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The Yogyakarta earthquake: humanitarian relief through IFRC's decentralized supply chain

Author: Gatignon, Aline ; Van Wassenhove, Luk N. ; Charles, AurelieINSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementIn: International Journal of Production Economics, vol. 126, no. 1, July 2010 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 102-110.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: Humanitarian operations rely heavily on logistics in uncertain, risky, and urgent contexts, making them a very different field of application for supply chain management principles than that of traditional businesses. We illustrate how optimal supply chains can be designed and implemented within this sector via a study of the process through which the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) decentralized its supply chain. We examine how the process was implemented through a 10-year retrospective of the organization's evolution. We then evaluate the decentralized supply chain's performancei n responding to humanitarian crises through an analysis of the IFRC's operations during the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006. This was the first operation to benefit from the support of Regional Logistics Units (RLUs), the core element of the IFRC's new decentralized supply chain for disaster relief. Our analysis demonstrates the benefits of the decentralized model in humanitarian operations. We find that its implementation requires an alignment between organizational readiness and the adoption of fundamental logistics components, namely standardized tools and processes, traceability through adapted information systems, and appropriate competencies within the organization
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Humanitarian operations rely heavily on logistics in uncertain, risky, and urgent contexts, making them a very different field of application for supply chain management principles than that of traditional businesses. We illustrate how optimal supply chains can be designed and implemented within this sector via a study of the process through which the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) decentralized its supply chain. We examine how the process was implemented through a 10-year retrospective of the organization's evolution. We then evaluate the decentralized supply chain's performancei n responding to humanitarian crises through an analysis of the IFRC's operations during the Yogyakarta earthquake in 2006. This was the first operation to benefit from the support of Regional Logistics Units (RLUs), the core element of the IFRC's new decentralized supply chain for disaster relief. Our analysis demonstrates the benefits of the decentralized model in humanitarian operations. We find that its implementation requires an alignment between organizational readiness and the adoption of fundamental logistics components, namely standardized tools and processes, traceability through adapted information systems, and appropriate competencies within the organization

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