people still trapped under collapsed buildings. Local managers coordinated decisions as best they could with the many other organizations in their area. This type of situation gives rise to a shifting tension between execution (responding to the needs and worrying about the compliance with regulations later on) and compliance (making sure that actions are done in accordance with the appropriate procedures and regulations). Again, it is rare that a private sector supply chain would lace such a dynamic operational environment.
Self-Initiated Participants. Once a disaster strikes, HDRSCs are impacted by convergence (Wenger 1985; Drabel: and McEntire 2003; Wachtendorf and Kendra 2004; Nilsson, Sjoberg and Larsson 2010). That is, following a disaster, it is not uncommon to encounter numbers of uninvited or unexpected individuals, groups or even newly formed organizations attempting to help in the disaster relief mission. Although they are usually motivated by the best of intentions, these efforts can create numerous problems. For example: (1) they compete for coordination, communication, logistics and sustenance capacity like everyone else; (2) they often need more coordination effort since they did not participate in any prior planning efforts; and (3) they often disrupt or complicate the efforts of others. Their presence or actions, such as donations of materials or other items, creates what can be best described as turbulence that complicates the SCAM task (Holguin-Veras, Perez, Ukkusuri, Wachtendorf and Brown 2007). In the private sector, it would be odd to see a large number of unanticipated firms integrate so quickly with an existing supply chain.
Yet, it is important to recognize the advantages offered by these self-initiated participants. First, they bring with them relationships (or social capital)--relationships that may be used to increase supplies and resources or to provide access to areas that would otherwise be overlooked or ignored. A second advantage is that they can increase relief capacity during times when such capacity is needed and often lacking. Finally, they also can help to "smooth" possible organizational conflicts resulting from differences in terms of culture, religion, gender and race/ethnicity (Drabek and McEntire 2003). The challenges and research opportunities introduced by convergence and social capital are discussed in greater detail later on in this article.
Large Number of Players. Not only do FIDRSCs have to deal with convergence, but they must also deal with the fact that there are a large number of organizations that can potentially become involved when disaster strikes. For example, the developed western nations are home to between 3,000 and 4,000 international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) (Tatham and Spells 2011). This large number raises concerns regarding issues such as information sharing and activity coordination.
Press Coverage and Publicity. When a significant disaster occurs, people everywhere are interested. Consequently, the advent of a disaster is usually accompanied by the arrival of the press. 'The presence of the press creates its own set of costs and benefits. It can., for example, seize resources needed for disaster relief. In Haiti, the press competed for valuable airport space and supply chain managers' time. Furthermore, the press can direct attention toward breakdowns or problems with the performance of the supply chain, On the other hand, the publicity arising from coverage of a charitable organization onsite in a disaster can help generate donations. But this often leads to competition for press time among the participating organizations and can create coordination disincentives. Even though publicity is usually of value to a firm, such press attention is typically not showered on the private sector--unless it is the cause of the disaster (e.g., the BP oil spill).
Post-Disaster Relief Activities. All HDRSCs are ultimately transient. That is, they exist for a given period of time and are intended to end when certain conditions are met. In nearly every case of a major disaster, response activities give rise to long-term recovery activities. That is, after the urgency of the initial disaster response and the creation of conditions in which the affected population is safe and critical infrastructures are restored, the focus turns to helping the affected population regain a "normal" pattern of life. Recovery brings with it several major concerns. First, there is the question of determining what constitutes "acceptable" recovery. It can be argued that the predisaster state should define the desired future state. Yet, as seen from experiences in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, this state (which was characterized by poverty and a poor infrastructure) was not considered acceptable by the government of Haiti--what was wanted was to bring Haiti to a better, "new normal" state. The implication of this is that the recovery phase needs to be explicitly considered during preplanning and execution of the response to the disaster. Second, it must be recognized that actions taken by the supply chain to improve response may compromise the ability of the system to recover quickly and efficiently.
As can be seen, this list of traits (which is not exhaustive) emphasizes the "uniqueness" of EIDSCs. This list points out some of the challenges facing researchers and practitioners working in this area.
Why Do Research into HDRSCs?
