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Bernd Hellingrath
Daniel Link
Adam Widera
DVV Media Group GmbH
Managing Humanitarian
Supply Chains
Strategies, Practices and Research
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ISBN: 978-3-87154-487-3
Table of Contents
Preface Page 1
Working Together Across Sectors
to Improve Humanitarian Logistics Page 4
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath
Daniel Link
Adam Widera
Part I: Results of BVL International’s Humanitarian Logistics Council
HumLog@BVL: Integrating Humanitarian
Supply Chain Actors through Networking Page 22
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath
Adam Widera
Get Seaports Ready for Disaster
Strengthening Preparedness at African Seaports
by Improving Performance Page 33
Ferdinand Möhring
Daniel Link
Training and Education in Humanitarian Logistics Page 46
Prof. Dr. Dorit Bölsche
Part II: Humanitarian and Commercial Communities of Practice
Humanitarian Logistics: An Evolving Sector Page 64
George Fenton
Private Business Actors in Humanitarian Supply
Chains: Cooperation between Lufthansa Cargo and
Germany’s Relief Coalition Page 72
Leo Frey
Dr. Markus Moke
Moritz Wohlrab
Table of Contents
Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs) Page 76
Jen Janice Mohamed
Eduardo Matinez
Frank Clary
Relief Item Tracking and Reporting
for the Logistics Cluster Page 87
Cameron Birge
Humanitarian Logistics Transformation:
From Bulk to Retail Logistics and Operations on
Border of Humanitarian and Commercial Sectors Page 95
Magda Jurkowiecka
Partnering to Limit Unsolicited Donations Page 104
Isabelle de Muyser-Boucher
Pierre Boulet-Desbarreau
Review of Procurement Activities
of the United Nations in 2012 Page 114
Dr. Alexander Blecken
Humanitarian Airlift Operations Page 123
Shahe Ouzounian
Practical Logistics at the End of the World
Man Remains Irreplaceable Page 130
Klaus Merckens
Bernd Schneider
Performance Improvement through Logistics
Management Software A Case Study of a
Namibian Logistics Service Provider Page 137
Stephan Hofmann
Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmidt
Table of Contents
Part III: Training and Education
International Humanitarian Assistance by the Red Cross
and Red Crescent Movement and the Use of Simulation
Exercises for Humanitarian Organisations as well as for
Logistics Service Providers Page 152
Prof. Dr. Joachim Gardemann
Joachim Jäger
Holger Schmidt
Strengthening Personnel Capacities on the Last Mile Page 162
Thomas Möllers
Humanitarian Logistics Starts
Long Before a Disaster Occurs Page 167
Kathrin Mohr
Anna Birk
The Port Resiliency Program (PReP): Upgrading
Logistics at Latin American and Caribbean Ports Page 176
Dr. Engr. Teo A. Babun, Jr.
Dr. Prof. Engr. James F. Smith
Professionalization of Humanitarian Logisticians Page 188
Dorothea Carvalho
Humanitarian Aid in Hotspots Building
Logistics Capacity at the Horn of Africa Page 196
Dr. Martin Kessler
Martin Willhaus
Expanding Humanitarian Logistics Capacity
in the Asia-Pacic Region Page 208
Dr. Robert de Souza
Jonas Stumpf
Table of Contents
Part IV: Research
What Makes Response Rapid?
Humanitarian Practitioners’ Views on Speed in
Dynamic and Uncertain Logistics Environments Page 222
Prof. Dr. Rebecca Walton
Robin Mays
Prof. Dr. Mark Haselkorn
From Process Analysis to Performance Management
in Humanitarian Logistics Page 244
Adam Widera
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath
Practice and Science Facing Great Challenges
A Balance of Humanitarian Logistics Page 265
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Helmut Baumgarten
Hendrik Blome
Operations Research for Crisis and Disaster Relief
Operations A Testbed for Teaching and Research Page 281
Dr. Erik Kropat
Dr. Silja Meyer-Nieberg
Goran Mihelcic
Prof. Dr. Stefan Pickl
Gender and Humanitarian Logistics
A Situational Update Page 298
Pamela Steele
Prof. Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács
Considering Sustainability in the Context
of Humanitarian Logistics Page 314
Prof. Dr. Iris Hausladen
Alexander Haas
Outlook Page 330
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath
Daniel Link
Adam Widera
The BVL Working Groups are focusing on current topics of interests within logis-
tics and bring together practitioners as well as researchers to work out specic
answers and solutions to these topics. In the case of humanitarian logistics two
subsequent working groups have been organized by the BVL in order to reect the
relevance and the need for discussion covering the most important topics. During
that time a network of humanitarian organisations, logistics and IT companies as
well as research institutions has grown together. We strongly believe that with our
initiative we could already contribute and make at least a little change in the
humanitarian logistics world.
