Diego Vega

Diego Vega

Diego Vega is Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management and Social Responsibility, esp. Humanitarian Logistics and Deputy Director of the HUMLOG Institute at Hanken School of Economics.

Location Helsinki, Finland


  • You are absolutely (and perhaps unfortunately) right.

  • Thank you for your comment Lasse. The link between these two relies on the fact that the humanitarian sector follows the rules of the public sector, in the sense that they have to "remain fair for all potential vendors and transparent". Thus HOs are obliged to publicly advertise their tenders and selection process, hence following public procurement rules and...

  • Good point Catharina! and great answer Lasse. Being lean doesn't mean sidelining processes and potentially becoming unethical, its abotu including the processes that MUST be incldued to create value (in our case provide assistance). The most simple example for both can be transportation: during an emergency, items are shipped by air as the value is on the...

  • And yet, HOs need to (at leat try) to reduce costs because the less you spend in e.g. transprotation, the more food/vaccines/items you can buy and provide... quite a dilemma.

  • To help/face covid-like disruptions agility is not enough. Organizations should be responsive, which includes that capacity to react to change, but also to be flexible enough to do so. I think organizations (as well as HOs) are currently thinking about this... interesting times!

  • Diego Vega made a comment

    Recently I came across a few non-for-profit (humantiarian) organizations that mainly specialize in logistics for the humantiarian sector. Can you guess their names? Hint: they are hard to find but work all around the world.

  • Great explanation! Just a quick question to pick your brain. With the recent developments in terms of technology and climate change, do you think that the differences between humanitarian and commercial SCs remain the same? For instance, wouldn't HOs adpot up-to-date informationsystems and technologies? Wouldn't hte demand (and thus inventory management)...

  • Very good point Patrik! History and characteristics of the region is extremely important to understand which sort of disaster can arrive and how to prepare/respond to!

  • Interesting story! Adn it reflects the path many have followed and others will!

  • Hello everyone and welcome to the course!

    Over the past year, our attention has been mostly on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and currently, most of you are familiar with terms like 'emergency response', 'preparedness', 'pre-positioned stock', and 'supply chain disruptions'. Did you know that most of these terms come from the humanitarian logistics or...

  • That is indeed a risk. An interesting approach (and possibly a solution) is the support from INGOs to grassroot organizations (e.g. the white helmets) as these are the real first respondents. Currently, the UN system is discussing the role of community-based organizations and diasporas and how to support them. The better prepared they are, the faster the...

  • I think you're both right. Yes, it should be implemented long before disasters occur, and yes it is (unfortunately) often neglected and directly linked to resources. However, sustainability (specifically environmental impact) is currently under discussion at the global clusters level. Let's hope these discussions move forward.

  • Well spotted. There should be a coma at the end of that sentence.

  • Let's hope not! Fortunately, there are still true humanitarian organizations out there.

  • And still, when pharmaceutical product are procured, stored and not used they must be disposed and the warehouse replenished. This also follows FIFO even with temperature controlled items.

  • SC = Supply Chain

  • Unfortunately no. Each situation is different and so is the "length" of each supply chain. In many cases the extent of the touched population is higher, or the accessibility to beneficiaries is difficult, which makes emergency response longer. In others, things go fast and well for emergency response so is better to focus on recovery ASAP. There are of course...

  • In most cases, emergency response ends when the basic needs are covered and infrastructure is set up and ready for the recovery. However, these SCs overlap and there is no clear definition of when emergency stops and recovery/development begins other than the official announcement from the government or OCHA. As for data/KPIs, a good indicator is % of...

  • Great insight on beneficiary registration!

  • No, you're not loosing your thinking. That is exactly right. Sweden's preparedness was not particular to Covid-19 or pandemics per se, but it definitely helps to avoid stockouts in these situations.

  • This is a big game changer and hot topic in the humanitarian scene. The million dollar question is where CBIs are more relevant/optimal. Any thoughts anyone?

  • Diego Vega made a comment

    Welcome to week two! Comments and discussions on last week were great! Keep them going and don't forget to ask questions directly to lead educators or the general audience.

  • Of course there is! Post them here!

  • I would say that coordination reduces the possibility of overlapping, but in order to coordinate you would need to trust the other organizations fast, so in that sense yes. Other thoughts anyone?

  • In most situations, they have their own stocks as their activity might differ from others. Also, most organizations have their own warehouses or have their stock managed by a third party (commercial or humanitarian). But when it comes to sharing, the UNHRD network is probably the best example.

  • Why would that be?

  • Great answers! keep them going!

  • Hi Hannah, I don't see it. Could you please try again?

  • Great question. What we're currently seeing is the emergency response, where governments are emptying their emergency stock and setting up field hospitals. As many didn't have pre-positioned stocks, they are building them in preparation to peaks. Recovery is hard to see, as there is nothing to recover from (other than the economic impact of Covid-19, but in...

  • More and more people joining! what a great way to use your time during these strange days. We're glad to see many nationalities and different backgrounds together. Don't hesitate to share your comments on each other's posts!

  • Thank you for the comment! We will find the right diagram to include here

  • @LinaFrennesson This is a very complex discussion, as the one of what being an NGO entails. When governments provide relief (in general) is seen as emergency response (e.g. wild fires, a building collapsing, floods, etc.) and could be seen as non-profit.

  • Great finding on the LET!

  • C'est justement ça. On voit de plus en plus des unités (comme MSF Logistique) développées à l'intérieur des ONG qui deviennent filiales et qui rendent service à d'autres organisations.... comme un prestataire commercial.

  • Interesting differentiation of commercial Vs humanitarian logistics. However, most characteristics of humanitarian logistics relate to sudden onset disasters. What about slow onset or protracted crises? Is the demand uncertain? the infrastructure unreliable? What about running a refugee camp? Share your thoughts!

  • Well thought! Search & Rescue operations are often forgotten in humanitarian logistics, as there is no much logistics per se.

  • Bienvenue Laetitia!

  • Yes!! They have a unit called Atlas Logistiaue (formerly a logistics service provider) that provides logistics to Hi and other organizations.

  • Good comments so far.... any other ideas??

  • The question of overlapping supply chains has been there for many years, and Gyöngyi's comment on the nexus is a good example. The 'New Way of Working' call from the UN seeks to make actors to work closer towards collective outcomes, which will translate in more interconnected supply chains withing the disaster management cycle.

  • Is interesting to see how humanitarian logistics terms like emergency response, recovery, stock pre-positioning, and even cash transfers and vouchers have reached the media when referring to commercial supply chains responding to the current pandemic. So, is this a humanitarian-like supply chain?

  • Have you heard about the fierce competition between countries for medical equipment that the Covid-19 has triggered?

  • Diego Vega made a comment

    Great findings so far, but there are still a few more. Here's a hint for one: they are French, they focus on people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, and they recently changed their name.

  • Well spotted! In addition to the relief items, needs assessment is crucial to the overall development of the response

  • Our community keeps growing! Thanks for everyone sharing their experiences so far. I'm happy to see that many humanitarian workers joining and so much enthusiasm for those who have never been on the field! What a great opportunity to learn from each other.

  • Hello everyone!
    It's amazing to see so many learners with different stories and backgrounds joining the course from all over the world! I'm sure you will appreciate this (distant) interaction which will help us know more people interested in this topic. Don't hesitate to share your thoughts on each other's comments and keep the discussions going. Have a great...

  • Welcome! and thanks for joining Claire!

  • Welcome on board Stephen! and thanks for joining. I'm sure learners will appreciate your participation.

  • And yet, it is said that humanitarian logistics is about 10 years behind commercial logistics in terms of good practices and strategy.

  • That is exactly the problem. Most INGOs do logistics and they are very good at it. However, as the activity is so embedded in humanitarian relief, it is 'invisible', almost like logistics after WWII.

  • Hello again! and thank you for your great comments. You're all right about what to bring and when. But, have you thought about your own needs? where are you going to stay? what are you going to eat? and beyond that, is there electricity? fuel? phone coverage? You would be amazed with the stories about the burden that humanitarian workers bring with them to...

  • @JaninaBuczynska Internet of Things. Is basically every transfer of data that does not require human interaction. The simplest example could be a "samrt home" where devices connect to each other and make decisions based on certain parameters (turn lights on and off, start the heating when you leave your office, etc.)

  • Thank you Henrik. And no, we're not expecting masterpieces. Your ideas here are good. This is how most INGOs have set up their supply chains/networks. The big question is how close should they be to prone areas to respond to both agile (rapid response) and lean (low costs) principles? Tricky question.

  • Hello everyone! and thank you for your thorough descriptions. Going back to the topic of step 1.8, do you think there is something unique in procuring for the humanitarian context? Any thoughts?

  • In the commercial world, logistics is somehow supposed to be invisible until there is a disruption and the customer doesn't get his product or service. This means that most people don't realize that there is a supply chain that deliver their goods. Now imagine how would people think humanitarian aid is delivered! It is true that HL knowledge is narrow compared...

  • Hi Jamie! IoT has great potential in HL and yet is still unexplored. Probably the reason for this is the lack of infrastructure in the aftermath of a disaster, but I'm sure there are ways to overcome this barrier.

  • Hello everyone! And thank you for your great comments! Indeed, localisation is a huge trend right now, and it goes hand-in- hand with needs assessment. The challenge is access to data, and that's where innovation and new technologies play a key role.

  • Merci Jourdan! C'est tout à fait ca. J'ajouterais un peu du médical mais c'est dificile à dire qu'est-ce qu'on entend par cela: médicaments? matériel? tout dépend du type de catastrophe, évidemment.

  • Yes! more and more INGOs are developing specialized units, some times as subsidiary

  • @LenaW Correct!

  • Diego Vega made a comment

    Hello everyone! Good findings, but there are some missing. Hints: One international medical organization has two of them, plus a procurement unit... any guess?

  • Hello everyone. Great comments! Most of them refer to needs assessment as the first thing to do and you are completely right. Otherwise, how could we know what beneficiaries need, when and where? The question is, how to get reliable information? and what to do in the meantime? Any thoughts?

  • Hello everyone! Great to see so many different backgrounds around here! And some good experiences too. Share your stories, read other's experiences and don't hesitate to start a discussion or reply to your fellow learners!