Decentralized approaches to logistics coordination in humanitarian relief

Irina S. Dolinskaya, Zhenyu Shi, Karen R. Smilowitz, Michael Ross

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

50 Scopus citations


Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in humanitarian relief provide supplies and services to people in need. Transportation and logistics are big parts of NGO operations, as agencies transport and distribute supplies to and within the affected regions. Improving efficiency of their logistics systems has potential to significantly decrease agencies' operational costs and expand their services. Logistical coordination in humanitarian relief can bring together players with various expertise, experiences and capabilities within an affected region to share and mutually benefit from collaborative work. Coordination is commonly adopted in commercial settings; however, in the humanitarian relief domain, there has been limited success in coordination among NGOs. We present findings from an ongoing joint university - nonprofit organization research project on logistical coordination in humanitarian relief. We work closely with logistics personnel for NGOs to get an in-depth understanding of operations in practice. We identify critical components and challenges related to coordination and recommend strategies to overcome these obstacles, focusing on decentralized approaches. Our research goal is to use the expertise of our nonprofit partner, Aidmatrix Foundation, who has implemented coordination platforms in other humanitarian domains, distributing food, medical supplies and disaster relief, to develop a new system to enable logistical coordination in humanitarian relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication61st Annual IIE Conference and Expo Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Industrial Engineers
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Event61st Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: May 21 2011May 25 2011


Other61st Annual Conference and Expo of the Institute of Industrial Engineers
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV


  • Humanitarian relief
  • Logistical coordination
  • Non-government organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Decentralized approaches to logistics coordination in humanitarian relief'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this