Disaster relief is not only a challenge for humanitarian organisations, but a global
one for politics, economies, and societies worldwide. Thus humanitarian opera-
tions need to be planned sustainable; all phases have to be considered adequately,
from the rst response and recovery to rehabilitation and mitigation as well as
to prevention and preparation in order to build resilient communities in an inter-
connected and globalized world. As BVL members we are aware of the importance
and power of supply chain management and logistics for our businesses. BVL In-
ternational felt directly responsible and able to contribute in this eld.
Twovery promising projects have been designed and partly initiated:
1. The platform HumLog@BVL: an international network among humanitar-
ian organisations, logistics services providers and humanitarian logistics
researchers supporting a continuous dialogue, the exchange of knowledge
and logistics education.
2. Get Seaports Ready for Disaster (GSRD): a programme to increase the
disaster preparedness of seaports by raising disaster awareness and port
performance in free, local trainings.
To conclude, we can say that we know there is still a lot to do. Thanks to the efforts
and commitment of the more than 25 experts from industry, humanitarian organi-
sations and research institutions of the Humanitarian Logistics Working Group we
have made rst important steps and we know where to go next. Thanks to the
Professors Helmut Baumgarten and Bernd Hellingrath who initiated and guided the
idea and the work. We cordially thank all members for all the time, expertise and
efforts they brought in, it deserves our utmost respect and recognition.
We are pleased at your interest in humanitarian logistics and wish you an interest-
ing and informative read.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Raimund Klinkner
BVL International
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wimmer
Chairman of the Executive Board
BVL International
Working Together Across Sectors
to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath, Chair for Information Systems and
Supply Chain Management, University of Münster, Germany
Daniel Link, Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Management,
University of Münster, Germany
Adam Widera, Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain
Management, University of Münster, Germany
Introduction to Humanitarian Logistics
The number of natural disasters and man-made crises tripled since the 1970s (see
Figure 1). Experts have forecasted that disasters will occur ve times more often
in the next fty years. The reasons and the consequences of disasters become
increasingly complex, as illustrated by the earthquake in Japan in March 2011,
which resulted in both a tsunami and a nuclear disaster.
Figure 1: Number of disaster between 1970 and 2012 (Swiss Re 2013)
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
Humanitarian logistics ensures that the disaster-affected population is quickly
supplied with food, medicine and shelter, in order to save lives and alleviate suffer-
ing. At the same time material has to be provided in order to rebuild the partly or
completely destroyed local infrastructures. Doing so, logistics is currently respon-
sible for the biggest share in the costs of disaster relief operations. In fact, 40 to
60% of costs are related to logistics. If including procurement costs the ratio can
even rise up to 80% (Long and Wood 1995, vanWassenhove 2006, Blecken 2010).
This means that humanitarian response is made more effective and efcient when
logistics operations are improved.
BVL International’s Humanitarian Logistics Council
BVL International is a non-prot, Germany-based logistics association that was
founded in 1978 “to act as a neutral platform to promote an awareness for the
importance of logistics and supply chain management in industry, science and the
public sphere, to systematically document logistical problem denitions, to de-
velop methods and processes to solve these problems on an interdisciplinary and
sector-focused basis and to promote and continuously optimise the application of
the relevant solutions. Today, BVL has more than 10,000 members companies
and individuals from the world of industry, commerce, services and science who
are actively involved in the business of logistics and supply chain management”
(BVL 2013).
In 2009 the BVL Board decided to investigate how BVL International could use its
extensive capabilities for the greater good of humanity. This led to the formation
of BVL International’s Humanitarian Logistics Council, similar to multiple councils/
working groups that BVL International formed and funded (e.g. on the topics
of “Sustainable Logistics” or “Logistics in Small and Medium Enterprises”). Each
council operates for a limited time to work towards its goals. The Humanitarian
Logistics Council aims to improve the contribution of logistics to humanitarian aid
by developing concrete and sustainable approaches to solve relevant problems in
practice. In April 2010 the Council conducted its rst, initial workshop that counted
about 25 participants from aid organisations: logistics service providers, industry,
academia and foundations. One idea appeared to be of paramount importance
during the workshop. In order to improve logistics operations in the humanitarian
context it is vital to know about existing challenges and to target them specically
while recognizing the multiplicity of relevant actors. Following this insight, the
Council has consequently analysed the current challenges in humanitarian logis-
tics in a rst working cycle, identifying challenges in the four subject areas “Infor-
mation and Technology”, “Processes, Organisation, Coordination”, “Infrastructure”
and “Politics and Public Agencies”, as described in the following.
