logistics issues: from operations
management to strategic action
stica Solidaria, Lima, Peru and
de la Me
e (Aix-Marseille 2), Marseille, France, and
de la Me
e (Aix-Marseille 2), Marseille, France and
BEM – Bordeaux Management School,
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to underline the advantages offered by applying the collective
strategy model in the context of humanitarian logistics, enriching the existing beneﬁts that operations
management and business logistics techniques have brought to the ﬁeld. In both man-made and
natural disaster relief, humanitarian logistics operations have been hampered by a lack of coordination
between actors, which directly affects performance in terms of reactivity and reliability. Adapted
collective strategies could offer a solution to this problem.
Design/methodology/approach – A literature review deals with the issue of humanitarian
logistics through an operational dimension, followed by a strategic approach. This is rounded out with
a case study dealing with the Pisco earthquake in Peru (August 2007), which is based on a participant
observation methodological approach.
Findings – The research presented in this paper reveals that a collective action approach has a
positive impact on the working of humanitarian supply chains, as long as a “hub” is used to provide
accountability and reliability. If a technical approach, particularly in matters of operations
management (optimization of transportation, location of regional warehouses, etc.) is essential to better
manage humanitarian logistics, it must also be in the service of a collective strategy, notably in the
pre-positioning of supplies and the coordination of relief efforts.
Originality/value – There is an emerging body of work on managing logistical operations in a
humanitarian context, but less on strategic readings of humanitarian supply chains. In addition, the
application of methods from the ﬁeld of business logistics is possible, but too often underestimated.
This work helps to address both gaps.
Keywords Collectivism, Aid agencies, Earthquakes, Operations management, Peru,
Supply chain management
Paper type Research paper
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The authors are grateful to Marisa de Brito (Technische Universiteit Delft), Brian Fynes
(University College Dublin), Peter Tatham (Cranﬁeld University), Erwin van der Laan (Erasmus
University) and two anonymous referees of the Journal of Manufacturing Technology
Management for thoughtful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Many thanks also to
Joshua Kardos for his valuable work in editing the ﬁnal version.
Received September 2009
Revised October 2009
Accepted October 2009
Journal of Manufacturing Technology
Vol. 21 No. 3, 2010
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited