Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Human Component in Humanitarian Supply Chains and Haiti

As the humanitarian operations in Haiti post its devastating earthquake are evolving in time, it is essential to recognize the human element in the critical needs supply chains. As we read and watch the events unfold, we, as researchers, educators, and practitioners, need to recognize the pivotal role that humans are playing in the dissemination of the food, clean water, medicines, and services.

The essential supplies are being delivered through a combination of organizations from the UN, the various humanitarian NGOs, as well as the military from the US, with the US and numerous countries from around the globe airlifting the essentials. Ultimately, it is humans helping humans, through the creation of real-time, agile, and adaptive supply chains, for product and service distribution. It is people, working together, who are physically constructing and becoming parts of the chains to ferry and ferret supplies to the Haitians, whether from the trucks, or the helicopters, or the boats, or from the hospitals that have been set up. The other networks from financial ones to information ones are further supporting the humanitarian efforts and helping to reinforce the fragile supernetwork for recovery.

All those who are physically lending a hand, from the medical professionals, to the logisticians, to the engineers, and the governmental units, deserve our support and deepest thanks.