Projects

Models and Metrics for Humanitarian Response Capacity

Jason Acimovic, Jarrod Goentzel
Partners: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD), US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Many organizations stockpile inventory in strategic locations in order to respond quickly and cheaply to disasters. This project developed models and metrics that the humanitarian logistics community can utilize to coordinate preparedness efforts. The approach and initial results are described in a Journal of Operations Management article. The authors also monitor the quality of stockpiles stores in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRDs) daily. These results are intended to be illustrative, and are subject to the assumptions and approximations outlined in the article.  They are not intended to judge whether the UN or organizations using its UNHRDs are placing inventory optimally.

Feed the Future Uganda: Market Systems Monitoring

Courtney Blair, Jarrod Goentzel, Erica Gralla, Jillian Miles, Megan Peters, Katie Picchione, Madison Reinker, Tim Russell
Partners: The George Washington University (GWU), USAID

Goals of the Feed the Future Market System Monitoring (MSM) activity are to develop new approaches that assess the impact of market facilitation activities in the USAID/Uganda Feed the Future Value Chain (FTF-VC) project and to assess systemic change in markets in cooperation with the relevant partners. This effort should complement monitoring and evaluation efforts of individual activities with methods to assess how the combination of activities in the project portfolio is enabling systemic change in markets.

Nigeria Center for Excellence

Jarrod Goentzel, Mureji Fatunde, Prashant Yadav
Partner: Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN)

This study seeks to characterize mid- to long-term talent pool development processes in order to advance sustainable in-country academic capacity in Nigeria. The study's approach to talent pool development consists of three primary process that drive academic capacity in Nigeria: (1) Identify and realize academic partnership commitment, (2) Conduct detailed feasibility for the Africa Centers of Excellence (COE), and (3) Build a coalition for Nigerian Center of Excellence.

Ebola Response in Liberia

Jarrod Goentzel, Marianne Jahre
Partner: Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia (ACCEL),
 Avenir Analytics

In the wake of the 2014 Ebola Virus emergency in West Africa, a consortium led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School received a grant from Paul G. Allen, as part of the #TackleEbola initiative, to increase its support to build capacity for the Liberian hospital system.

Outbreak and Epidemic Prevention in Liberia

Jaya Chimnani, Jarrod Goentzel, Erin Hasselberg
Partner: Academic Consortium Combating Ebola in Liberia (ACCEL), Centers for Disease Control

Following the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the HRL continued collaboration with ACCEL on a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide training and strengthen systems aimed at preventing future outbreaks and epidemics. This project provided support for following activities: (1) assistance with managing international procurement of emergency care and infection protection and control supplies; (2) development of a training curriculum on inventory management and logistics management information systems (LMIS); (3) delivery of an initial and an enhanced training on inventory management and LMIS; (4) support for master trainers on implementation of LMIS and inventory management training; and, (5) development of pre-service training curriculum in supply chain management for the University of Liberia School of Pharmacy.

Outbreak and Epidemic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Standards

Emily Gooding, Jarrod Goentzel, Maria Bassou, Marianne Jahre

The recent Ebola outbreak in Liberia prompted a vast international response from various governments, NGOs, and UN organizations. This ad-hoc effort was confronted with a significant challenge when required to coordinate the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for response. The Outbreak and Epidemic PPE Standards Project tracks the evolution and dissemination of PPE standards throughout the Ebola crisis in Liberia, and identifies ways in which the standardization of medical response equipment can be improved for future outbreaks.

Decision Support for Post-Harvest Loss

Mark Brennan, Jarrod Goentzel
Partner: Global Knowledge Initiative

One-third of the world's available food either spoils or gets thrown away. Post-harvest loss is a challenge that an increasing number of organizations across sub-Saharan Africa aim to address. Losses can be mitigated through improved products, such as better post-harvest storage technologies, and better processes, such as more effective agricultural extension service delivery. This project studies how operational decision makers identify, evaluate, and select products and processes to be used in programs that address post-harvest loss in Tanzania.

