OR Networks

Thursday 25.11. at 11:40-12:55
Chair: Nico Vandaele, KU Leuven, Research Center of Operations Management, Belgium

A Humanitarian Transformation of (Logistic) Firms under Emergency Situations

Ali Kazeminia, Freie Universiät Berlin, Germany

Humanitarian transformation
Emergency Situations
Logistic firms

Probably one of the most important streams of humanitarian and voluntary logistics activities at an extreme relates to the role of
those firms devoting their resources (specifically transportation resources) in saving the lives of people who are in emergency
situations. Among these organizations, for instance, one could address SOS Mediterranee (“European Association for Rescue of
Life in the Mediterranean Sea”), Captain Klaus Vogel and his team who took a very heroic action in devoting his ship to temporally save the lives of thousands of people (refugees) from being drown in the Mediterranean Sea1 under the condition of emergency. Another very recent case relates to very recent hurricanes (e.g. IRMA as natural disasters) in the US and those who had to leave their houses to pass the hurricane. For instance, several airlines in the U.S. offered free of charge seats/shifts in their planes to all residents who could be affected by Hurricane IRMA to safely move from the Hurricane location to other places for passing the condition of emergency. Conducting a case study analysis, this study offers several directing results on how the purpose of businesses, with regard to both long-term or short-term views, can affect the nature of business transformation in terms of being (temporal/permanent) or the kind of these transformations (high or low set-up costs). This includes discussions on the nature of businesses as born-emergency versus transformed-into-emergency. This study also discusses discount or limited free services as a form of humanitarian payment (reduced fees) under a condition of emergency. This is discussed under emergency situations the cash utilization methods by survivors become limited: As the only utilization is survival and one example could be escaping from a dangerous situation.

Donor influence on procurement and resilience in humanitarian supply chains

Emmanuel Sawyerr, Cranfield University, United Kingdom

Supply Chain Resilience
Humanitarian Supply Chain Management

A distinctive feature of humanitarian supply chains (HSC) is the multiplicity of actors whereby each of them have their own
motivations – some of which may even be contrasting. Humanitarian organisations (HO) mostly rely on donor support to carry
out their operations – including procurement. This allows donors substantial influence to exert on HO. Considering that
procurement represents about 65% of humanitarian expenditure, the role of procurement decisions in their operations and the
impact of these on resilience cannot be understated, especially as suppliers could become significant sources of disruptions.
Notwithstanding, there is limited research into how donor influence impacts procurement decisions and the resilience of HSC. To address this gap, the research collects qualitative data through semi-structured interviews and document analysis from 8 UKbased humanitarian organisations.

Findings show that donor influence on procurement decisions in humanitarian organisations positively influences multiple
formative elements including risk avoidance, sustainability, decision making and culture. It however inhibits flexibility and agility.
In terms of procurement, donor influence may be seen in terms of accountability to donors, restriction on fund usage, their
modified or lack of interest and impact on or override of existing organisational policies or procedures. This research makes
theoretical and practical contributions by providing an in-depth understanding of the role of donors and their impact on
procurement decision making and their impact on resilience. This thereby provides an opportunity for decision makers to better
understand the impact of donors, especially on their resilience and to mitigate associated vulnerabilities.

A systems framework for international development: the data-layered causal loop diagram

Courtney Blair, Oxford University, United Kingdom
Erica Gralla, George Washington University, United States
Finley Wetmore, George Washington University, United States
Jarrod Goentze,l Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Megan Peters, George Washington University, United States

International development
System dynamics

Meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require adapting or redirecting a variety of very complex
global and local human systems. It is essential that development scholars and practitioners have tools to understand the dynamics of these systems and the key drivers of their behavior, such as barriers to progress and leverage points for driving sustainable change. System dynamics tools are well-suited to address this challenge, but they must first be adapted for the data-poor and fragmented environment of development work. Our key contribution is to extend the causal loop diagram (CLD) with a data layer that describes the status of and change in each variable based on available data. By testing dynamic hypotheses against the system’s actual behavior, it enables analysis of a system’s dynamics and behavioral drivers without simulation. The data-layered CLD was developed through a four-year engagement with USAID/Uganda. Its contributions are illustrated through an application to agricultural financing in Uganda. Our analysis identified a lack of demand for agricultural loans as a major barrier to broadening agricultural financing, partially refuting an existing hypothesis that access to credit was the main constraint. Our work extends system dynamics theory to meet the challenges of this practice environment, enabling analysis of the complex dynamics that are crucial to achieving the SDGs.

Challenges of circular economy practice in humanitarian supply chains

Hossein Baharmand, School of Business and Law, University of Agder, Norway
Hamed Seddighi, Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen,
Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Humanitarian supply chain
Circular economy
Case study

In the humanitarian sector, donors and other stakeholders have recently started to explore approaches for delivering greener relief products when possible. Since SCs in many sectors are turning to circular from linear models, we think that the circular HSC model will ultimately become a necessity in the humanitarian sector in future. Products manufacturers are looking for ways to improve their products lifespan and the ease with which they can repair, recover, and reuse goods. However, very few of greening practices in the humanitarian sector have been documented so far. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, literature concerning circular HSC does not exist. There is a clear need for research that can support designing and implementing circular HSC models. The purpose of our research is to explore challenges of humanitarian organizations in designing circular HSC. More specifically, our research explores the following research question: What are the challenges that hinder humanitarian organizations to deliver more environmental-friendly products in their shift to a circular HSC model?