Agilità nella logistica delle emergenze. Le imprese apprendono dalle organizzazioni umanitarie (Agility in the logistics of emergencies. Businesses learn from humanitarian organizations)

  • Alessandra Cozzolino
Keywords: supply chain management, emergency management, agility, collaboration, cross-learning, logistics service provider


Purpose of the paper: This paper investigates which opportunities the companies may have to learn the agility of the supply chain from humanitarian emergency management, in order to increase their competitiveness.
Methodology: To investigate the research question a literature review and an empirical exploratory investigation were conducted through qualitative methodology based on case studies. In particular, in the empirical part it has deepened the initiative of the “Logistics Emergency Teams”, the first and only case at the international level of a partnership between a group of logistics companies and humanitarian sector in organizing logistics operations for emergency response.
Findings: The literature and the operational reality analysed reveal that businesses can really take the opportunity to learn agility from humanitarian best practices. This is done by cooperating in disaster response operations, in the restore phase, and by sharing concretely - at operational and strategic levels - objectives, principles and guidelines of agility implemented in the humanitarian supply chain.
Research limitations: This exploratory study, despite having provided original ideas on the subject, needs to be deepened in the empirical part, with additional interviews to the representatives of the logistics service providers.
Research and managerial implications: The experience that companies make when working with the humanitarian sector not only contributes to the success of relief operations, but it also enhances the competitiveness of individual firms, if they are able to adopt and transfer the learned skills in their business supply chains.
Originality/value of paper: The present study is one of the first attempt in academic and professional literature to investigate what companies can learn from the humanitarian sector, while in the past the emphasis was especially on the reverse process of learning.


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