Challenges in Humanitarian Logistics
Subject area “Information and Technology“: The few existing infor-
mation systems that specically support humanitarian logistics show po-
tential regarding their interoperability. The development and deployment
of a common, inter-organisational information system seem to fail because
of a lack of incentives on the one hand, but on the other hand more im-
portantly a lack of resources. Specically, today’s information systems
only partially support the measurement of logistics costs and performance,
especially for immediate disaster response. This need should be addressed
by information system developers, especially in order to better measure
performance indicators such as delivery time or service level. Further chal-
lenges include, among others, the provision of information about sourcing
and distribution networks, the documentation of individual activities, and
the creation of a central repository that contains information about the
capabilities of logistics service providers.
Subject area “Processes, Organisation, Coordination”: In the area
of processes, organisation and coordination, last mile distribution and the
adaptation of concepts from classic logistics were named as particularly
important challenges. The issue of integrating new actors into existing in-
ter-organisational networks was also raised. Regarding performance meas-
urement, the systematic measurement and analysis of logistics services
and use of funds seem to be highly needed, as well as the denition of
specic performance indicators for humanitarian logistics. Further chal-
lenges lie in the application of supply chain management methods (e.g.
Cross Docking), a comprehensive view on logistics processes, and in effec-
tive cooperation with logistics service providers in disaster areas.
Subject area “Infrastructure”: The integration of local authorities and
the lack of methods for planning transports in the face of massive damage
to local trafc infrastructure seem to be particularly challenging. This goes
in hand with the need for a central database containing information about
those parts of the trafc infrastructure that are still usable. Further chal-
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
lenges lie in the collection of data about damaged infrastructure, the need
for exible planning methods, and upholding the cold chain.
Subject area “Politics and Public Agencies”: Apparently there exists
a need for a single point of contact that can answer questions about the
relevant regulations, the exact role of the local government, as well as co-
ordination and information regarding needs, storage options and the state
of infrastructure. Study participants have also described their collaboration
with government representatives to be particularly challenging at times,
and they have pointed out a high need for points of contact that can an-
swer questions regarding customs regulations specically. Further chal-
lenges lie in high levels of corruption, the willingness of developing coun-
tries to cooperate effectively, the use of funds that are tied to a political
agenda, and the lack of long-term infrastructure development programs.
The complete results of the rst cycle have been published in a book by Baum-
garten, Schwarz and Kessler (2011), which contains contributions from multiple
authors from the humanitarian, commercial and academic sectors. These results
include the major challenges that have been identied, an analysis of current
processes and IT systems and a review of training and education in humanitarian
After the Council’s rst cycle had been completed, multiple challenges were tack-
led, but several remained. In particular it had become clear that the multiple ac-
tors in humanitarian supply chains were in need of a common platform for their
continued interaction. Furthermore, specic projects were to be developed that
directly targeted logistics operations. The results regarding training and education
needed to be extended too, e.g. by the creation of an up-to-date, public database.
Last but not least the Council had reached a degree of maturity that suggested
stronger interaction with wider, global communities of practice and academia. On
this foundation the Council developed the concept of a platform HumLog@BVL,
the disaster preparedness program “Get Seaports Ready for Disaster”, and several
outcomes relating to the subject of training and education. This book contains cor-
responding chapters that describe new results of the Council as well as it a variety
of contributions from internationally renowned practitioners and researchers, plac-
ing the results in a larger context.
To better understand the Council’s new results, a short introduction to the platform
HumLog@BVL and the program “Get Seaports Ready for Disaster” as well as to the
outcomes relating to training and education is given in the following.
The Platform HumLog@BVL
At Council meetings members have repeatedly stated their need to institutional-
ize and sustain the network that had grown out of the Council’s activities, as it
fostered a necessary and constructive inter-sectorial exchange in the area of hu-
manitarian logistics. This need formed the initial motivation to design the platform
HumLog@BVL. In order to avoid redundant efforts, nearly 20 existing networks
and platforms related to humanitarian logistics were analysed prior to any design
activities. The analysis showed the gap for an open, user-centred and sustainable
platform. It also became apparent that the platform had to integrate the actors of
humanitarian supply chains through networking, support the exchange of relevant
information and expertise, and assist members in exploring new ways to cooper-
ate; which became the fundamental conceptual pillars of HumLog@BVL. It also
had to support the dissemination and transfer of the Council’s results into relevant
communities of practice. To reach these objectives the resulting platform design
incorporates face-to-face events and meetings as well as a web-based, virtual
platform that connects members of the platform in-between events and meetings.