Food Aid Packaging Evaluation

Mark Brennan, Jarrod Goentzel, Prithvi Sundar, MIT Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE)
Partner: USAID

Each year, nearly $2.2 billion is spent on food aid programs around the globe. USAID Food for Peace accounts for about 80%. This study aims to evaluate the cost effectiveness of transportation and storage of food aid commodities. With an estimated procurement of $1 million,MIT tested a range of packaging and shipping options, commodities, and foreign ports. This study explores how packaging can be used as a lever in food aid supply chain design.

Solar Lanterns

Tim Breitbach, Jarrod Goentzel, MIT Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE) ​
Partner: Solar Sister

Due to the recent increase in use of small-scale technologies like solar lanterns in the developing world, development professionals must make tough purchasing decisions with both limited time and budget. This study focuses on refining the product evaluation process to make it cheaper and more efficient for institutional buyers to invest in the highest performing and most cost-effective products available. Thus, reducing waste and increasing benefits to consumers. Researchers for this study conducted hundreds of interviews, surveys, and field tests with suppliers, consumers, manufacturers, and nonprofits to evaluate 11 locally available solar lantern models in western Uganda based on the product's suitability, scalability, and sustainability.

Post-Harvest Storage in Uganda

Mark Brennan, Tim Breitbach, Emily Gooding, Jennifer Green, Jonars Spielberg, MIT Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE) ​
Partners: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), USAID

The impact of smallholder farmers’ capabilities to store crops safely and effectively on communities and local and regional procurement efforts is relatively unexplored. This is especially true when considering the ecosystem that stretches from storage design and manufacturing to storage adoption and training. The MIT CITE team is studying this post-harvest storage and crop ecosystem in Uganda in collaboration with WFP, where the WFP is running a PHS pilot project with 16,000 farmers. The CITE team is analyzing two aspects of PHS: (1) the value that PHS creates for smallholder farmers and communities, and (2) the barriers to scale of PHS.

Understanding the Preferences of Private Sector Supply Chain Agents in Making Decisions to Stock Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria

Corinne Carland, Erin Reissman, MIT Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE) 
Partners: Malaria ConsortiumUSAID

Scaling up the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests is an important means to improve individual treatment and reduce the development of antimalarial resistance; however the devices are not widely available, especially in private sector outlets, where most individuals first seek care. This project aims to study the decision-making process, tradeoffs, and value preferences of agents in the private sector supply chain in deciding whether to sell and stock these products in order to scale up their use and access.

Stochastic Modeling to Allocate and Assess Disaster Response Capacity in Logistics Networks

Lauren Seelbach
Partner: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Through case studies in Florida, Louisiana and with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, we will develop a framework for emergency management organizations to evaluate how well their critical commodity stockpiles will meet the needs of disaster survivors in the immediate aftermath of an event. It aims to answer the questions: 'what is the optimal allocation of resources across warehouse locations, and what is the cost/time associated with meeting demand given both the current and optimal allocation strategies' and 'what is the impact of private involvement through donations, contracts, and other arrangements'.

Assessing Novel Data Sources for Post-Disaster Information Gathering

Lauren Seelbach
Partner: U.S. Department of Transportation, Idibon

In this project, we conducted an assessment of the ability of Twitter data to supplement traditional information-gathering processes to create actionable information about a transportation network in an emergency. The focus of the project was a case study analyzing Twitter activity during Hurricane Irene in 2011. The intent of the case study was to characterize the potential of big data from sensor networks to compliment existing sensor networks to create actionable information in a disaster, and to further develop methodologies to analyze these sources of data.

Water Filters in India

A Low-Income Country’s Homegrown Solution to Clean Water​
Erin Reissman
Partner: USAID

Safe water and improved sanitation are essential to human health and well being throughout the world. In India, only 33% of households treat their water, even though the water could be chemically or bacterially contaminated. In field work, a team found that the majority of the Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter market consisted of locally assembled models. This case explores the supply chains behind these locally assembled models.

Evaluation of water filters in India
Corinne Carland, Tim Breitbach, Erin Reissman, Alay Patel, Shrikant Brahmbhatt
Partners: USAIDIndian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Indian Insitute of Technology-Gandhinagar

The CITE team evaluated the scalability of water filter supply chains in cities in India.

Transportation Corridor Capacity in Ethiopia

Sujin Kim, Javed Singha
Partner: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

The WFP’s transport of food aid to Ethiopia’s landlocked population is constrained by supply chain bottlenecks at the port, and limited availability of trucks for inland transport.  How can the WFP supply chain be optimized to effectively operate within the given constraints?

