How Best to Dole Out Supplies in Wake of Humanitarian Crisis

According to UNICEF, hunger affects approximately 20 million children around the globe. During a humanitarian crisis, such as child hunger, the focus is on making sure people receive the necessary supplies they need. It’s critical that organizations, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization, have inventory on hand available at a moment’s notice but it’s also imperative that those agencies acquire and deliver goods efficiently and effectively.

A new study published in Production and Operations Management (POM), enables humanitarian organizations to determine the optimal amount of budget to be earmarked for local country offices, as well as for emergency response. It also determines the corresponding inventory of goods both in local country offices and in a central hub, so when there is a need, the organizations can provide more rapid and efficient responses to developing humanitarian crises.

“Humanitarian organizations need to develop efficient budgeting, procurement and logistical plans for inventory planning for its local country offices,” said Burak Kazaz, Steven R. Becker Professor of Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University‘s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “But they also need to reserve some funds for rapid response and emergency shipments.”

The research, co-authored with John Park ’12 Ph.D. (Pepperdine University) and Scott Webster (Arizona State University), was the recipient of the best paper award from the 2016 POM Society’s College of Humanitarian Operations and Crisis Management.