Disaster Response Planning in the Private Sector and the Role of Operations Research

  • Özlem Ergun
  • Gonca Karakus
  • Paul Kerl
  • Pinar Keskinocak
  • Julie L. Swann
  • Monica Villarreal
  • Matthew J. Drake
Chapter
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 183)

Abstract

Organizations in the private sector such as The Home Depot (THD), Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Waffle House have become actively involved in the disaster response operations in their communities. With the objective of becoming effective first responders, these companies have integrated a disaster response planning process to their business operations. We introduce the disaster response planning process implemented by THD after their experience with Hurricane Andrew. We describe in detail the components of this process, each of which requires different decisions to be made at different levels of the organization. We discuss how operations research methodologies could be used to assist decision makers in the disaster response setting, and we propose an optimization model for each of two of the decisions commonly found in a disaster response planning process: advance purchasing and inventory allocation. In addition to these exact methods, we suggest a scenario-based approach, which is more intuitive and allows to incorporate objectives that are harder to model, such as the relative value of the supplies.

Keywords

Transportation Sponge Dispatch Broom 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge The Home Depot personnel for sharing generously their time, experience, and process documentation for writing of the case on which this chapter is based. Support for this work was provided by the Georgia Institute of Technology Focused Research Program on Humanitarian Response, the Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Endowment, and National Science Foundation Grant SBE-0624269. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Özlem Ergun
    • 1
  • Gonca Karakus
    • 1
  • Paul Kerl
    • 1
  • Pinar Keskinocak
    • 1
  • Julie L. Swann
    • 1
  • Monica Villarreal
    • 1
  • Matthew J. Drake
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Industrial and Systems EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Palumbo and Donahue Schools of BusinessDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA

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