The discussion above leads to the next question: "Why do research in this area?" We would answer this with several reasons why research is needed. First, there is the general recognition by those involved in this area that current approaches are not adequate and that something has to be done to improve the design, deployment and management of HDRSCs (Kovacs and Spens 2009). Second, as previously pointed out, the cost, in terms of both human suffering and economic impact, is high and is still growing. Third, humanitarian/disaster relief events involve the investment and deployment of massive amounts of resources coming from such diverse organizations as governmental agencies and military units, NGOs, commercial organizations and private individuals. As an example of the magnitude of spending, consider the report by Climate Science Watch, which stated that U.S. domestic disaster relief spending for fiscal year 2011 had exceeded $32 billion (Knight and Piltz 2011).
Ian Heigh, a practitioner with extensive experience in humanitarian operations, stated at the 2012 HART Workshop in Humanitarian/Disaster Relief (held in Hamburg, Germany from January 16-17, 2012) that HDRSCM directly influences between 60 and 80 percent of the total spend for humanitarian organizations. Furthermore, he estimated that more than 40 percent of this spend was ultimately wasted (fueled by factors such as duplication of effort and the lack of the time in which to carry out effective spend analysis). In other words, research done in this area has the potential to impact not only lives and livelihoods, but significant amounts of money.
A fourth reason is that studying HDRSCs provides important research opportunities, such as exploring how supply chain systems can be structured to deal with uncertainty, as compared to risk. As noted by Loch and Wu (2007), most of the research in disciplines such as operations management deals with risk, which is defined by our ability to estimate the distributions for the probability of an event taking place and the impact of the event once it takes place. From these two pieces of information, we can calculate expected values. Uncertainty, in contrast, describes those situations where we are unable to estimate either or both of the distributions. Research into uncertainty is very limited when compared to the research into risk. Yet, it is needed.
Finally, by studying HDRSCs, we can deal with outcomes other than costs--outcomes such as responsiveness and security. As noted by Melnyk et al. (2010), not all supply chains are cost driven yet cost seems to form the major focus of much of the research into supply chain systems.
Humanitarian/Disaster Relief--Logistics vs. Supply Chain Management
A considerable amount of supply chain related research into humanitarian/disaster relief has been performed under the umbrella of "humanitarian logistics." This observation can be validated by simply counting the research that has been done up to this point, which we did by carrying out two ProQuest [R] literature searches. The first search (using as the filter "humanitarian logistics" or "disaster logistics" or "relief logistics" or "disaster relief logistics") done on January 5, 2012 uncovered 147 refereed articles and 461 articles (both refereed and non-refereed). In contrast, the same search with "logistics" replaced by "supply chain management" yielded 47 refereed articles and 96 total articles. This difference in the number of articles found emphasizes that there is a difference between logistics and SCM, insofar as these terms pertain to humanitarian/disaster relief. This observation raises the simple question: What differentiates humanitarian/disaster relief logistics from humanitarian/disaster relief SCM?
Addressing this question is not easy for several reasons. First, there is the general confusion that surrounds the concept of SCM. As noted by several researchers (e.g., Cooper, Lambert and Pagh 1997; Skjoett-Larsen 1999; Larson and Halldorsson 2004), the boundaries between SCM and related fields (purchasing/sourcing, logistics and operations management) have yet to be clearly demarcated. There is significant disagreement regarding what belongs to one area (e.g., logistics) and what belongs to SCM. Larson and Halldorsson (2002) provide a discussion of these differences. Second, there is the history of research focusing on humanitarian/disaster relief. Traditionally, this research was carried out under the umbrella of logistics, even though researchers recognized that, compared to its commercial counterparts, it was broader in scope (Tatham and Spens 2011). Thus, in the research arena, the differences between humanitarian/disaster relief logistics and humanitarian/disaster relief SCM have been slight (Tatham and Spens 2011).
Nevertheless, our study regards and treats these two systems as distinct but strongly related. Using the four-group taxonomy describing the relationship between SCM and logistics proposed by Larson and Halldorsson (2002), this study adopts the "Unionist" perspective. That is, SCM completely subsumes logistics. Furthermore, we regard HDRSC as being a subset of the general concept of SCM (see Figure 2).
