Understanding the Complexity of Emergency Supply Chains


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While conventional commercial supply chains may be complicated, emergency supply chains are inherently complex. By responding to an emergency, they lack a developed forecast, primarily use manual requisitioning systems and do not possess sophisticated means to sense and respond to the emerging demand. Multiple stakeholders come together, many for the first time, to execute “on the fly.” Their success is mostly defined by effectiveness, either in preserving combat capability or providing relief; the primary focus becomes getting the job accomplished “at all costs.” As a result, supply chain efficiency is an afterthought, and optimization is difficult, if not undesired. Finally, due to their infrequent nature, less has been written and studied in the area of emergency supply chains, increasing the risk that those practitioners supporting the next emergency operation will encounter the same difficulties. It is for these reasons Understanding the Complexity of Emergency Supply Chains seeks to complete the education of both practitioners and academics across multiple domains and disciplines. It contributes to military and nongovernmental operators, logisticians and organizations’ understanding of emergency supply chain strengths and vulnerabilities. Similarly, emergency management professionals will gain a sense of how supply chain accomplishes or constrains the emergency management process. Moreover, students and other supply chain professionals seeking a deeper understanding of supply chains will benefit from Understanding the Complexity of Emergency Supply Chains, as it explores circumstances that run contrary to supply chain theory and thus reinforces a solid grasp on supply chain fundamentals.

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About the Author(s)

Matthew Shatzkin

Matt Shatzkin holds a Ph.D. in Transportation and Logistics from North Dakota State University. He is an active duty Army Colonel with 24 years as a logistician. Three times in his career he has deplo…

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Pub Date

April 27, 2017





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