Posts Tagged With: Humanitarian aid

Supply Chain in Humanitarian Relief

In humanitarian organizations, the terms supply chain is basically used to describe the process of getting relief items from the source to the beneficiaries in a timely manner. The source could be suppliers as well as donors. And in some organizations, they used the terms supply chain and logistics both together to describe above mentioned process. Usually logistics also used to describe the function or division who is responsible for managing the process.

Basically, the nature of supply chain and logistics in business or commercial are essentially the same with humanitarian supply chain and logistics, the following are the significant differences:

  • Unpredictable demand in terms of timing, geographic location, type of commodity, quantity of commodity.
  • Short lead time and suddenness of demand for large amounts of a wide variety of products and services.
  • High humanitarian stakes regarding timelines in the face of sophisticated global media and the high anticipatory attention of the donors.
  • Lack of initial resources in terms of supply, human resource, technology, capacity and funding. (Source: Balcik and Beamon, 2008)

 

SCM2The main components of the humanitarian supply chain are:

  • Procurement
  • Transport
  • Warehousing and inventory

 

Procurement

Procurement is a key activity in the supply chain. The procurement involves the sourcing, purchasing and covers all activities from identifying potential suppliers of relief items and services that are needed to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. There are three important principles of humanitarian procurement:

  • Transparency: all phases in the procurement process are fair and accurately documented.
  • Accountability: accountability to donors who may require certain rules to be followed when using the fund/money that they have provided.
  • Efficiency and cost effectiveness: meeting the six rights of supply: right price, right time, right quantity, right quality, delivery to the required places and from the most cost effective source.

The procurement function must guard and mitigate against risk, understand the market, build a trust relationship with suppliers, meet the needs in a timely manner, and constantly monitor performance to improve service provision.

Transport

In the humanitarian context, transport can be defined as the physical movement of relief items/goods from suppliers or point of origin to internal customers (in this case mainly is warehouse of humanitarian organization)  or directly to the beneficiaries. The transport component in the supply chain therefore is critical in connecting supply to demand. The aim of transport in humanitarian context is to physically move the relief items/goods in a reliable and safe manner, on time, cost effectively and efficiently to its destination.

Transport mode will depend on several factors including:

  • The type and volume of items/goods to be transported.
  • The urgency that items/goods are required.
  • The availability of different transport routes as well as different types of transport.
  • The destination to which the items/goods to be transported.
  • The cost of transportation.
  • The terrain through which the items/goods need to be transported.

Warehousing and Inventory

The third main component is warehousing and inventory. Recently, some of the experts said that in the perfect supply chain we do not need warehouses in order to reduce costs. In the humanitarian context, clearly there are reasons why items/goods have to be stored and why we need warehouses. In the humanitarian supply chain, there are types of responsibility to manage warehouses, e.g. supplier warehouses, donor warehouses, humanitarian organizations warehouses.

Types of warehouse space:

  • Commercial
  • Government
  • Transit warehouse
  • Bonded warehouses
  • Open storage
  • Pre-fabricated warehouses – non permanent structure

The role of inventory management in humanitarian context is to ensure that stock is available to meet the needs of beneficiaries when required.

 

In addition to those three main components, there are several subsidiary activities in the humanitarian supply chain, e.g. assessment and planning, fleet management, customs etc.

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Categories: Supply Chain Management (eng) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coordination is Essential for Emergency Response

Coordination

During the emergency/disaster response, we often hear the word coordination, coordinate, and the like. It is easy to say coordination and coordination, but in reality very difficult to run and achieve it. For example, during the emergency response of floods in Jakarta in early 2013, we noticed that a lot of turmoil distributions of basic necessities due to lack of coordination between the authorities, relief parties/donors and communities affected by the disaster. We saw from mass media, affected people at the evacuation centers complained that they have not received any aid, but on the other hand we also saw that a lot of aid has been given. The questions then where the given aid and why many affected people still complained not get it? Apparently at the time, a lot of aid have only been stored at posko and has not been given to the affected people due to lack of coordination!

Shortly after disaster struck, many people, individually, organizations and government agencies immediately plunged into the location and provide humanitarian assistance. All parties came with their own interests so often competing priorities occurred. It can be seen from the lack of services and support provided to the affected people/communities, one example as mentioned above. Another example is duplication of effort so it can create inappropriate assistance. I have experience the same situation when I was participating in the emergency response in one area sometime ago. At the time, almost all parties/donors sent food aid, until finally the affected people refused to accept any food aid. Actually what urgently required at the time is basic medicines and medical assistance, but due to lack of coordination in the management of information, therefore the aid as per requirement came very late.

Definition of coordination based on free dictionary artikata.com is regarding the set of an organization or activity to ensure that rules and actions to be implemented are not contradictory or confusing or we can say coordination is the regulation of diverse elements into an integrated and harmonious operation. Some synonyms for coordination are harmonization, alignment, organization, and synchronization.

From the above definitions and synonyms, we could see that coordination does not occur within the short time. Coordination should be done well long before the disaster. Coordination of emergency response must be made by all stakeholders from government, private sectors, other relevant organizations and communities itself.

In general, to be able to make a good coordination system, there are several things should be considered, namely:

  1. Participatory of all stakeholders involved in the emergency situation. The tasks of coordination within a structure and process agreed and supported by all of stakeholders. A person or an agency or organization designated as the coordinator should be able to build a good atmosphere and mutual respect among all stakeholders.
  2. Impartial. Coordination should aim to provide assistance in accordance with the requirements irrespective of ethnicity/race, religion, political choices/affiliate, gender or age. Attention should be given to the vulnerable groups, children, the elderly, the disabled and pregnant women. Coordination should not be made to favor one agency or organization over another.
  3. Coordination should be done in transparent way. Coordination requires trust from all of stakeholders. Every decision making process and the provision of information should be done in a transparent and honest, even in cases of failure remains to be informed and not be covered up to a certain interest.
  4. Should be beneficial to the affected communities and other stakeholders.

One of the first steps that could be done in order to have a good coordination in the emergency response is mapping the capacities of all stakeholders. This needs to be done in order to be able to identify and facilitate the process of involvement of each party at the time of emergency. In essence, this mapping noted:

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. When
  4. Where
  5. Why
  6. How

From the mapping, then we can see the capacity of the different stakeholders so that the division of tasks for emergency responses can be coordinated.

Categories: Disaster Management | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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