For the purposes of this study, we accept the definition of humanitarian/disaster relief logistics offered by Thomas and Mizushima (2005):
The process of planning, implementing and controlling the effective, cost-efficient flow and storage of goods and materials as well as related information, from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of meeting the end beneficiary's requirements.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Although there are strong elements of SCM implied in this definition, we contend that humanitarian/ disaster relief logistics is more tactical/operational/execution oriented. It is a system that comes into its own once the disaster has occurred. At that point, this logistics system is charged with the task of matching demand with supply in a timely and cost-effective manner. Furthermore, the system is primarily focused on response, with recovery being a secondary issue.
Humanitarian/disaster relief SCM, in contrast, is a broader system. We define this system as follows:
The system that is responsible for designing, deploying and managing the processes necessary for dealing with not only current but also future humanitarian/disaster events and for managing the coordination and interaction of its processes with those of supply chains that may be competitive/ complementary. It is also responsible for identifying, implementing and monitoring the achievement of the desired outcomes that its processes are intended to achieve. Finally, it is responsible for evaluating, integrating and coordinating the activities of the various parties that emerge to deal with these events.
This definition highlights several traits that differentiate HDRSCNI from its logistics component. First, the time orientation of HDRSCM generally spans from long-term to short-term, while humanitarian/disaster relief logistics tends to be more short-term. Stated another way, logistics deals with execution and tactical issues within an existing supply chain, whereas HDRSCM deals with issues involving supply chain preplanning, inter-supply chain integration and supply chain termination. For example, the task of evaluating, integrating and coordinating convergent providers--people and organizations that self-deploy with the goal of helping--is the purview of SCM rather than logistics. Furthermore, HDRSCM balances the strategic allocation of relief effort among simultaneous current events as well as a reserve for potential future events. It is responsible for identifying, communicating and monitoring the supply chain outcomes that the HDRSC is to achieve, as well as the transitions between outcomes that must take place over time. Logistics is responsible for achieving these outcomes in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Having established that HDRSCM and humanitarian/disaster relief logistics are related but distinct, and having established that HDRSCM is a subset of SCM overall, the next challenge to address is identifying what lessons HDRSCNI has for SCM. That task is the focus of the next section.
HDRSCM--INSIGHTS FOR SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Research related to HDRSCM has been conducted in a number of disciplines/functional areas. In evaluating the contribution of this research to the SCM body of knowledge, it is our contention that HDRSCM's greatest contributions can be found in specific topics areas. In this section, we will focus attention on three research areas: (1) convergence/supply chain capital; (2) risk management; and, (3) emergent organizations.
Convergence/Supply Chain Capital
As previously explained, convergence is the tendency of individuals or groups at or near the scene of a natural or human-induced disaster to offer to volunteer to care for and to assist the physically injured or emotionally distraught (Drabek and McEntire 2003). Such behavior is noticed primarily during the initiation and ramp-up phases of the supply chain life cycle. When a crisis occurs, convergence can be viewed as an unexpected increase in the supplier and/or service provider base.
When convergence occurs, it exposes the supply chain to certain unique challenges. First, there is the challenge of incorporating groups not traditionally involved in disaster response or mitigation decision making (Wachtendorf and Kendra 2004). Second, there is the challenge of setting boundaries. This requires determining how these convergence-driven individuals or organizations can provide the greatest assistance, as well as what activities and areas are outside of their scope. In addition, there is credentialing (Wachtendorf and Kendra 2004), which is the process that evaluates the skills of these individuals and organizations, provides any necessary training or certification and issues the appropriate credentials. In other words, this last challenge focuses on ensuring that these new suppliers/service providers have been brought up to current performance standards and that this status is duly noted. Finally, when dealing with convergence, there is the issue of trust (or more appropriately, lack of trust) within the resulting supply chain relationships.
