Bringing Order Out Of Disorder: Exploring Complexity in Relief Supply Chains

Oloruntoba, Richard (2007) Bringing Order Out Of Disorder: Exploring Complexity in Relief Supply Chains. In Laptaned, U. (Ed.) 2nd International Conference on Operations and Supply Chain Management: Regional and Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 18-20 May 2007, Bangkok, Thailand.

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In today's world, complexity and uncertainty are the only given factors in the management of global supply chains. International relief chains are influenced by complexity arising from fluctuating demand information and flows, donor funding processes, as well as the challenges of mobilising logistics assets on a global scale and the geographical terrain of the humanitarian theatre. Environmental and supply complexity and uncertainty can have a significant operational and financial impact on both business firms and international relief chains. Therefore, an understanding of the nature and causes of complexity in supply and relief chains is critical to effective supply chain management. This exploratory paper highlights the characteristics of the relief chain, discusses the nature and causes of complexity in both commercial and relief chains, and suggests ways to managing complexity, specifically in relief chains. Attempting to manage complexity in humanitarian supply chains in an unsystematic, piecemeal, and non-strategic manner can result in sub-optimal outcomes, waste of resources, and loss of lives. The proposed strategies can help logistics and supply managers in humanitarian organisations to balance logistics/operational effectiveness and cost-efficiency, as well as provide the optimal level of 'service' to all the supply chain members through the identification of strategies for understanding and simplifying supply chain complexity. The contribution of the paper is an inter-disciplinary solution to an important supply chain issue through the incorporation of recommendations from research in various disciplines. The proposed strategies contribute to the relief chains’ ability to promptly deliver relief to disaster sites and the saving of lives.

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ID Code: 15514
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
ISBN: 9789746776370
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > International Business (150308)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 05:46

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