The Maturity of Humanitarian Logistics against Recurrent Crises
2. Literature Review
Constructing a Maturity Capability Model for Humanitarian Logistics Facing Recurrent Crisis
3. Methodological Framework
- Aim of the case study: The aim of the case study is to characterize and comment on the elements that define the capability maturity of humanitarian logistics systems. Taking into account this aim, the main issue of the case study is not to tell a “success story” or to retrieve information via storytelling, but to define, in a unified and transferable way, a set of criteria that define maturity on a set of cases then proposing to generalize them.
- Nature, methodological path, and type of case study: From the aim and the literature review section, it appears that the case study proposed here cannot be either purely inductive (Eisenhardt 1989) nor purely deductive (Bitektine 2008). Indeed, to identify the composition of a maturity model, a comparative literature review and a first proposal of a model is made on deductive logic (so pure induction is not possible after that), and the conclusion of that first analysis is that humanitarian logistics systems need to consider their specificities when defining maturity, so pure deduction is neither suitable. For that reason, an abductive case study1 is proposed, starting by the pre-selection of categories to examine (as presented and explained in Section 2) then a semi-directed data collection based on field feedback is carried out to identify such elements without having a very restrictive canvas to ensure local induction processes. Moreover, dealing with humanitarian logistics (Vega 2018), case studies cannot be made only on secondary information nor on pure observation/afterward interviews: It is necessary (since that is the nature of humanitarian logistics) to be in first person during the crisis to retrieve essential information about the particularities of the field (Holguín-Veras et al. 2012). To ensure a high degree of objectivity, the case study will not be a pure action-research one, but will need observation during the crisis response period, which implies that, in some cases, the researchers stop temporarily observation to contribute to helping the population (Osorio-Ramirez 2017), but this double experience (observation and action) leads to a better understanding of the case.
- Number and selection criteria of the case study/studies: The maturity definition assessment needs to be made not on one but on various cases, from real situations, since the resulting model needs to allow its evolution into a prescriptive (quantitative evaluation) and a comparative tool (to compare different situations). Moreover, and since it was needed to deploy observations during a crisis, the main selection criterion of the cases was that of having a crisis of observable magnitude during the study period (2015–2017). A second criterion, to ensure homogeneity, was that the region and the type of crisis were similar and then considered as being of the same type. Pre-andine regions (mainly Peru and Colombia) were selected for proximity reasons, since most researchers are located either within or close to those areas. Moreover, since the most recurrent crises in the pre-andine regions are of flood nature, and the causes of them are homogeneous within the region, floods were selected as the type of crises to be observed. During the period, five crises were observed as potentially interesting, three in Colombia and two in Peru (including observation campaigns), but only in three of them was it possible to obtain both field observations and a relevant number of interviews: Two in Colombia (Salgar and Arauca) in 2015 and a flood in Peru (Chosica, Lima) in 2017. Those three cases were finally selected.
- Data collection methods: To catch the needed information and allow both deduction and induction (which is necessary to deploy a synergic abductive approach), a mixed data collection method is proposed. Starting by a documentary analysis of reports, laws, and documents established to prepare the crisis, newspapers and other media information concerning the deployment of response to the crisis, and other technical documents of the involved stakeholders, a set of stakeholders located at each crisis place were defined and an observation protocol was established. That protocol defined 3–5 days of observation in which 1 to 3 researchers travelled to the crisis locations and followed the operations at different points and for different stakeholders, sometimes having to contribute to the relief operations. At each visit, a set of interviews on key stakeholders to be interviewed face-to-face was defined (based on the protocol of Gonzalez-Feliu and Morana 2010). Interviews were of non-directive nature but followed an aim of humanitarian supply chain characterization (processes, practices, stakeholders, and physical/information flows) from the conceptual model of Balcik et al. (2009). The details on the data collection phase are presented below.
- Epistemological issues: The case study is inductive and is based on a mixed analytical–interpretative research. Indeed, pure qualitative methods are used, but are not the only ones: Analytical, text analysis, and problem structuring methods are used to retrieve information and complete the maturity definition criteria. The case study proposed here is then not a pure storytelling issue (as in (Gammelgaard 2017)) but a categorization/classification one (Gonzalez-Feliu and Morana 2010). Moreover, the information is retrieved in a socio-constructive way, as in Morana and Gonzalez-Feliu (2015). Indeed, collaboration among stakeholders but also researchers was needed to produce the required information and process it to deal with this research’s goals.