Trust plays a critical role in any supply chain relationship (Hammervoll 2011). Relationships between parties are built on such foundations as the presence of formal systems facilitating integration and trust. Trust consists of two dimensions: affective and cognitive. Affective trust is loyalty to a partner; it describes the extent to which the supply chain partner believes that the other party is trustworthy or reliable. Typically, such trust is developed through firsthand experience (Hammervoll 2011). In contrast, cognitive trust reflects rationale choice, where the decision to trust is based on economic considerations regarding the investments made by the partners in the supply chain. When dealing with convergent-driven entities, the existing partners involved in an existing relationship find there is little or no foundation for building trust.
In the absence of formal systems, trust is especially critical in a HDRSC. In the humanitarian/disaster relief environment, convergence occurs because individuals and organizations perceive a sudden increase in demand that overwhelms the current supply chain. Similarly, we can argue that convergence takes place in other supply chain settings where there is a sudden increase in demand and the current level of supply is inadequate. Such conditions can occur when a new product launch suddenly becomes a huge success, or when a highly successful "fad" develops for a product or service. Both cases create opportunities for potential new suppliers. In history, we have seen convergence when war is declared. For example, at the start of the U.S. Civil War, the Union found itself in need of a vast amount of supplies--everything from boots and uniforms to muskets. This demand triggered a type of convergence--many existing firms convened over to war production; many new firms were organized to meet demand. Unfortunately, because the Union system was unable to adequately assess these new suppliers (credentialing), many of the suppliers provided the Union forces with shoddy, poor equipment--thus giving rise to the term "Shoddy millionaires" (Soodalter 2011).
During convergence, new suppliers bring with them existing relationships. These relationships form the basis for an important supply chain resource--social capital. The concept of social capital and its impact on organizational performance can be traced to the work of researchers such as Granovetter (1973), Burt (1992), Podolny and Baron (1997) and Hansen (1999). Gulati and Gargiulo (1999) recognized the impact of social capital on the formation of interorganizational networks (an example of which is a supply chain). Recently, Awry and Griffis (2008) explored the impact of social capital (in the form of supply chain capital). An awareness is now developing in SCM research of the importance and impact of social capital (e.g., Hammervoll 2011).
Past research into social capital within the supply chain context has focused on the relationship between buyers and sellers (Hitt 2011). For example, Hitt, Bierman, Uhlenbruck and Shimizu (2006) found that relational capital, which they defined as social capital with relational embeddedness, in relationships between sellers and customers had a positive impact on firm performance. Furthermore, thanks to the research of Burt (1992, 1997) into weak ties (loose connections commonly external to the main supply chain network), we now understand that weak ties in networks often facilitate innovation. As noted by Hitt (2011), weak ties provide access to diverse sets of information and knowledge.
In the HDRSC setting, new opportunities emerge to study social capital in a context of convergence. First, social capital provides additional relationships that can facilitate communication (Wachtendorf and Kendra 2004). In a disaster, these relationships can provide means to supplement the local communication system, which is often disrupted. Second, they provide the humanitarian/disaster relief organizations with access to additional resources and knowledge--resources and knowledge that can be leveraged to improve the performance of these providers. Within other supply chain contexts, social capital could also be important as, for example, when a firm is developing a new supply chain to enter a new market. Such situations often occur during the initiation/ramp-up phases of the supply chain life cycle. In these cases, convergent suppliers offer access to tacit and explicit knowledge that can be used to improve performance or to increase market share. For example, a firm entering a new marketplace can draw on its new suppliers' knowledge of the market and relationships to increase its success of penetrating this new market. The issue of how firms draw on and use the relationships of their supplier base to increase knowledge acquisition and market share is relatively unexplored in current supply chain research. There is evidence that some of these relationships are critical. Recent research by Li, Poppo and Zhott (2010) found that firms working with their foreign subsidiaries have used relationship and contract mechanisms to acquire tacit and explicit knowledge from local suppliers. Other evidence of the importance of such relationships can be found in the literature dealing with supplier innovation in new product development, including, for example, Procter & Gamble's "Connect and Develop" initiative (Huston and Sakkab 2006).
