Humanitarian Logistics: Advanced Purchasing and Pre-Positioning of Relief Items

  • Serhan DuranEmail author
  • Özlem Ergun
  • Pınar Keskinocak
  • Julie L. Swann
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 181)


Unfortunately, the world has experienced frequent disasters as well as mega-disasters in the last decade. The challenges faced during the relief efforts to those disasters called for improvements in the area of humanitarian logistics. In this chapter, first we present introductory knowledge on disaster management and humanitarian logistics. The complexities and inefficiencies in the current relief response practice are indicated. To improve the disaster response, we investigate the options of advance purchasing and pre-positioning of the relief items through applied projects performed for different humanitarian organizations.


Supply Chain Disaster Management Disaster Response Humanitarian Organization Warehouse Location 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research has been supported in part by the Mary Anne and Harold R. Nash endowment at Georgia Tech.


  1. Akkihal A (2006) Inventory pre-positioning for humanitarian operations. Master’s thesis, MITGoogle Scholar
  2. Altay N, Green W (2006) OR/MS research in disaster operations management. Eur J Oper Res 175(1):475–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Apte A (2009) Humanitarian logistics: a new field of research and action. Found Trends Technol Inf Oper Manag 3(1):1–100Google Scholar
  4. Balcik B, Beamon B (2008) Facility location in humanitarian relief. Int J Logis: Res Appl 11(2):101–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balcik B, Beamon B, Krejci CC, Muramatsu KM, Ramirez M (2010) Coordination in humanitarian relief chains: practice, challenges and opportunities. Int J Prod Econ 126:22–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cluster Approach (2011) Humanitarian reform and the global cluster approach. Retrieved 14 Febr 2011
  7. Dekle J, Lavieri M, Martin E, Emir-Farinas H, Francis R (2005) A Florida county locates disaster recovery centers. Interfaces 35(2):133–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duran S, Gutierrez MA, Keskinocak P (2011) Pre-positioning of emergency items worldwide for CARE international. Interfaces 41(3): 223–237Google Scholar
  9. EM-DAT (2010) Centre for research on the epidemiology of disasters: the international disaster database.
  10. Ergun O, Karakus G, Keskinocak P, Swann J, Villarreal M (2011) Operations research to improve disaster supply chain management. In: Cochran J (ed) Wiley encyclopedia of operations research and management science. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Ergun O, Stamm J, Keskinocak P, Swann J (2010) Waffle house restaurants hurricane response: a case study. Int J Prod Econ 126:111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ertem MA, Buyurgan N, Rossetti M (2010) Multi-buyer procurement auctions framework for humanitarian supply chain management. Int J Phys Distrib Logis Manag 40(3):202–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Esterl M, McKay B (2010) Rescuers strain to get safe water to thirsty. Wall Street J (16 Jan 2010)Google Scholar
  14. IFRC (2000) International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies disaster preparedness training manual. Retrieved 25 Febr 2008
  15. Kaatrud D, Samii R, Van Wassenhove L (2003) UN joint logistics centre: a coordinated response to common humanitarian logistics concerns. Forced Mig Rev 18:11–14Google Scholar
  16. Kovacs G, Tatham P (2009) Responding to distruptions in the supply network—from dormant to action. J Bus Logis 30(2):215–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Larson R, Metzger M, Cahn M (2006) Responding to emergencies: lessons learned and the need for analysis. Interfaces 36(6):486–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rawls CG, Turnquist MA (2010) Pre-positioning of emergency supplies for disaster response. Transp Res Part B 44:521–534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Russell T (2005) The humanitarian relief supply chain: analysis of the 2004 south east asia earthquake and tsunami. Master’s thesis, MITGoogle Scholar
  20. Salmeron J, Apte A (2010) Stochastic optimization for natural disaster asset prepositioning. Prod Oper Manag 19(5):561–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sowinski L (2003) The lean, mean supply chain and its human counterpart. World Trade 16(6):18Google Scholar
  22. Thomas A (2004) Humanitarian logistics: enabling disaster response. Retrieved 16 Aug 2010
  23. Thomas A, Fritz L (2006) Disaster relief, inc. Harv Bus Rev 84(11):114–122Google Scholar
  24. Thomas A, Mizushima M (2005) Fritz institute: logistics training: necessity or luxury? Forced Mig Rev 22:60–61Google Scholar
  25. Tomasini R, Van Wassenhove L (2004) Genetically modified food donations and the cost of neutrality. Logistics response to the 2002 Southern Africa food crisis. INSEAD Case 03/2004-5169Google Scholar
  26. Van Wassenhove LN (2006) Blackett memorial lecture—humanitarian aid logistics: supply chain management in high gear. J Oper Res Soc 57(5):475–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Villarreal M, Drake M, Ergun O, Karakus G, Kerl P, Keskinocak P, Swann J (2010) A leading home improvement retailer’s commitment to disaster response. Case Study, Georgia Institute of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  28. Wade J, Aviles S, Bah E, Ergun O, Jimenez M, Li L, Morales A, Swann J (2010) Global humanitarian supply chain improvements for the world food programme. Working Paper, H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of TechnologyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serhan Duran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Özlem Ergun
    • 2
  • Pınar Keskinocak
    • 2
  • Julie L. Swann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations