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Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing for and Responding to Disasters Paperback – 3 Oct 2014

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"This astute volume of essays should be compulsory reading for every person preparing to deploy into the humanitarian space. This rewrite is so comprehensive that even those who have read the first edition will benefit immensely from studying this book." (Steve O'Keefe, Operations Manager - Bulk Haulage, Mountain Industries)

"I am really pleased to see the launch of this second edition of ...... Which includes contributions from a diverse range of humanitarian logisticians. Members of our community of practice will no doubt find the content of immense value" (George Fenton, Humanitarian Logistics Association)

"In this new edition each chapter has been updated to reflect the latest developments, with the addition of several new chapters on challenges that have emerged." (Supply Management)

"This book lays the foundation for commercial and humanitarian sectors to learn from and assist each other as they struggle to manage logistical uncertainty." (Kelly Barner, Buyers Meeting Point)

"Written and edited by logistics authorities Peter Tatham and Martin Christopher, with contributions from numerous experts, this updated second edition compiles the best current thinking on humanitarian logistical practices. Tatham and Christopher deserve credit for an outstanding, comprehensive manual for those in the field and those who wonder how professionals get emergency supplies into devastated areas. getAbstract recommends their illuminating compilation to NGOs, those involved in humanitarian relief and anyone who handles logistics or risk management in other fields." (getAbstract Inc.)

"This book offers a comprehensive look at the field of humanitarian logistics with perspectives provided by practitioners and academics from around the world. This new edition includes developments in the sector and reflections on lessons learnt from recent events. It will be an invaluable text for those studying and undertaking research in this area and also provide a fascinating read for others who are interested in humanitarian logistics and want to know more." (Dorothea Carvalho, Director of Professional Development, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport CILT)

"Christopher and Tatham assess the principal challenges faced by humanitarian logistics practitioners, and consider how to develop a more efficient and effective response to disasters. The authors particularly focus on disaster preparation and best practices. This edition shares insights and lessons learned from practitioners during recent natural disasters." (Inbound Logistics)

Book Description

With insights from the world's leading experts in humanitarian logistics, Humanitarian Logistics is the essential text that analyses the key issues faced by humanitarian logistics practitioners.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lays the foundation for commercial and humanitarian sectors to learn from and assist each other 10 Dec. 2014
By Kelly McCarthy Barner - Published on
Format: Paperback
Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the Challenges of Preparing for and Responding to Disasters (Kogan Page, 2014), by Peter Tatham and Martin Christopher, provides a look inside the challenges faced by the people and organizations providing relief after disaster strikes.
Don’t let the title and subtitle fool you. Although the topic is targeted, there are benefits to be gained by more than one reading audience. As the authors and their team of contributors point out, there are many commercial sector best practices that humanitarian logistics can benefit from. I would add to this that there are just as many opportunities for return gains through new thinking and altered perspectives. As stated in the introduction, “One of the distinguishing features of modern supply networks – both in the world of business as well as in the humanitarian arena – is that they are characterized by uncertainty and, hence, unpredictability.” (p. 5) Obviously, the concern associated with the loss of human life is more severe than stock-outs, but some of the same measures can improve both.

One challenge faced by both sectors is the need to respond well to uncertainty. In commercial supply chains the uncertainty is usually associated with risks of disruption or quality. In humanitarian operations, it is the sheer unexpectedness of the event itself and its aftermath.

Improved communication in the face of uncertainty can be the difference between success and failure. Imperfect flows of information (in and out) must be anticipated and overcome. For instance, for the first 1-2 weeks after a disaster, the response is likely to be a ‘push’ effort where outside parties decide what to send in. After that, the people affected must be allowed to ‘pull’ as requirements become more specific. Unnecessary relief efforts can cause as many problems as they are intended to solve. In their coverage of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the authors wrote, “Overall, the amount of unsolicited and inappropriate aid presented a logistic problem in its own right in all the countries affected.” (p. 133)
Cooperation between organizations or agencies is another shared challenge. In the commercial sector we are constantly hearing about the need to collaborate with our supply partners in order to innovate and exceed expectations. Humanitarian organizations often have to work together, even allowing their systems to be included in a shared interface, in order to get the work done.

From a specific disaster standpoint, the chapter on the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, as well as the concerns of a repeat in 2012, was fascinating. It just so happens that two of the book’s contributors were in Thailand in 2012 to witness first hand the changes and preparations that had been made as a result of 2004 and the work that had yet to be done. Even some of the preparations, such as signage and communication capabilities, were not found to be lacking until they were put to the test.

One characteristic of humanitarian logistics is that the funds do not come from the beneficiaries like they do in the case of a commercial enterprise and its customers or suppliers. In this way, a humanitarian logistics operation has more in common with publicly-funded procurement. The money being spent is not always coming from the person receiving the benefit.

If, as the book states, humanitarian logistics is a growing practice area, it is not unreasonable to think that many of today’s commercial practitioners will find themselves called upon to take on this new role in the future. Indeed, the growth of commercial demand from and trade with previously cut off geographies has laid the foundation for the networks used to move relief supplies and assistance after a disaster. This book lays the foundation for both sides – commercial and humanitarian – to learn from and assist each other.
Great reference material. 12 Jan. 2015
By Pablo Bredt Torres - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read and definitely recommended for professional working in this field.
There are not a lot of literature related to this topic and I found this book as a reference in order to provide a starting point for further research.
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