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Title: Bringing Order Out of Disorder: Exploring Complexity in Relief Supply Chains
Authors: Oloruntoba, Richard 
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce
Source: Richard Oloruntoba (2007) Bringing Order Out of Disorder: Exploring Complexity in Relief Supply Chains.
Conference: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Operations and Supply Chain Management 
Abstract: 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.
Rights: This work is protected by copyright. Reproduction or distribution of the work in any format is prohibited without written permission of the copyright owner.
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