HumLog@BVL is covered in detail in a separate chapter by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd
Hellingrath and Adam Widera (University of Münster).
Get Seaports Ready for Disaster
Seaports full an outstanding role in today’s supply chains, as sea transporta-
tion is still the cheapest way to transport large volumes of goods. This is also
true for humanitarian operations, as illustrated by the fact that 30 ships are in
continuous operation for the UN World Food Programme (WFP 2013). Despite
being close to disaster-affected areas some seaports remain largely unused by
relief organisations, because the local structures and processes are not denitely
capable to handle the volume of incoming goods appropriately. Inspired by and on
the basis of Deutsche Post DHL’s successful program “Get Airports Ready for Dis-
asters” (GARD) as well as supported by three large German seaport operators (the
BLG Logistics Group, the duisport Group and the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik
AG), the Council thus developed the program “Get Seaports Ready for Disaster”
(GSRD). This program aims to increase disaster preparedness in seaports, par-
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
ticularly increasing performance and accelerating the processing of incoming relief
goods in cooperation with humanitarian and commercial partners. The resulting
performance improvements contribute to disaster preparedness and to economic
development. DHL’s program “Get Airports Ready for Disaster” and the Council’s
program “Get Seaports Ready for Disaster” are presented in separate chapters
within this book (authors named below). The Port Resiliency Program (PReP) was
developed independently and almost simultaneously to ”Get Seaports Ready for
Disaster”. PReP addresses both airports and seaports in Latin America. Dr. Teo
A. Babun and Prof. Dr. James F. Smith from AmericasRelief Team cover PReP in a
separate chapter.
Training and Education in Humanitarian Logistics
Training and education are vital in the dynamic eld of humanitarian logistics,
where professionalization has such an immediate effect on human lives. Hence the
Council has researched the existing training and education programs for several
years, creating a database and a classication of the existing programs. It also
completed an analysis of current decits and gaps. On this basis, a prole for
training and education in humanitarian logistics and a concept to eliminate the
existing decits and gaps have been developed. The results of the Council’s work-
ing group on training and education are covered in a separate chapter by Prof. Dr.
Dorit Bölsche (University of Applied Sciences Fulda). They stand next to a variety
of further chapters that are related to training and education, all of which are in-
troduced further below.
Actors in the Field of Humanitarian Logistics
Humanitarian operations usually take place in very complex environments. One
factor for their complexity is the multiplicity of actors that are involved in humani-
tarian supply chains, spanning humanitarian and commercial sectors, academia
and governments. From its beginning the Council has been aware that logistics
operations in the humanitarian context can be improved only when this multiplicity
is considered. To aid readers’ understanding of the rich landscape of actors, gure
2 gives an overview over the actors that work together every day to deliver aid
effectively. This classication of actors has also proven useful to structure the col-
lection of works at hand, where chapters about the Council’s results are followed
by contributions from various communities of practice as well as chapters relating
to training, education and research. In the following, the actors are described in
greater detail, linking them to the major topics covered in this book.
Figure 2: Actors in Humanitarian Logistics
(based on Global Humanitarian Assistance 2013)
Beneciaries are the recipients of humanitarian supply chains. Their needs are
the basis of humanitarian supply chain design, planning and execution. That is,
beneciaries’ needs have a direct effect on the procurement, storage and delivery
of the right goods. To identify the needs of beneciaries aid organisations conduct
so-called assessments.
Beneciaries have become far more than passive recipients of goods from aid or-
ganisations. Their power to inuence supply chains increases steadily, for instance
by the distribution of assistance through cash and vouchers. As it is detailed in one
of the chapters that were contributed by Cameron Birge and Magda Jurowiecka
from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), this transforms humanitarian sup-
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
ply chains, resulting in a shift from bulk to retail logistics with a strong effect on
Aid Organisations
One of the most prominent gures in the history of humanitarian aid, Henry
Dunant, has rst published his vision to set up national relief societies and draw
up a convention that would constitute the basis for such societies in 1862 (Dunant
1986). Aid organisations can be classied into non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), national governmental organisations (GOs) and international governmen-
tal organisations (IGOs). The biggest humanitarian network with over 100 million
members, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, is usually
mentioned separately (IFRC 2013). The well-established and reliable structures of
the Movement and explain training concepts for future delegates are elaborated
on in the chapter by Prof. Dr. Joachim Gardemann (Münster University of Applied
Sciences), Joachim Jäger (German Red Cross) and Holger Schmidt (German Red
Cross/German Federal Ofce of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance).
