To support decision makers in planning these logistics and supply networks, and gaining an overview about the current status of needs and available supplies within and across organizations, supply chain management tools have been developed. They enable mapping, tracking, planning and coordination. They have largely been designed for business enviroments, but in the humanitarian sector, we are facing a much greater challenge: keeping it simple. Keeping it manageable and user-friendly, keeping it so simple that it can be used in situations, when time is short, there is hardly any power, and telecommunication is disrupted. Instead of optimising warehouse locations or scheduling, having a flexible, agile and robust network should be the aims.
Back to Pen and Paper?
Using no technology is usually pragmatic and works - but also means that information cannot be shared and propagated widely, and that we cannot exploit the support that is available remotely. There is so much great technology that simply refraining from it is not a solution.
How can we develop tools that enable decision makers to get an overview of the situation and support them in responding to the urgent needs of the population? Lightweight approaches are needed to that enable decision makers on-site to work with the information in adequate formats, to process, share, manipulate it as they go.
For the humanitarian case, we issue today a challenge to the GIS community that has been elicited from a humanitarian aid worker who is currently deployed to Samara. We are well aware of the fact that such a tool may not exist in the required scope given the constraints in disaster situations - but take it as a challenge that you may find interesting to work towards to.
If you need further information about this case please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.