On the cover of the September 5-11, 2011 issue of Bloomberg Business Week, the editors proclaimed that "a decade of disasters has made predicting loss impossible" (Greeley 2011). What Bloomberg Business Week recognized was that (1) disasters have increased in frequency, importance and impact; and (2) it is difficult to predict not only the impact of a disaster but also the occurrence of such disasters. Underlying this awareness is a critical issue to predict, we need to have risk measures (known probabilities). But with many disasters, we must deal with uncertainty (unknown or imperfectly known probabilities) where we can no longer predict. In the best of cases, there may be a few clays' to a few hours' warning. This awareness is not new and can be traced to the research of Knight (1921). Dealing with such uncertainty is at the heart of much of the research dealing with HDRSCM.
The HDRSCM research on uncertainty in disasters can provide insights for other SCM researchers and practitioners as they become more aware of the efforts. Salmeron and Apte (2010), for example, explored the question of how to best preestablish adequate capacity and resources in advance of a disaster during the preplanning stage of the supply chain life cycle. To address this question, they developed and tested a two-stage stochastic optimization model. Because of the uncertainty associated with the location and severity of a disaster, the parameters associated with analysis were represented as scenarios. With a greater emphasis on planning (with specific attention to inventory relocation), Rottkemper, Fischer, Blecken and Danne (2011) proposed an optimization model that is based on penalty costs for non-satisfied demand. Their approach was implemented within a rolling horizon model to represent the possibility Of future disruptions.
Charles, Lamas and van Wassenhove (2010) presented a somewhat different approach for dealing with uncertainty. They argued that the most effective approach to constantly working in environments characterized by high degrees of uncertainty is to develop organizations that are highly agile. They then developed in detail the notion of supply chain agility--an approach they say is appropriate for non-humanitarian supply chains as well.
Kovacs and Tatham (2009) argue that when disaster strikes, HDRSCs rapidly transition from a dormant, lean phase (preparation) to an active, agile phase (relief). Larson (2011) extends this model by noting two opportunities to ease the transition. First, there is often ongoing development work being done in disaster-prone places, e.g., Haiti. This work is enabled by active supply chains. Development aid supply chains can also be lean, with labor and materials arriving just in time to meet project schedules. There is an opportunity to coordinate supply chain risk management for development aid with the preparation phase of disaster relief. Appropriate development can reduce the likelihood catastrophic events will occur and/or reduce the severity of their impact. This approach requires that philanthropic and public sector initiatives explicitly consider resilience when addressing community-oriented development issues. Second, in areas prone to disaster there is an opportunity to either maintain a local presence of trained personnel ready to respond to disaster at a moment's notice or provide rapid training to quickly scale capacity asneeded. This is the essence of agility. This contingent capacity could he composed of in-country aid workers or local volunteers. For instance, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a global leader in maintaining dormant, agile local capability, all over the world.
During a disaster, organizations join and often spontaneously form new types of structures. Often these structures are not copies of something that already exists. These types of organizations are often referred to as "emergent organizations" (Taylor and Van Every 2000; Drabek and McEntire 2003). Quarantelli (1966) and Dynes (1970) focused on the tasks and structures of the groups to develop a typology consisting of four types of organizations: established (regular tasks, old structures), expanding (regular tasks, new structures), extending (non-regular tasks, old structures) and emergent (non-regular tasks, new structures). Research in the disaster area has tried to identify what factors influence the specific type of organization that groups will adopt (see Drabek and McEntire (2003) for a summary of this research).
For supply chain researchers and managers, the importance of this research is that it emphasizes the dynamic nature of inter-organizational structures. Some structures are quasi-permanent. Yet, many are transient where stability and termination are influenced by factors such as inter-organizational networking, uncertainty, degree of formalization, breadth of issue domain, the re-establishment of normal relationships and the achievement of goals (Drabek 1987). In other words, the structures linking organizations in a supply chain are potentially dynamic they may vary over the supply chain life cycle. Furthermore, as noted by Walsh (1988), these structures can change over time even though the groups are the same and the focus has not changed. This dynamic aspect of supply chain structure is largely absent in the existing body of SCM research--research that focuses on steady-state behavior (exceptions include Choi, Dooley and Rungtusanatham 2001; Holguin-Veras et al. 2007; Pathak, Day, Nair, Sawaya and Kristal 2007a; Pathak, Dilts and Biswas 2007b).