- Phase 1: Context, background, and first maturity model definition;
- Phase 2: Case study data production and preparation of selected cases;
- Phase 3: Case redaction, synthesis, and analysis of joint information;
- Phase 4: Definition of the final maturity model for humanitarian logistics systems, discussion, and generalization of case results.
3.1. Phase 1: Context, Background, and First Maturity Model Definition
- Tools, mainly related to information systems and traceability (Gonzalez-Feliu and Morana 2011).
- Logistics processes and tasks, mainly related to sourcing and distribution (Balcik et al. 2009; Lauras 2018). We distinguish the following main processes in humanitarian logistics systems:
- Suppliers choice;
- Donators management;
- Distribution network design;
- Material convergence platform management (in pre-crises);
- Material convergence management (in emergency situations);
- Product assignment to beneficiaries;
- Final distribution management;
- Local distribution network design (during emergency);
- Distribution network for return to normality;
- Logistics chain re-configuration.
- Supporting processes and tasks (Gonzalez-Feliu and Morana 2011; Osorio-Ramirez 2017), in an analogous way than logistics process and tasks:
- Preparation and education;
- Coordination actions;
- Information and communication flows and processes.
3.2. Phase 2: Case Study Data Production and Preparation of Selected Cases
- Legislative and administrative documents (National government, Regional/local governance instances) regarding emergency planning and preparedness.
- Technical reports and documents from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and state and local Government and Administration Entities of operational nature.
- Syntheses of press releases and news concerning the events and the main reaction issues.
- Academic works on previous related events (at national level), mainly in national languages (Spanish) and of grey nature (Master Thesis, University reports).
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Brief Presentation of the Case Studies
4.1.1. Mudslide—Salgar, Antioquia (Colombia)
- The previous night, DAPARD had issued an orange alert (high probability of rain in the area). The villagers communicated with each other by phone calls. DAPARD was present as soon as the emergency was notified and managed the resources and personnel for humanitarian assistance. The first to arrive were Civil Defense, The Red Cross, the firemen, and the National Police. Water services were suspended and a water tanker from a neighboring municipality was available. The next day there were already 25 tanker trucks while the energy and gas services were gradually restored.
- The delivery of humanitarian aid began towards the end of the first day and when it finished over 10% of water. Initially, the people who made the donations in the municipality made the distribution. Then, with the support of a local social organization, the donations were stored and distributed in the coliseum of the municipality with the support of seven volunteers who did not have any prior knowledge of inventory management, but were in charge of the reception, classification, control, and delivery of the donations. In addition, three volunteers were assigned to carry out the census of the affected population.
- During the first two days after the disaster, there was great influx to receive humanitarian aid. The volunteers identified a problem because the delivery of the aid was made without prior verification that the person was injured, which caused unscrupulous people to benefit. By the second day after the mudslide, 212 humanitarian aid kits had been delivered by DAPARD and UNGRD. Likewise, it was identified that between 30% and 40% of the clothes received were in poor condition and were not suitable for donation. In addition, low-priority donations did not exceed 10% of the donations received. By the third day, 332 kits had already been delivered. However, the exact number of victims who were benefited with kits delivered in the municipality had not been identified.
4.1.2. River Overflow—Arauca Region (Colombia)
- Thanks to early warnings, the municipal council of risk management warned the city of Arauca of heavy rains, through local radios. These alerts immediately activated the crisis room of the municipal council of risk management in Saravena and on the second day of the river increasing levels, the mayor reported the declaration of public calamity.
- The humanitarian aid and donations were arriving and consolidating in its majority in Arauquita, for being a municipality equidistant to the affected areas and with access by land. Although there was support for the handling and distribution of aid, the volume of donations was not significant enough to affirm that there was a problem of convergence of materials in relation to the storage and handling capacity of the aids. As a result, the UNGRD aid kits arrived directly at the affected municipalities. In Saravena, a storage area for kits and donations was available, which was administered by UNGRD. They used the same truck for transportation and storage.
