Humanitarian logistics in SML

The Medicines for Malaria team of Andre Koenigs, Rikke Skoglund, Harry Katzartis, and Benedikt Doerner - winners of the best case presentation. Also pictured are the judging panel - Claire Lindsay, Kate Hughes and Jane Queenan.

Humanitarian Relief and Logistics is a new elective course which has been offered for the first time this academic year as part of the MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree programme in the School of Management and Languages (SML).

The Humanitarian Relief and Logistics elective course applies logistics and supply chain theory to extreme situations. The course aims to help students learn more about supply chain techniques in situations where they "can make a difference". Compassion is an important factor in the area of humanitarian relief work, but it needs more than just compassion, it needs people who can think outside the box, develop solutions for problems in chaotic contexts and who understand that this type of supply chain is intertwined with the society and people it is serving. Most of the students who took the course have had some experience with not-for-profits working in this field. Others see the opportunity to work with logistics companies that have volunteer programmes to apply their learning, and others plan to enter the field of humanitarian logistics.

As part of the course students worked in groups to undertake case studies on humanitarian activities. The three case studies used were:

  • Medicines for Malaria Venture: Accessing the Inaccessible, €¢ Stapleton, O.; Yadav, P. and van Wassenhove, L.N. (2009) INSEAD Business School, 609-004-
  • The Yogyakarta Earthquake: IRFC's Experiences with the Regionalized Supply Chain, Charles, A.; Gatigon, A. & van Wassenhove, L.N. (2011) INSEAD Business School, 611-002-1
  • Agility: A Global Logistics Company and Local Humanitarian Partner, Tomasini, R.; Hanson, M. and van Wassenhove, L.N. (2009) INSEAD Business School, 709-009-1

Each group then presented their case study findings to a judging panel which included the course leader, Kate Hughes; Claire Lindsay from Edinburgh Napier University Business School; and Jane Queenan from the SML.

The panel awarded the prize for best case presentation to the Medicines for Malaria presentation. Members of the winning team received a book voucher and a certificate.

The course was developed by Kate Hughes, a lecturer in supply chain management based in the Logistics Research Centre in the SML. Kate has a particular interest in disaster response and is currently completing her PhD entitled Decision Making in Disaster Response.

SML hopes to introduce an MSc in Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management from September 2014. This new MSc will have a specific focus on humanitarian disaster management and relief.