Optimizing a WFP Warehouse in Ethiopia

Gina Malaver, Colin Regnier
Partner: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

Analytic Hierarchy Process is a multiple attribute decision tool that provides structure to decisions where there is limited availability of quantitative information. This is applied to a WFP warehouse in Ethiopia.

Cost Drivers in Food Aid Transportation

Marie-Eve Rancourt, Jarrod Goentzel
Partner: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

How can WFP Ethiopia better manage third-party transportation carriers to improve service quality and reduce costs? This study uses an econometric analysis of historical transportation rates in Ethiopia to determine cost/service drivers and predictive parameters. We also develop indicators to measure carrier performance and create a tool to facilitate carrier selection.

Food Aid in Less Secure Regions

Vidya Chander, Lauren Shear
Partner: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

The World Food Programme has recently acquired the difficult task of transporting aid into the Somali region of Ethiopia.  The political instability, rebel activity, ethnic tensions, and poor infrastructure in the area endanger and delay the flow of commodities through the WFP’s supply chain. we measure the impact of insecurity in the WFP’s distribution system, study the current methods that the WFP employs to mitigate risks, and investigate possible precautionary technologies to improve security in this resource constrained environment.

Human and Modeling Approaches to Transportation Planning in Emergency Response

Erica Gralla
Partner: United Nations Logistics Cluster, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

A key element missing from our understanding of humanitarian supply chains is the role of people, whose ability to improvise and to learn from experience may provide some advantages in the humanitarian context. On the other hand, mathematical models can better handle complex information and search large decision spaces. This project developed better decision-making approaches by understanding and building upon the strengths of people and models. This project focused on transportation planning for emergency response, from both a behavioral and a modeling perspective.

The research was conducted through active participation in several weeklong training events facilitated by the UN Logistics Cluster. During one phase of the simulated disaster response, used to train experienced humanitarian logisticians, participant teams must decide how to use its fleet of trucks and helicopters to deliver aid cargo to affected communities, considering efficiency and prioritization of needed cargo. A variety of methods were employed, including ethnographic observations, a stated preference survey, and modeling approaches, in order to determine how humans and models can interact to create better delivery plans. In addition to theoretical contributions, we developed practical tools for transportation planning, in cooperation with humanitarian organizations.

Private Supply Chain Disaster Response

Karn Budhiraj, Gabriel de la Torre

In times of disaster, demand for goods and services in affected areas spikes. Private companies generally have contingencies in place for business continuity; however, most lack a strategic approach to join the general population’s relief efforts. Why are some companies more effective within disaster relief supply chains than others? How can a company approach this area of opportunity?

Baseline Measurements in Disaster Relief

Timothy Russell

By analyzing a survey from the Fritz Institute and KPMG which measured the response to the 2004 SE Asia earthquake and tsunami, this study concludes that while the relief effort was effective, there were deficiencies in the following areas: initial assessment, collaboration, trained logistics experts, and supply chain analysis.

Humanitarian Logistics Performance Measurement and Management

Ira Haavisto
Partner: International Rescue Committee

This initiative focuses on how humanitarian organizations can measure and manage the performance of supply chain & logistics processes. With the International Rescue Committee, we developed a resource toolkit for field logistics staff including simplified logistics process maps, checklists, and guidance on required internal controls. We now seek to extend this work by incorporating other humanitarian organizations.

Forecasting Demand for Partners in Health

Christine Heberley and Matthew Hoover
Partner: Partners in Health (PIH)

This project develops a model using historical consumption data of Partners in Health’s medical supplies to forecast future demand. We compare PIH’s current annual order policy with ordering policies with more frequent reviews, and find that more frequent orders will drastically reduce warehouse space requirements for PIH.

Understanding Needs after the Haiti Earthquake

Student volunteers from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts
Partners: US Government, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and members of the humanitarian community

Worked collaboratively to develop a multi-sectoral humanitarian needs assessment. The HRL was part of a team that developed and deployed a four-month survey of internally displaced persons camps in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. The resulting data identified urgent needs -- such as camps with little access to shelter -- and showed how the needs of those in the camps changed over time.