Emergency management logistics must become emergency supply chain management


  • Richard R. Young, PhD, FCILT
  • Matthew R. Peterson, MBA, CSCP, SCOR-P




emergency management logistics, emergency supply chain management, humanitarian logistics, disaster logistics management


Much has been written about how emergency management (EM) needs to look to the future regarding issues of resource management (monetary, human, and material). Constraints on budgets are ongoing and the staffing of emergency response activities is often difficult because volunteers have little to no training. The management of material resources has also been a challenge because 1) the categories of material vary by the type of emergency, 2) the necessary quantities of material are often not located near the ultimate point of need, and 3) the transportation assets are rarely available in the form and quantity required to allow timely and effective response. The logistics and resource management functions of EM (what we refer to as EM logistics) have been largely reactive, with little to no pre-event planning for potential demand. We applied the Supply Chain Operational Reference (SCOR) model to EM logistics in an effort to transform it to an integrated and scalable system of physical, information, and financial flows into which are woven the functions of sourcing, making, delivering, and returning, with an overarching planning function that transcends the organizational boundaries of participants. The result is emergency supply chain management, which embraces many more participants who share in a larger quantity of more useful information about the resources that need to be deployed when responding to and recovering from emergency events.

Author Biographies

Richard R. Young, PhD, FCILT

Professor of Supply Chain Management, Penn State Harrisburg Capital College, School of Business Administration, Middletown, Pennsylvania

Matthew R. Peterson, MBA, CSCP, SCOR-P

Sr. Consultant, Supply Chain Management, LMI, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.


Coyle J, Bardi E, Langley J: Management of Business Logistics: A Supply Chain Perspective, 7th edn. South-Western College Pub, 2002.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: Supply chain management definitions. Available at http://cscmp.org/aboutus/supply-chain-management-definitions. Accessed March 20, 2013.

Cooper M, Lambert D, Pagh J: Supply chain management: More than a new name for logistics. Int J Logistics Manage. 1997; VIII: 1.1-14.

Federal Emergecy Management Agency: Incident command system. Available at http://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system. Accessed March 21, 2013.

Van Wassenhove L: Humanitarian and supply chain management in high gear. J Oper Res Soc. 2006; 57(5): 475-489.

Holguín-Veras J, Jaller M, Van Wassenhove L, et al.: Material convergence: An important and understudied disaster phenomenon. Nat Hazards Rev. 2012 (in press).

Kovacs G, Spens K: Identifying challenges in humanitarian logistics. Int J Phys Distribution Logistics Manage. 2009; 39.6: 506-5026.

Michel-Kerjan E, Slovic P: A more dangerous world: Why we misunderstand risk. Newweek. March 1, 2010.

Whybark C, et al.: Disaster relief supply chain management: New realities, management challenges, emerging opportunities. Decision Line. 2010: 4-7.

Thomas A, Kopczak L: From logistics to supply chain management: The path forward in the humanitarian sector. White Paper. San Francisco: Fritz Institute, 2005. Available at http://www.fritzinstitute.org/PDFs/WhitePaper/FromLogisticsto.pdf. Accessed March 2, 2013.

Thomas A: Humanitarian logistics: Enabling disaster response. White Paper. San Francisco: Fritz Institute, 2009. Available at http://www.fritzinstitute.org/PDFs/WhitePaper/EnablingDisasterResponse.pdf. Accessed March 2, 2013.

Tatham P, Petit S: Transforming humanitarian logistics: The journey to supply network management. Int J Phys Distribution Logistics Manage. 2010; 40(8/9): 609-622.

Destro L, Holguín-Veras J: Material convergence and its determinants: The case of Hurricane Katrina. Report Number 11-2897.Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 2011: 14-21.

Holguín-Veras J, Pérez N, Ukkusuri S, et al.: et al.: Emergency logistics issues impacting the response to Katrina: A synthesis and preliminary suggestions for improvement. Washington, DC: Transportation Research Record, 2007: 76-82.

