Humanitarian logistics metrics: where we are and how we might improve

Peter Tatham, Kate Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The management of a supply network is, by any measure, a complex undertaking, and this is reflected in the broad range of prescriptions found within the literature. As a means of guiding management in subsequent decision making, one might reasonably anticipate that considerable effort would be invested in the design of appropriate performance metrics - but, surprisingly, this does not appear to be the case. Furthermore, in non-profit organizations the challenge is much larger given the absence of a (or, perhaps, the) core metric of profitability. In the humanitarian logistic field, there is a recognition of the need for appropriate metrics, but capturing the data in a robust way is hampered by the particular circumstances of operating in an environment with its inherent limitations on communications and IT. However, such metrics that do exist are, typically, focused on operational data - the number of boxes delivered on time, the associated cost, etc. Such efficiency-based metrics are clearly important, but the authors argue that the key challenge is that of developing outcome or effectiveness metrics so that the achievements of the relief operation as a whole can be more readily understood. It is suggested that this process may be aided through the use of 'quality of life' metrics borrowed from the medical field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHumanitarian logistics
Subtitle of host publicationmeeting the challenge of preparing for and responding to disasters
EditorsMartin Christopher, Peter Tatham
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherKogan Page
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780749462468
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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