Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Disasters: SCM

Disasters, whether natural (typhoons/earthquakes/tornadoes) or through human influence (war/terrorism/oil spills) rely on supply chains to resume normalcy as best as possible.  Inventory for these efforts are not all found in warehouses and travelling across the road ways.  Instead the inventory is people based.  Volunteers are vitally necessary and they too have to be managed.  However, disaster relief also needs supplies, water, food, transportation.  All of these, people and items, need to be procured and secured.

The article Managing Inventories-Reorder Point Systems talks about forecasting demand of orders in which quantities are hard to predict.  The simple but sustaining item of water needs to be delivered and accessible to people but it is an item where the amount is hard to predict in advance.  How far is the local source? Is the local source still accessible? If there had been a previous need, how much was needed, how much was used?  Have the demographics changed since the last need?

An article I read states that in these instances breaking down the supply chain's parts makes the entire system easier to manage.

What are the easiest and most efficient ways to get the items to the area?  Where is the best place to store items?  How do we ensure that enough trucks and drivers are available? How reliable is the weather forecasting system?  How do unused/unneeded items get dealt with?  How often do we train/retrain volunteers?

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