EMERGING RESEARCH ISSUES IN HDRSCM
The HDRSC managers have already learned much from general supply chain experts and are putting this knowledge to use. We continue to see the adoption of improved approaches in planning, information management, response coordination, logistics and many other important functions. Yet there are some challenges for which HDRSC managers have not been able to obtain suitable guidance from other supply chain experts.
As we have seen in the last section, HDRSC managers are at the forefront of managing some challenges (e.g., convergence, uncertainties and emergent organizations) that many other supply chains are facing as well. HDRSC deals with an "industry" that moves at a clock speed (Fine 1998), providing insights into the challenges that some other industries will encounter more often in the future.
To gain a greater understanding of the most pressing issues currently facing HDRSC managers, we convened a number of leading experts. These managers participated in multiple large disasters over the past decade and each disaster has provided a stark reminder of what challenges continue to be observed without being adequately addressed. Their insights provided us with a list of four major challenge areas in which supply chain research could make valuable contributions.
The scarceness of research focusing on HDRSC issues encouraged us to develop a suggested research agenda by using a two-stage expert-led approach. Stage one convened thirteen leading experts to identify and prioritize the challenges faced by HDRSC practitioners today. The second stage gathered 35 experts to validate, flesh out and attempt to address the top identified challenges.
The first 1-day meeting was held in Atlanta, GA and sponsored by the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. This event included participants from Aidmatrix, American Logistics Aid Network, American Red Cross, Arizona State University, U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Tech, U.S. Military NORAD/NORTHCOM, Pennington Family Foundation, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, SYSCO and United Parcel Service.
This meeting used a semi-structured agenda that provided participants with opportunities for both free dialogue and directed conversation. A professional facilitator ensured that participants remained on-task toward the objective of identifying and prioritizing top HDRSC challenges.
The second meeting was a 2-day workshop sponsored by and held at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Participants included practitioners from U.S. Military AFRICOM, Aidmatrix Foundation, American Red Cross, American Logistics Aid Network, Buzz Manager, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, FortiusOne, Home Depot, Institute for Defense and Business, LMI, U.S. Military NORAD/NORTHCOM, Ryder Logistics, Salvation Army, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, Pennington Family Foundation, United Parcel Service and Viterra Foundation. A number of consultants and communications/IT experts working with U.S. government agencies and departments and/or specializing in social media also participated. Academic participants represented Central Michigan University, DePaul University, Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, National Defense University, Nova South-eastern University, University of Alabama-Huntsville, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
This workshop featured participant presentations, task focused small groups and full group discussions. The diverse group of participants discussed current HDRSC challenges and validated the prioritized list of challenges obtained in our first stage meeting. Small groups then focused on creating action agendas for addressing the top two challenges.
To ensure a diverse set of views was represented, both meeting stages included participants from five sectors: government agencies, military, nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies and academia. Such cross-sector research gatherings have been relatively rare in the humanitarian and disaster relief field; however, the academic setting and intention of our inquiry fostered a "trusted neutral ground" setting. Participant permission was obtained for all comments to be documented without attribution. Multiple researchers iterated through coding of the documented participant comments until a clear set of themes were identified from the data.
Emerging from the two-stage methodology, four themes were determined to be the most pressing significant challenge areas in which researchers could contribute to the field of HDRSCM. These four themes were (1) demand signal visibility and requirements determination, (2) information management and relief activity coordination (in a changing environment), (3) disaster relief planning and (4) managing relationships and developing trust along the supply chain. Although several additional themes were captured from the discussion, these four themes were deemed to be the most notable and widely applicable, based on the frequency and depth of their discussion. In the results that follow, much of the participants' terminology (noted with quotation marks) has been retained.
Demand Signal Visibility and Requirements/Needs Determination
Obtaining reliable information about demand requirements was of the greatest interest to the participants; more comments were made regarding the importance of this topic than any other single issue. It was noted that the "customer signal" is especially "tough to nail down" at the beginning of a disaster relief event. One participant commented on how defining the "on-ground true requirements at the front end is still murky." Another noted that formulas do not currently exist to make accurate forecasts of resource requirements or estimate the implication of different hazard impacts. Several agreed that reading the customer demand signal is one of the biggest sources of friction in a disaster relief scenario. It was noted that different links in the supply chain have very little visibility on what is materially relevant to their "consumers" and "suppliers" at other spots along the chain. At least three speakers commented on the need for simple approaches/models to help predict relief requirements.