- The participation of the community and the NGOs facilitated the administration of the aid. By 1 June, UNGRD had delivered food kits, 1000 toilet kits, and 3000 mosquito nets and hoses in the municipalities of Saravena and Arauquita. However, some families located in areas of difficult access had not been counted for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
4.1.3. Flood—Chosica, Lima, Peru
4.2. Synthesis and Construction of the Maturity Model
Maturity Model Elements Definition and Discussion
Conflicts of Interest
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|Level||Characteristics||Key Elements to Consider|
|Continuous improving policies linked to quantitative evaluation|
|The entire organization is sensible to continuous improvement|
Sustained/Deployed/Managed/Measured and Qualified
|Processes are understandable and measurable|
|Processes are unified and improvements (gaps) are measurable|
|The system’s performance is reproducible if the processes are the same|
Getting Started/Awareness Stage/Initial Level
|Few sub-processes defined|
|The system’s performance is specific to context and not reproducible|
|S2||Regional manager||NGO||May 2015|
|S3||Technical employee||Municipality of Salgar||May 2015|
|S4||Technical employee||National Unit of Disaster Management (UNGRD)||May 2015|
|S5||Supervisor||Regional Disaster Prevention and Management (DAPARD)||May 2015|
|S6||Technical employee||Regional Disaster Prevention and Management (DAPARD)||May 2015|
|S7||Head of service||Civil Defense||May 2015|
|A3||Technical employee||Municipality of Arauquita||June 2015|
|A4||Political leader||Community of Saravena||June 2015|
|A6||Political leader||Community of Arauquita||June 2015|
|Chosica||C1||Technical employee||Municipality of Lima||March 2017|
|C2||Head of logistics||National transport company||March 2017|
|C3||Manager||Local transport company||March 2017|
|C4||Local retailer||Community of Chosica||March 2017|
|C5||Employee||Local security unit—Chosica||April 2017|
|C6||Member||Civil Defense—Chosica||April 2017|
|C7||Head of logistics||National transport company||June 2017|
|C8||Project manager||National Federation of Engineers||June 2017|
|C9||CEO||Logistics consulting company||June 2017|
|Phases of the Crisis||Logistics Processes and Tasks|
|Response||Donators’ management: Selection of pertinent goods and management of donators’ uncertainty.|
|Material convergence management (in emergency situations): Management policies and processes at execution level (real time)|
|Product assignment to beneficiaries: Real-time assignment and re-assignment policies and processes|
|Final distribution management|
|Local distribution network design and management (during emergency)|
|Distribution network for return to normality|
|Recovery||Distribution network restart or restauration: Support of humanitarian logistics to the deployment of regular logistics and distribution services|
|Distribution network design: Re-configuration and improvement of the humanitarian distribution network at the reconstruction phase.|
|Mitigation||Operationally reaching: Restarted services attain an operational stage, and families reaching a status with no post-crisis related needs (status quo nearly reached).|
|Donators management: Reconfiguration and development of donators management policies to anticipate future crises|
|Preparation||Suppliers’ choice: Selection of suppliers to prepare basic kits but also to react when crisis arrives.|
|Relief supplies pre-positioning: Define products or kits, inventories, locations and capacities of emergency warehouses.|
|Preparation and education: Preparation to readiness for operational employees|
|Preparation and education: Introduction of logistics-based approaches in general education to crisis reaction|
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Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Chong, M.; Vargas-Florez, J.; de Brito, I., Jr.; Osorio-Ramirez, C.; Piatyszek, E.; Quiliche Altamirano, R. The Maturity of Humanitarian Logistics against Recurrent Crises. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 90. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060090
Gonzalez-Feliu J, Chong M, Vargas-Florez J, de Brito I Jr., Osorio-Ramirez C, Piatyszek E, Quiliche Altamirano R. The Maturity of Humanitarian Logistics against Recurrent Crises. Social Sciences. 2020; 9(6):90. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060090Chicago/Turabian Style
Gonzalez-Feliu, Jesus, Mario Chong, Jorge Vargas-Florez, Irineu de Brito, Jr., Carlos Osorio-Ramirez, Eric Piatyszek, and Renato Quiliche Altamirano. 2020. "The Maturity of Humanitarian Logistics against Recurrent Crises" Social Sciences 9, no. 6: 90. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060090