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Supply Chain for Disaster Management – An Empirical Study. Ashwini Sharma Prof. Dixit Garg Dr. Ashish Agarwal. CONTENTS. Abstract Introduction Literature review Methodology Results Conclusion Acknowledgement References. ABSTRACT.

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supply chain for disaster management an empirical study

Supply Chain for Disaster Management – An Empirical Study

Ashwini Sharma

Prof. Dixit Garg

Dr. Ashish Agarwal

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgement
  • References
  • Engineering education in India at present is going through the drastic changes and improvements which call for the original thinking towards educating the engineers being produced from the current system. Disaster management is one of the areas where most of the contribution can be done by the engineering students and has not been thought upon considering huge number of students’ passing out from engineering every year. The authors investigated that almost all the students does not have proper idea about readiness for any type of disaster. This paper describes a model proposed by the authors to improve the disaster readiness of passed out students of the engineering so that the amalgamation of the knowledge i.e. engineering as well as disaster management can open up new vistas in finding out the ways and means to fight disaster.
  • Indian education system has always been the source of curiosity across the world. The tradition of Gurukul and world renowned university i.e. Takshshila and Nalanda had attracted many of the scholars and knowledge seekers from all the countries. Somehow after a long duration of invasion and ruling the education has been affected the most among the other areas.
  • In any crisis situation, for example Flood, drought, earthquake or war, the activities connected with providing Humanitarian Aid (HA) to those requiring it will often be treated as a series of discrete activities disconnected from each other (UNDP, 1993).
  • Usually, the term ‘‘disaster’’ refers to a ‘‘disruption that physically affects a system as a whole and threatens its priorities and goals’’ [Van Wassenhove, 2006] With respect to cause, it is possible to distinguish between a natural and a man-made disaster; with respect to predictability and speed of occurrence, it is possible to distinguish between a sudden-onset and a slow-onset disaster.
  • Taking into account also the different impact in terms of required logistic effort (from higher to lower), it is possible to identify four types of disasters [Cozzolino, 2012].
      • Calamities, characterized by natural causes and sudden-onset occurrences (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes).
      • Destructive actions, characterized by man-made causes and sudden-onset occurrences (e.g., terrorist attacks, coups d’état, industrial accidents).
      • Plagues, characterized by natural causes and slow-onset occurrence (e.g., famines, droughts, poverty).
      • Crises, characterized by man-made causes and slow-onsets occurrence (e.g., political and refugee crises).
  • Considering the situation something can be done in order to improve the quality of education in engineering which should not be superficial and which will help the students to develop process and systems to fight disaster at the time of need.

Stage Gate process of present engineering system

  • In the present system the stage gate process as shown above does not hold good for the quality improvement therefore it is needed to rethink whole of the process to find out the missing link.
literature review
  • Emergency logistics is often the largest and most complex element of relief operations [UNDP, 1993] and in order for successful supply chains to be effective there is a requirement for a clear understanding of the problems and issues involved.
  • India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of natural as well as man-made disasters. 58.6 per cent of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity; over 40 million hectares (12 per cent of land) is prone to floods and river erosion; of the 7,516 km long coastline, close to 5,700 km is prone to cyclones and tsunamis; 68 per cent of the cultivable area is vulnerable to drought and hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches.
  • [Lu et al, 2006] in their paper identified, the factors which are most important to Humanitarian Aid and Emergency Relief organizations in providing an effective response in crisis situations and, secondly, the variables which contribute to the effectiveness of each.
literature review1
  • Factors such as global warming, environmental degradation and increasing urbanization expose a greater number of people to the threat of natural disasters.
  • In the last three decades, the rate of disasters has risen from 50 to 400 per year (Kovacs and Spens, 2009) and it is still expected to increase five times more on the next 50 years (Thomas and Kopczack, 2007). In 2010, 207 million people suffered from disasters, which caused 296.800 deaths and losses of 109 billion dollars (Sapir, 2011).
  • In the last decade, Brazil has suffered, on average, six natural disasters per year (UN, 2011) and, in 2008, it was the thirteenth country most affected by natural disasters, having 2 million victims affected mainly by floods or landslides (Lima et al., 2011).
literature review2
  • The first four objectives of the national policy on disaster management in India are

(1) Promoting a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through knowledge, innovation and education.

(2) Encouraging mitigation measures based on technology, traditional wisdom and environmental sustainability.

(3) Mainstreaming disaster management into the developmental planning process.

(4) Establishing institutional and techno-legal frameworks to create an enabling regulatory environment and a compliance regime.