Holguín-Veras J, Jaller M: Immediate resource requirements after Hurricane Katrina. Nat Hazards Rev. 2012; 13(2): 117-131.

Holguín-Veras J, Jaller M, Van Wassenhove LN, et al.: On the unique features of post-disaster humanitarian logistics. J Operations Manage. 2012; 30(8): 494-506.

Holguín-Veras J, Jaller M, Wachtendorg T: Comparative performance of alternative humanitarian logistic structures for the Port-au-Prince earthquake. Transportation Res A. 2012; 46(8): 1623-1640.

Franklin C: Viewpoint: To improve emergency preparedness, adopt a supply chain perspective. American City and County. May 15, 2012. Available at http://americancityandcounty.com/blog/disaster-emergency-supply-chain. Accessed April 2, 2013.

Supply Chain Council: Supply chain reference model (Version 11), 2012. Available at http://wwww.supply-chain.org/SCOR. Accessed March 25, 2013.

Edmondson R: Learning from disaster: Special report. J Commerce. 2010: 40-45.

US Fire Administration: CSX Tunnel Fire, Baltimore, MD. Technical Report Series USFA-TR-140. 2001. Available at http://usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/tr-140.pdf. Accessed April 28, 2013.

London Regional Resilience Forum: Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Multi-Agency Debrief of Terrorist Events of July 2005. September 2006. Available at http://bbc.co.uk/2/bsp/hi/pdfs/23_09_06_irrfreport.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2013.

New Hampshire Department of Safety, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management: State Response After Action Report: December 2008 Ice Storm. After Action Report. December 2009. Available at http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/hsem/documents/dec08_icestorm_after_action_report.pdf. Accessed April 28, 2013.

Delaware Division of Public Health: Novel H1N1 influenza deleware reponse: After action report/improvement plan. After Action Report. 2010. Available at http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/php/files/h1n1aar.pdf. Accessed April 11, 2013.

CARE International: 2010 Haiti earthquake reflections: After action review. After Action Report. November 2010. Available at http://qualityandaccountabilitynetwork.care2share.wikispaces.net/file/view/11.01.22_Haiti%20Earthquake%20Reflections%20AAR%20Final%20Report.pdf/288648700/11.01.22_Haiti%20Earthquake%20Reflections%20AAR%20Final%20Report.pdf. Accessed April 17, 2013.

United Nations Evaluation Group: Haiti Earthquake Response: Mapping and Analysis of Gaps and Duplications in Evaluations. February 2011. Available at http://www.oecd.org/countries/haiti/47501750.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2013.

Florida Division of Emergency Management: Operation Haiti Relief: After Action Report. July 2010. Available at http://www.floridadisaster.org/documents/Haiti%20AAR%20Final.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2013.

Florida Department of Health: 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response: ESF 8 After Action Report and Improvement Plan. April 2011. Available at http://www.floridahealth.gov/preparedness-andresponse/training-exercise/_documents/deepwater-aar.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2013.

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities: Hurrican Irene Electric Response Report. December 2011. Available at http://nj.gov/bpu/pdf/announcements/2011/irene.pdf. Accessed April 10, 2013.

Del Norte Local Transportation Commission: Del Norte County’s Japan Tsunami 2011. After Action Report. 2011.Available at http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/uploads/resource/4122_filename. Accessed April 12, 2013.

Cannon Design: After action report/improvement plan: Tropical storm Lee flood response 2011. After Action Report, May 2012. Available at http://www.tiogacountyny.com/images/stories/PDFs/departments/em/TiogaAARIP_Final.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2013.

Miles M, Huberman M: Qualitative Data Analysis, 2nd edn. Newberry Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1994.

Federal Emergency Management Agency: National response framework. Available at http://www.fema.gov/national-responseframework. Accessed March 21, 2013.



How to Cite

Young, PhD, FCILT, R. R., and M. R. Peterson, MBA, CSCP, SCOR-P. “Emergency Management Logistics Must Become Emergency Supply Chain Management”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 12, no. 2, Mar. 2014, pp. 171-87, doi:10.5055/jem.2014.0171.