The tasks of aid organisations fall into a wide spectrum and vary according to the
strategies of individual organisations. Some aid organisations focus on medical
aid, e.g. by delivering pharmaceutics or by giving medical service to beneciar-
ies. Other organisations primarily provide services related to water, sanitation and
hygiene (WASH). Considering the long history of humanitarian aid and the relative
novelty of the term “humanitarian logistics”, it has to be acknowledged that major
aid organisations always needed to perform well in logistics whether they aim to
provide medical aid, WASH or other services.
The beneciaries of humanitarian aid do not pay for products and services unlike
the customers in commercial supply chains, thus establishing one major differ-
ence to commercial supply chains. To be able to provide products and services, aid
organisations rely on donations in the form of funds and goods. Donors appear in
many forms; as states or confederations of states, as companies and foundations,
or as donor associations as well as private persons.
If donors are unaware of beneciaries’ needs then they might donate goods that
are not needed, thereby unnecessarily occupying logistical resources. This issue is
treated by Isabelle de Muyser-Boucher (UN Ofce for the Coordination of Humani-
tarian Affairs, OCHA) and Pierre Boulet-Desbarraeau (independent consultant) in
the chapter about unsolicited donations.
Suppliers are mainly companies that provide aid organisations with the items
needed to full beneciaries’ needs, from foodstuff to vehicles and construction
machines. Aid organisations may be suppliers too, such as “action medeor”, Eu-
rope’s biggest medical aid organisation (
How much humanitarian aid relies on supplies can also be seen by looking at
the UN’s procurement activities, which are reviewed in a separate chapter by Dr.
Alexander Blecken (UN Ofce for Project Services, UNOPS). With more than USD
2.3 billion in 2012 in total, the UN’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food
Programme (WFP) are in fact the leading UN agencies regarding the procurement
of goods.
In addition, the early Council members Klaus Merckens and Bernd Schneider
(CIWI) describe issues that they saw as suppliers of IT and telecommunication
solutions in developing countries.
Logistics Service Providers
The majority of transports in humanitarian logistics are done by logistics compa-
nies, i.e. commercial logistics service providers. Major logistics companies such as
Deutsche Post DHL, DB Schenker and Kuehne + Nagel have created specialized
business units to handle public sector and relief logistics, showing that the coop-
eration between humanitarian and commercial organisations is the norm rather
than a rare exception. Some companies like Chapman Freeborn focus on offering
specic services to aid organisations, such as airlift operations; covered in Shahe
Ouzounian’s (Chapman Freeborn) contribution to this book.
Logistics service providers have long realized that humanitarian logistics is more
than just a eld to do business in. Seeing that humanitarian logistics starts long
before a disaster occurs, it seems natural for logistics companies to make humani-
tarian logistics part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. An ex-
ample for such a CSR activity is DHL’s program “Get Airports Ready for Disaster”,
described by Kathrin Mohr and Anna Birk from Deutsche Post DHL’s GoHelp Team.
Another example for an established, successful CSR program is the Logistics
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
Emergency Teams (LETs)by four leading logistics companies: Agility, A. P. Möller-
Maersk, TNT and UPS. The LETs are treated by Jen Janice Mohamed (former LET
Programme Manager at TNT), Eduardo Martinez (The UPS Foundation) and Frank
Clary (Agility Logistics). New initiatives are created constantly, as demonstrated
by the cooperation between Germany’s Relief Coalition and Lufthansa Cargo that
was initiated in 2013, as treated by Leo Frey, Dr. Markus Moke and Moritz Wohlrab
from the Coalition. In addition, the Council’s “Get Seaports Ready for Disaster”
(GSRD) and AmericasRelief Team’s “Port Resiliency Program” (PReP) can be con-
sidered successful programs in the making. GSRD is introduced in a chapter by
Ferdinand Möhring (BLG Logistics Group) and Daniel Link (University of Münster),
while PReP is the topic of Dr. Teo A. Babun’s and Prof. Dr. James F. Smith’s chapter,
who are both from AmericasRelief Team).
Aid organisations do not only work with multi-national logistics service providers.
They often contract local logistics companies too. Many times these companies
show a high potential for improvement, e.g. in the area of IT, whose realiza-
tion could benet humanitarian aid as well as economic development. How logis-
tics service providers in developing countries can benet from modern logistics
management software is illustrated by Stephan Hofmann and Prof. Dr. Thomas
Schmidt (Flensburg University of Applied Sciences) within their case study of a
Namibian logistics service provider.
