Demand forecasting and order planning for humanitarian logistics: An empirical assessment

Journal of Operations Management
Available online 15 July 2016
In Press, Corrected Proof — Note to users
Demand forecasting and order planning for humanitarian logistics: An empirical assessment
Erwin van der Laana, Jan van Dalena, Michael Rohrmosera, Rob Simpsonb
Abstract
Humanitarian aid organizations are most known for their short-term emergency relief. While getting aid items to those in need can be challenging, long-term projects provide an opportunity for demand planning supported by forecasting methods. Based on standardized consumption data of the Operational Center Amsterdam of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-OCA) regarding nineteen longer-term aid projects and over 2000 medical items consumed in 2013, we describe and analyze the forecasting and order planning process. We find that several internal and external factors influence forecast and order planning performance, be it indirectly through demand volatility and safety markup. Moreover, we identify opportunities for further improvement for MSF-OCA, and for humanitarian logistics organizations in general.