It shows that there is an immediate need for promoting the need for managing the disaster effectively and efficiently by educating the students at all level of their education.

literature review3
  • Walkington in his investigation of the engineering education context, including the analysis of an engineering case study, identified issues that impinge on curriculum decision-making, including the consideration of professional engineering needs, the social and economic pressures, institutional parameters and student factors.
  • S. Sengupta in his article on skill gaps states that as its technology companies soar to the outsourcing skies, India is bumping up against an improbable challenge. In a country once regarded as a bottomless well of low-cost, ready-to-work, English-speaking engineers, a shortage looms. India still produces plenty of engineers, nearly 400,000 a year at last count. But their competence has become the issue.
literature review4
  • A sharma et. al reported intensive studies based on the work carried out by various researchers in the area of supply chain management. An attempt has also been made to identify conceptual interlinking between Supply chain management and Quality management through literature review.
  • Considering the literature review as above there was a serious need to take initiative to innovate in existing curriculum to increase the employability of the students. The authors took the initiative to improve the quality of engineering graduates passing out from mechanical engineering.

The research methodology is based on the interviews taken from the experts from different walks of life and academia. The authors surveyed a number of people to find out their views of what should be included in the survey form. A through survey which included 25 experts from different professions were selected for interview while academicians were also included to take their views. Based on the interviews a survey instrument (as in appendix -1) was designed to know the understanding of disaster management among the engineering graduates studying in different years and different branches. Based on the feedback and interviews the stage gate process in fig. 1 was modified to accommodate suggestions as shown below.




With the above results and discussions it can be concluded that a good deal of talent as well as potential has not been thought upon to cater to the requirements which arise in the emergency situations. Even if this talent is given training of not getting panicked at the time of emergency can create a huge difference as the engineering graduates across the India counts for approximately 20 lakhs. If we see the state of their understanding about humanitarian logistics as in the results it calls for immediate action from the academicians, curriculum designers, universities, government organizations and people who have expertise in this area.


The authors have proposed an elective subject to be taught to engineering students related to disaster management which can result in to cascading the knowledge of this area. Employment opportunities for students can be another potential aspect as the disaster management field is new and rather less explored by the engineers. Real need is of training the students to fight in the emergency situations where they can contribute effectively in their capacity for whole of their life which may result in to saving of lives and huge amount of losses in such cases.

  • Sharma, A., Garg, D. and Agarwal, A. (2012), “Quality management in supply chains: The literature review”, International journal of quality research, Vol. 6(3): pp. 193-206.
  • Cozzolino, A. (2012), “Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management”, Humanitarian Logistics: Cross-Sector Cooperation in Disaster Relief Management, Springer: 5-15
  • [Accessed on 14 July, 2013]
  • Khanduja, D., Vineet, S. and Rajdeep, S. (2009), “Entrepreneurial ambience of engineering education in India. International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, 2 (4), 341-355.
  • Kovacs, G., Spens, K. (2007), “Humanitarian logistics in disaster relief operations”, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 37 (2), 99-114.
  • Lima, F., Medeiros, H., Gonçalves, M. (2011), “Clusters in humanitarian supply chain: the center assembly of the united nations logistics – UNJLC” XXV ANPET - Congress Research and Education in Transportation, Date 7 to 11, Belo Horizonte – MG, 1-12
  • Lu, K. D., Pettit, S., Beresford, A. (2006), “Critical Success Factors for Emergency Relief Logistics”, WHAMPOA - An Interdisciplinary Journal, 51, 177-184.
  • Melnyk, S.A., Davis, E.W., Spekman, R.E., and Sandor, J. 2010. “Outcome- Driven Supply Chains.” Sloan Management Review, 51(2), 33-38.
  • Sapir, G. D. (2011), “ Disasters in Numbers 2010”, CRED, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels (Belgium) January 24, Geneva.
  • Thomas, A. & Fritz, L. (2006). Disaster relief, Inc. Harvard Business Review, 84(11), 114–26.
  • Thomas, A.; Kopezak, L. (2007) “Life-saving supply chains: Challenges and path forward. In. (H. L. Lee and C. Y. Lee (Eds.), Building Supply Chain Excellence in Emerging Economies, New York: Springer Science.
  • UN: desastrenaturaisatingem 7,5 milhões no Brasil. O Último Segundo [online], 25 janeiro 2011. Brasil. Available at: [accessed in June 15, 2013].
  • United Nations Development Programme (1993), Logistics - 1st Edition, UNDP, Geneva.
  • Van Wassenhove, L. N. (2006) “Blackett memorial lecture. Humanitarian aid logistics: Supply chain management in high gear” Journal of the Operational Research Society, 57(5), 475–489.
  • Walkington, J. (2002), “Curriculum change in engineering” European Journal of Engineering Education, 27 (2): 133 – 148.
  • Yeomans, S. R and Atrens, A. (2001) “A methodology for discipline-specific curriculum development” International Journal of Engineering Education, 17 (6): 518-524.