Impact of material convergence on last-mile distribution in humanitarian logistics

Material convergence (MC) in humanitarian logistics refers to the movement of relief supplies from donor sites to distribution centers in disaster areas, from which the final deliveries are made to survivors (last-mile distribution). The authors investigate how the choice of MC strategy (approach) affects the effectiveness of last-mile distribution. Specifically, the authors investigate the relative performance of the two frequently used MC approaches in terms of their ability to facilitate (propel) effective last-mile distribution. These two approaches are: (1) p–method (in which the most-urgent material always flows into disaster areas first) and (2) m–method (in which every shipment bound to disaster areas is comprised of a mix of urgent and less-urgent materials). The authors first analyze advantages and disadvantages of each approach from the theory perspective, and then perform numerical experiments to examine the specific conditions under which each approach performs most, or least, effectively. Results indicate that, in 83.3% of cases, the m–method (less widely used approach in practice) works more effectively than the p–method (more widely used approach).


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  • Accession Number: 01722259
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 14 2019 9:30AM