The Issues Facing Modern Humanitarian Supply Chain Logistics

Global warming is not making the lives of rescue workers any easier, as severe weather seems to strike at increasing rates around the world. Amelia Axelsen writes an expansive essay on what must be done to strengthen humanitarian supply chain logistics to cut down the approximate 150,000 deaths and 200 million people impaired by natural disasters and humanitarian crises yearly. Aspects of continuous replenishment, lean, agile, and fully flexible supply chains are all incorporated into human logistics, though fully flexible is the one most closely associated. She notes that poor use of metrics, lack of standardized training, and insufficient funding are all reasons that humanitarian logistics suffers, unlike commercial logistics, which does not suffer such problems. Axelsen says that humanitarian logistics must look to the examples provided by commercial logistics and adapt them as well as possible, all the while keeping in mind of course that humanitarian supply chain is much more complicated with its unpredictable variables. Commercial logistics are only a starting point by which humanitarian logistics can develop. Good research will have to take it the rest of the way.

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