Coordinating Entities
During a major disaster a high number and variety of logistics activities have to be
coordinated. The Global Logistics Cluster and the UN Ofce for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) play important roles in coordination. The Logistics
Cluster, which is led by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), is concerned with
coordination, information management and, where necessary, the provision of
logistics services. In contrast, OCHA connects the actors in humanitarian logistics
in order to identify and utilize synergies and prevent conicts. Often times this
means that WFP uses its capacities to close existing gaps in logistics service. While
WFP focuses on the distribution of food to the affected population, OCHA works
with governments to organize the delivery of other kinds of items. OCHA collabo-
rates closely with the Logistics Cluster to monitor the capacities and resources that
are globally held by relevant actors. This is a difcult task, which calls for adequate
IT support. The chapter by Cameron Birge (Global Logistics Cluster Support Cell/
WFP) consequently introduces the new Relief Item Tracking and Reporting Applica-
tion (RITA).
The military has excellent logistics capabilities, which are often employedby gov-
ernments in international disaster operations. The military’s capabilities and its
command and control structure enable it to operate quickly without having to rely
on functioning infrastructure. Generally, aid organisations may choose to work
with the military and benet from its logistics capabilities, as long as this does not
threaten the aid organisations’ neutrality. One chapter in this book describes the
role of operations research for crisis and disaster relief operations, as seen by Dr.
Erik Kropat, Dr. Silja Meyer-Nieberg, Goran Mihelcic and Prof. Dr. Stefan Pickl from
the Universität der Bundeswehr München, which is one of the federal research
universities that were founded by the German Armed Forces.
Professional Associations and Foundations
Professional associations and foundations are important actors in humanitarian
logistics. Professional associations, for instance, promote networking and facilitate
discussions about issues that strongly affect the humanitarian community in the
long term. In contrast, foundations act as donors, but also contribute their capaci-
ties to support aid organisations, for instance by advising them on their logistics
The biggest professional association in humanitarian logistics is the Humanitarian
Logistics Association (HLA), which “promotes and supports professional develop-
ment initiatives within the global humanitarian logistics community of practice.
It acts as a neutral interface to leverage knowledge, information and capability
across humanitarian organisations” ( The HLA of-
ce is hosted by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT ) UK. CILT
is a professional association of commercial logisticians with more than 30,000
members in more than 30 countries. Both George Fenton (HLA) and Dorothea Car-
valho (CILT) have contributed chapters to this book on how humanitarian logistics
is an evolving sector and how it can be further professionalized. The chapter on
the forthcoming platform HumLog@BVL by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath and
Adam Widera (University of Münster) adds to this.
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
An example for a foundation that is active in the eld of humanitarian logistics is
the Kuehne Foundation. The Kuehne Foundation‘s Humanitarian and Emergency
Logistics Projects (H.E.L.P.) contributes to humanitarian logistics by offering, for
instance, training, education and research for the sake of increasing process ef-
fectiveness, efciency and transparency of logistics in humanitarian operations.
This book includes a chapter by Dr. Martin Kessler and Martin Willhaus (Kuehne
Foundation) about activities of the Kuehne foundation that build logistics capacity
at the Horn of Africa. There is also a chapter by Dr. Robert de Souza (The Logistics
Institute Asia Pacic) and Jonas Stumpf (Kuehne Foundation) about expanding
humanitarian logistics capacity in the Asia Pacic Region.
Universities and Other Providers of Training and Education
Nowadays there is a high variety in offerings for training and education in humani-
tarian logistics. BVL International’s Humanitarian Logistics Council has created an
overview of current offerings and an analysis of current gaps, as described exten-
sively in the corresponding chapter by Prof. Dr. Dorit Bölsche (University of Ap-
plied Sciences Fulda). The existing gaps and ways to overcome them are of course
also seen by practitioners from the commercial and humanitarian sectors, such
as Thomas Möllers (SpanSet), who is both a logistics executive in the commercial
sector and a humanitarian since the 1980s as well as an early Council member. His
chapter suggests how to strengthen personnel capacities on the last mile; an area
that the Council has identied to be particularly challenging.
Regarding humanitarian logistics research, universities play a crucial role. The
eld has been subject to research for several years, and nowadays there exists a
multitude of publications from all over the world (Kunz and Reiner 2012). In or-
der to help prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, researchers have to be
aware that they are contributing to a unique eld, one where practical relevance is
arguably most important. The research-related contributions to this book include
the following.
The rst things that usually come to mind when thinking of logistics in hu-
manitarian operations are speed and uncertainty. When a disaster strikes,
humanitarian logisticians are concerned with the rapid delivery of the right
goods, although they might have extremely little knowledge about the sit-
uation in the affected area. What “rapid” actually means in this context is
dened in the chapter by Prof. Dr. Rebecca Walton (Utah State University),
Rebecca Mays and Prof. Dr. Mark Haselkorn (both from the University of
Washington). To address this gap, they explore how logistics stakeholders
in a large international humanitarian organisation experienced and per-
ceived speed of operations.
