Identifying challenges and improvement approaches for more efficient procurement coordination in relief supply chains

Christian Wankmüller*, Gerald Reiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Coordinating humanitarian organizations in the procurement of urgently needed relief items is complex and characterized by decentralization and isolated decision‐making. The decentralized coordination of associated tasks often results in the duplication of efforts and redundant/in-correct relief items supplies into single disaster regions, having negative impacts on the most vul-nerable ones. This paper devotes attention to the challenges that exist in the coordination of procurement activities in relief supply chains and asks for improvement approaches to facilitate more efficient demand satisfaction in disaster situations. Therefore, the authors apply multiple case study research including expert interviews with procurement agents and heads of logistics from international non‐governmental organizations (NGOs), humanitarian start‐ups and military logistics cen-ters. Results indicate that a lack of incentives to cooperate, poor communication, unclear division of competences and noncompliance to standards and regulations constitute substantial challenges in procurement coordination. Moreover, expert interview results show that social media integration, procurement flexibility, cluster and collaborative coordination have potential to support improving the coordination of NGOs’ procurement activities. By presenting several theoretical propositions, this paper complements already existing literature and provides a reference point for future re-search. Practitioners can benefit from findings as they are provided with a guide that allows rede-signing certain processes in procurement coordination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2204
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 102009 Computer simulation
  • 502052 Business administration
  • 502012 Industrial management
  • 211
  • 502017 Logistics
  • 502032 Quality management


  • Case study research
  • Humanitarian logistics
  • Procurement coordination
  • Relief supply chain management

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