Information Management and Relief Activity Coordination in a Changing Environment
The challenge of managing information flows and coordinating activities among the various disaster relief providers was cited as a major issue by a number of participants. Factors mentioned as contributing to the turbulent nature of the environment included the rapidly changing nature of the disaster scenario, poor communications, the appearance of unexpected players/responders and supplies, shifting supplier-customer relationships and lack of information about the true capabilities/capacities of suppliers. The need for improved coordination also includes flows of money and flows of resources such as relief services and supplies. Improving the synchronization of flows of relief materials and supplies was linked closely to improved information sharing and communications along the supply chain.
Disaster Relief Planning
Preplanning for disasters was cited as a "must do," despite the notable "short shelf life" of disaster plans. The need to validate the critical portions of preparedness planning to avoid getting "caught short" was identified as a major goal. Developing a "preparedness template" for use in different types of disasters was mentioned as a long-standing need. Identifying the "sweet spot" (best amount/extent) of preparedness planning was also mentioned as a current need. However, the need for balancing the extent of preplanning against possible desensitizing of communities and organizations was noted as an associated concern. One speaker commented on the need for stronger/greater preplanned resources from the private sector for catastrophic events that do not relate simply to routine interactions. Another speaker spoke on the dangers of "planning for yesterday's disaster."
Managing Relationships and Developing Trust (along the Supply Chain)
Participants commented on the importance of trust and good relationships as positive factors in supply chain performance in a disaster scenario. Someone expressed the view that "trustworthiness may be the most critical element in the smooth functioning of disaster relief operations." Several comments were made about the "constantly changing" nature of supply chain relationships as well as dealing with new suppliers and customers following disasters. A key question raised was, "How do we build relationships--do we use partners or templates?" Some respondents emphatically expressed a preference for partners as "the best way to get things done"; others were less sure, noting the challenges of partnership training versus ease of use of predeveloped templates.
There is a great need for new supply chain research in each of the four challenge areas (demand signal visibility and requirements determination, information management and relief activity coordination, disaster relief planning and managing relationships and developing trust). This is true in the way these areas relate to extant research in the field of SCM as well as the way these areas relate to the fields of humanitarian logistics and HDRSC.
Each of these four challenge areas is impacted by the three HDRSC issues identified above. First, convergence affects information management and relief activity coordination as well as managing relationships and developing trust. Second, uncertainty influences issues of demand signal visibility and requirements determination and disaster relief planning. Finally, emergent organizations create challenges for information management and relief activity coordination, disaster relief planning and managing relationships and developing trust.
Although some initial work has emerged on these issues from the humanitarian/disaster relief logistics area, none of the four challenge areas are inherently a part of the historical logistics research discipline; rather, they exist within the larger field of SCM. To date, however, SCM has not adequately addressed these issues for humanitarian/disaster relief contexts. These observations may provide some explanation as to why humanitarian/disaster relief logistics has found the need to extend outside of traditional logistics boundaries.
Recently, Friedman (2005) noted that the world is flat. That is, it is interconnected and global. What happens in one part of the world affects actions in other parts of the world. That is true for SCM; it is also true for HDRSCs. HDRSCs are becoming increasingly important. When disasters occur in today's interconnected world their social, economic and emotional effects are not limited to the areas directly affected; rather, second and third order effects ripple through supply chains around the world. Furthermore, because of developments such as the Internet, YouTube, social networking and cellphone cameras, we are becoming aware of the human costs of disasters almost immediately. Consider the following. On August 27, 1883, Krakatoa in Indonesia erupted causing over 100,000 deaths and the eruption was heard over 3,000 miles away. It took weeks for people in London, Amsterdam, Berlin and New York to realize the true extent of this disaster. On Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan's east coast was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Many in the world watched this disaster unfold in real time. Consequently, disasters are generating an impact that demands immediate action aimed at reducing the impact (social, human, economic) and speeding up recovery. At the heart of these challenges lies HDRSCM.
This article has attempted to introduce readers to the opportunities and importance of HDRSCM. It has tried to identify what makes HDRSCs different. It has explored why research into HDRSCM is timely, necessary and needed. When we study HDRSCs, we not only better understand the supply chain responses to disasters; we also start to develop a broader and richer understanding of SCM overall. When we study HDRSCM, we expose opportunities for the transfer for knowledge. As we have shown, the study of HDRSCM can uncover lessons, issues and practices that can be applied to other types of supply chains; not only helping them to better prepare for and react to disruptions, but also helping them develop new strategies for managing situations that include phenomena such as convergence, uncertainty and emergent organizations. For example, the American Red Cross can learn from Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart can also learn from the American Red Cross. Finally, this article has leveraged expert insights to identify four areas in which HDRSCM research is urgently needed: demand signal visibility and requirements determination, information management and relief activity coordination, disaster relief planning and managing relationships and developing trust.
In HDRSCs, there is much at stake; it is often a matter of life and death. By designing, implementing and managing more effective and efficient HDRSCs, we can not only reduce costs and lead-time, but we can also save lives and reduce suffering. We can make a true difference. HDRSCs represent opportunities for the SCM field to enhance its impact and broaden its scope, and to perform interesting research (as defined by Davis 1971).
Like all invited papers and invited notes, the original version of this manuscript underwent a double-blind review process.
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JAMISON M. DAY University of Denver
STEVEN A. MEINYK Michigan State University
PAUL D. LARSON University of Manitoba
EDWARD W. DAVIS University of Virginia
D. CLAY WHYBARK University of North Carolina Jamison M. Day (Ph.D., Indiana University) is a member of the adjunct faculty in the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. He is also a co-founder of the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Supply Chain Initiative. Dr. Day's research integrates theories from supply chain management and complexity science to improve disaster relief coordination. As an expert in disaster relief planning and implementation, he has given presentations of his work to the White I louse, the U.S. Homeland Security Council, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency 'Management Agency and the U.S. Northern Command. Dr. Day's published articles have appeared in numerous academic periodicals, including the Decision Sciences Journal, the Journal of the Association for Information Systems and the European Journal of Operational Research.
Steven A. Melnyk (Ph.D., University of Western Ontario) is a professor of operations and supply chain management in the Department of Supply Chain Management in the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. His research interests include environmentally responsible manufacturing, process management, performance measurement/metrics, supply chain management and time-based competition. Dr. Melnyk has published articles in a variety of outlets, including the Journal of Operations Management, the Sloan Management Review, the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, the Decision Sciences Journal, and Business Horizons. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Supply Chain Management. Paul D. Larson (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is a professor of supply chain management at the Asper School of Business of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He also serves as the chair of the Supply Chain Department and Director of the Transport Institute. Dr. Larson's research interests include logistics, purchasing, transportation and supply chain management. He serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Logistics and is a member of the Journal of Supply Chain Management's Review Board.
Edward W. Davis (Ph.D., Yale University) is the Oliver Wright Professor of Business in the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. His current research focuses on supply chain management in business, governmental and humanitarian disaster settings. Dr. Davis is the author or co-author of four books, 125 case studies and technical notes, and numerous articles in a variety of academic and managerial publications, including the I laniard Business Review, the Sloan Management Review, Management Science, the International Journal of Physical Distribution Logistics Management, Industrial Engineer, the Project Management Journal, Business Horizons and AllE Transactions.
D. Clay Whybark (Ph.D., Stanford University) is the Macon Patton Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) and Senior Academic Advisor in the Institute for Defense and Business at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is the co-founder of the Global Manufacturing Research Group and a Fellow of the Decision Science Institute, among other honors. Dr. NAthybark's research interests include global manufacturing practices, supply chain management, humanitarian relief and life cycle engineering. His current research projects focus on transferring knowledge in logistics and supply chain management between the private sector, other non-governmental organizations, and the military and other governmental organizations (both national and international). His publications include several hooks, among them, Why ERP? Manufacturing Planning anti Control Systems and Global Manufacturing Practices.