When talking to practitioners it can often be heard that every disaster is
unique, and this is right. However, it is also correct that there are universal
elements and patterns, which can be anticipated. One key to differentiate
between the two lies in the visualization of humanitarian supply chains. A
clear understanding of supply chains also supports performance measure-
ment, which helps to improve operations. Both are treated in the chapter
by Adam Widera and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath from the University of
Münster, from process analysis to performance measurement in humani-
tarian logistics.
Research about logistics in the humanitarian context is still mostly about
relief (Kunz and Reiner 2012), leaving other relevant areas like long-term
development mostly untouched. In this light, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Baum-
garten and Hendrik Blome from the Berlin University of Technology elabo-
rate on a combined approach of knowledge and technology transfer to
conquer logistical challenges in Africa.
Despite its importance the issue of gender in humanitarian logistics re-
ceives little attention compared to direct operations support. In this con-
text, gender is not only about increasing the number of female logisticians.
It is also about gender sensitivities in needs assessment, purchasing, last
mile distribution, and logistical decision-making overall. In the related
chapter, Pamela Steele (Craneld University) and Prof. Dr. Gyöngyi Kovács
(Hanken School of Economics) give an introduction to the topic and make
propositions how to strengthen gender mainstreaming in humanitarian lo-
In a utopian world, humanitarian aid would become redundant, because
there was no need to save lives and alleviate suffering. Until this goal is
reached, humanitarian supply chains have to consider sustainability within
the triad of ecology, economy and society. The chapter by Prof. Dr. Iris
Hausladen and Alexander Hass from the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of
Management introduces the topic of sustainability in humanitarian logistics
and suggests a suitable framework that integrates relief and long-term
Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
This book has only been made possible thanks to the generous and highly appreci-
ated contributions from Council members and the numerous other authors from
the humanitarian, commercial and academic sectors. Among these are not only
renowned researchers for whom publishing means business as usual. Much more
than that practitioners have invested their valuable time, which led to substantial
results such as the platform HumLog@BVL and the program “Get Seaports Ready
for Disaster”, and to this publication, which effectively puts the Council’s results
into a larger perspective. The occurrence of several disasters during the time that
was planned for writing, such as the conict in Syria and the oods in Germany,
only adds more emphasis to the fact that logistics is recognized by practitioners
to provide a signicant leverage for conquering the challenges currently faced by
the humanitarian community; i.e. the large commitment shown by practitioners
demonstrates how much value they see in actively promoting the topics presented
in this book. The fact that practitioners do so in parallel to fullling their duties
conrms the Council’s decision; it was indeed the right time to approach and pub-
lish for a wider, international audience.
Last but not least our gratitude is directed towards the editorial team that worked
on this publication. Especially when taking into account that English is not the
native language of many authors who contributed to this book, the professional
proof-reading provided by Danielle Norberg and Wasana Thushari Meyer is highly
appreciated. In addition, the formatting has been greatly supported by our col-
leagues Carmen Sicking, Leony Hartmann and Tim Ottensmann from the Chair of
Information Systems and Supply Chain Management at the University of Münster.
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catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2012 A year of extreme
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Working To gether Across Sectors to Improve Humanitarian Logistics
About the Authors
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath studied computer science and
mathematics at the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany).
He led the main department “Business Modelling” and was the
deputy leader for the area “Business Logistics” at the Fraunhofer
Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, Dortmund. Between 2005
and 2008 Prof. Hellingrath represented the subject area of “Plan-
ning and Modelling Production and Logistics Networks” in the de-
partment for Information Systems at the University of Paderborn.
Since 2008 he leads the Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain Manage-
ment at the department for Information Systems at the University of Münster, and
is a director of the European Research Center for Information Systems. From 2010
to 2011 Prof. Hellingrath led the working groups on “Processes” and “Information
and Technology” in BVL International’s Humanitarian Logistics Council, and led the
Council from 2012 to 2013.
Daniel Link studied Supply Chain Management and Logistics at
the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany). After receiving
his Master’s degree he became a research assistant and Ph.D.
candidate at Prof. Hellingrath’s Chair for Information Systems and
Supply Chain Management. Mister Link’s doctoral project focuses
on assessment for humanitarian logistics. He supported Prof. Hell-
ingrath’s activities during both cycles of BVL International’s Hu-
manitarian Logistics Council.
Adam Widera studied political science, philosophy, and political
economy at the University of Münster (Germany). After receiving
his Master of Arts he worked as project coordinator at the Euro-
pean Research Center for Information Systems. He is research
assistant at the Chair for Information Systems and Supply Chain
Management at the University of Münster since 2008. In context
of his doctorate he focuses on modelling and measuring humani-
tarian logistics processes. He has been involved in various projects
in close cooperation with different international humanitarian organisations. He
supported Prof. Hellingrath’s activities during both working cycles of BVL Interna-
tional’s Humanitarian Logistics Council.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to give an up-to-date and structured insight into the most recent literature on humanitarian logistics, and suggest trends for future research based on the gaps identified through structured content analysis. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a quantitative and qualitative content analysis process to analyse the characteristics of the existing literature, identifying the most studied topics in six structural dimensions, and presenting gaps and recommendations for further research. Findings – It was found that existing humanitarian logistics research shows too little interest in continuous humanitarian aid operations, in slow onset disasters and man-made catastrophes. While several papers address different phases of disasters, very few focus particularly on the reconstruction following a disaster. Empirical research is underrepresented in the existing literature as well. Research limitations/implications – While five of the authors’ structural dimensions are inspired by previous reviews, the sixth dimension (situational factors) is derived from a theoretical framework which the authors developed and which has never been tested before. The validity of the study could therefore be increased by testing this framework. Originality/value – The authors analyse the broadest set of papers (174) ever covered in previous literature reviews on humanitarian logistics. A quantitative analysis of the papers was conducted in order to analyse the situational factors which have mostly been studied so far in literature. This paper is also the first in humanitarian logistics to use content analysis as the main methodology to analyse literature in a structured way, which is of particular value to the academic community as well as practitioners. Winner of Outstanding Paper Award 2013
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to present a supply chain process modelling method adapted to the requirements of humanitarian organisations. Design/methodology/approach Empirical research was conducted to identify the state of practice of supply chain management (SCM) in humanitarian organisations. An established procedure was selected, in order to develop a reference task model which forms the basis of the process modelling method. A literature review, expert interviews and other primary sources were used to identify the SCM activities that are required for the reference task model. Findings An empirical survey revealed that process modelling and optimisation are in their infancy at humanitarian organisations. A reference task model identifying over 100 SCM tasks is constructed. The applicability and feasibility of the developed process modelling method is exemplified by means of a case study. Research limitations/implications The reference task model provides the basis for further research on process modelling and optimisation in humanitarian supply chains. Practical implications The process modelling method supports humanitarian organisations in modelling and optimising their supply chain processes. Standardisation of supply chain processes is promoted which can be a key to improving operational effectiveness and efficiency as well as cooperation and coordination in humanitarian operations. Originality/value No rigorous supply chain process modelling technique adapted to the requirements of humanitarian organisations has yet been proposed. Likewise, to date, no comprehensive task model, which enables the construction of supply chain processes for humanitarian organisations, has been developed.
This paper builds on the idea that private sector logistics can and should be applied to improve the performance of disaster logistics but that before embarking on this the private sector needs to understand the core capabilities of humanitarian logistics. With this in mind, the paper walks us through the complexities of managing supply chains in humanitarian settings. It pinpoints the cross learning potential for both the humanitarian and private sectors in emergency relief operations as well as possibilities of getting involved through corporate social responsibility. It also outlines strategies for better preparedness and the need for supply chains to be agile, adaptable and aligned—a core competency of many humanitarian organizations involved in disaster relief and an area which the private sector could draw on to improve their own competitive edge. Finally, the article states the case for closer collaboration between humanitarians, businesses and academics to achieve better and more effective supply chains to respond to the complexities of today's logistics be it the private sector or relieving the lives of those blighted by disaster.Journal of the Operational Research Society (2006) 57, 475–489. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602125 Published online 14 December 2005
Humanitäre Logistik -Herausforderungen und Potenziale der Logistik in der humanitären Hilfe
  • H Baumgarten
  • J Schwarz
  • M Kessler
Baumgarten, H., Schwarz, J. and Kessler, M. (2011). Humanitäre Logistik -Herausforderungen und Potenziale der Logistik in der humanitären Hilfe, DVV Media Group, Hamburg (Germany).
Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2012 -A year of extreme weather events in the US
  • L Bevere
  • T Seiler
  • P Zimmerli
  • H Feyen
Bevere, L., Seiler, T., Zimmerli, P. and Feyen, H. (2013). Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2012 -A year of extreme weather events in the US. (Last accessed 2 nd September 2013).
A memory of Solferino. English version. American Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (Orig. 1862), ICRC
  • H Dunant
Dunant, H. (1986). A memory of Solferino. English version. American Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (Orig. 1862), ICRC, Geneva, 123.