Planning Methodological Framework for Humanitarian Aid System in Colombia

Planning Methodological Framework for Humanitarian Aid System in Colombia

Feizar Javier Rueda-Velasco (Universidad Distrital “Francisco José de Caldas”, Colombia), Karol Moreno-Valbuena (Universidad Católica de Colombia, Colombia) and Leonardo Gonzalez-Rodriguez (Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8160-4.ch012


This chapter proposes a planning methodological framework for humanitarian aid. The proposal combines project management tools and system dynamics to evaluate the effect of different operational strategies on the total system response time. System dynamics allows identifying humanitarian aid sub-systems and the feedback loops between them. The project management approach enables to recognize the response activities in each sub-system, to estimate the response time for each activity and the resources requirements. Also, the system dynamics tools enable the response times simulation under variability conditions. The proposal is tested in a retrospective way on the 1999 “Eje Cafetero” earthquake in Colombia. Additionally, the methodology framework provides a novelty approach to represent humanitarian logistics operations as a project. Finally, the integration of project representation, strategies selection, and system dynamic simulation is not enough studied in the humanitarian logistics field.
Chapter Preview

Methodological Framework For Humanitarian Aid System Approach

Humanitarian Logistics: The Disaster Relief System as a Logistic System

Kalenatic, González, & Arias (2009), define the logistic system as a set of support systems, commonly organized in functional groups. Regardless of whether these systems are part of one or several firms, or are grouped or dispersed geographically. Support systems commonly handle specialized flows, but they share infrastructure.

Thus, this set of support systems, called the logistic system, is in charge of providing the personnel, resources and information that the central system requires to fulfill the organization’s mission. The central system is the one directly responsible for fulfilling the mission of the organization; hence, it is the main client of the logistic system. However, it is necessary that the support systems carry out exchanges of personnel, resources and information, within the logistics system, in order to maintain their viability and support operations (Rueda-Velasco, et al., 2013).

Accordingly, the interactions of support systems are commonly performed internally, however, they also have interactions with their environment locally, regionally and/or globally. These interactions are regulated by the different logistic processes, which can be grouped and organized in a set of stages, in what is known as a logistic cycle (Kalenatic, Méndez, Valbuena, & Rodríguez, 2011).

The logistic cycle includes the minimum steps that a support system must fulfill in order to fulfill its task of support and/or generation of advantage. They include: the determination of needs or requirements, procurement of resources, delivery of resources (Tejada, 2008), maintenance of the asset or resource obtained and reverse logistics (Kalenatic et al., 2009).

As a characteristic of the logistic systems it is also possible to observe that, internally, one of the transversal support systems takes on the role of coordinator. Coordinatiom role means ensuring cohesion as well as regulate and optimize the performance of the system.

In this context (González, Kalenatic, Rueda, & Sarmiento, 2013), based on the concepts of (Thomas, 2005) from the Frizt Institute and from (Van Wassenhove, 2006), the following definition of humanitarian logistics is proposed: The management of the support systems that make up the humanitarian logistic system throughout the logistic cycle considering their internal interactions as well as the political, social and economic environment. Regardless of whether the origin of the disaster is human or natural, or whether it is of slow evolution or sudden onset, focus should be mainly on the exchanges of materials, resources, information, skills and knowledge necessary to support the operations of prevention and relief of vulnerable population and/or population affected by the disasters. In this way a rapid response of the system can be guaranteed, tending to maintain or restore the well-being of the population that is at risk or is affected.

In this conceptual framework, the supply chain is the part of the logistic system in charge of managing the physical, human and information flow to and from the affected area. Thus, while the supply chain concentrates on the flows directly associated with the fulfillment of the mission, the rest of the logistic system is focused on the flows and processes that allow the organization, operation and value generation of the chain of supply.

Like the logistic system of which it is part, the supply chain is organized functionally, and each functional set of the chain is known as a link. As evidenced in the literature each of these links can be made up of one or multiple actors, and be associated with its own or shared infrastructure (Blecken, 2009).

It is important to emphasize that there is not necessarily a correlation between the support systems and the links. While there are support systems that are associated with a particular link, there is also another set of them that are transversal to the chain and thus support more than one link. The same happens with the actors (J Holguín-Veras et al., 2016).

In addition, it can be observed that in a highly variable and complex operating environment as the humanitarian one, a logistic system is commonly associated with multiple socio-technical supply chains (José Holguín-Veras, Jaller, Van Wassenhove, Pérez, & Wachtendorf, 2012) which manage and/or share different flows, directions, infrastructure and actors. Therefore, a coordination strategy is required that minimizes interference, such as problems of convergence (José Holguín-Veras, Jaller, Wassenhove, Pérez, & Wachtendorf, 2014), and thus facilitate the joint achievement of the mission.

These humanitarian supply chains typically consist of three groups of interconnected nodes or links: origin nodes or source nodes, intermediate nodes and destination nodes (Rodríguez, Kalenatic, Velasco, & Bello, 2012)

Origin nodes or source nodes are typically geographically immobile, high-capacity, strategic nodes. The intermediate nodes can be immobile or mobile. In this group maintenance centers, distribution centers, ports, pre-positioning facilities, and mobile hospitals, among others are included. In turn, the destination nodes are made up of the temporary or mobile units located in the affected area or its periphery as well as its service or support units (Kalenatic, Bello, González, & Velasco, 2011).

Associated with these nodes are actors such as public, private, national and international organizations as well as civil and military organizations and the community. These are mainly related through physical flows such as the flows of materials, donations, equipment and financial and information flows connected to the characteristics of the victims and their necessities (Balcik, Beamon, Krejci, Muramatsu, & Ramirez, 2010; Blecken, 2009), In this way supply operations, transportation, storage and distribution (Paho, 2001) are developed. Nor the flows of relief workforce and victims, nor operations associated with reverse logistics, have been explicitly identified in the literature reviewed.

Also, (José Holguín-Veras, Taniguchi, et al., 2014) identifies the local community as part of the humanitarian logistics system. The research identifies a set of social networks in the target nodes, and emphasizes the importance of collaborating with these local social networks, their organization, resources and knowledge to support the micro-distribution and delivery of aid to the victims (José Holguín-Veras, Jaller, & Wachtendorf, 2012).

Finally, it is essential to emphasize that in humanitarian supply chain networks, the flows depend on the stage of the process. Thus, in the immediate response there are large flows of information to the strategic nodes, which activate flows of support personnel and equipment to the affected area. Subsequently outflows of evacuees, wounded and deceased can be observed. As well as incoming flows of medicines, larger equipment (tactical-operational) and basic necessities needed to maintain the operation. Once the operation is completed, reverse flows are observed, related to the dismantling of temporary facilities, and the return of personnel and equipment to strategic positions or nodes (Eßig & Tandler, 2009).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: