During the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, FEMA was criticized for failing to deliver essential supplies to the disaster site in time.
Despite the agency’s shortcomings, the White House and the US House of Representatives commended the efforts of private organizations such as Home Depot and Walmart in providing aid and resources immediately following the disaster. These organizations reportedly saved many lives during the disaster.
According to experts, FEMA should learn from these private organizations to develop a more effective supply chain for disaster relief. Instead of relying on troops to carry out rescue activities, the agency should focus on building a more efficient supply chain. In response to the criticism, FEMA prepared various food and ice in anticipation of another hurricane season in 2006.
The failure of the hurricane disaster to materialize resulted in the agency sending out over 300 truckloads of food, which cost approximately $43 million. Most relief efforts are carried out by government agencies or non-profit organizations focusing on humanitarian assistance.
While these organizations can provide immediate assistance, the private sector can help improve the efficiency of the disaster relief effort by developing a more effective supply chain. This can be done through various tools and techniques, such as the logistics network.
Due to the increasing specialization among organizations, outsourcing has been observed in various areas such as business-to-government and business-to-business services. This includes communication and relaying metrics.
Industry Outsourcing Practices
For a long time, outsourcing has been practiced in the transportation service industry for humanitarian relief efforts. For instance, UPS has been a logistics provider for various relief efforts, such as those of UNICEF, the American Red Cross, and the World Food Program.
Aside from providing immediate assistance, the private sector can also help improve the efficiency of the disaster relief effort by developing a more effective supply chain. One of the most prominent companies benefiting from this practice is Walmart, which has a huge inventory and a well-established transportation network.
Although there are already many practical experiences of the private sector in helping the victims of disasters, the direct link between the beneficiaries and the logistics organizations is still in its early stages. These private enterprises are not expected to increase the efficiency of the relief effort, but they are expected to reduce their economic costs.
Despite the various advantages of the private sector’s logistics expertise, the lack of full utilization of this practice has hindered the effectiveness of the disaster relief effort. This is why government and non-profit organizations must explore the use of this practice in their operations.
The concept of a direct connection between the private sector and the disaster victims is a shift from the traditional dyadic relationship. This new structure can help reduce the time it takes to organize and carry out the relief effort. It can also help improve the efficiency of the disaster relief effort by developing a more effective supply chain. One of the most important factors that can be considered when implementing this practice is the use of a proactive response.
A reactive response is typically less costly than a proactive one, which involves acquiring and delivering supplies in real-time. Since a disaster strikes immediately following a process, a reactive response can cause delays in the delivery of supplies. On the other hand, a proactive response can help prepare the organization for a potential disaster. Still, it can also be very costly due to the demand and incidence uncertainties.
Unfortunately, when it comes to a disaster relief effort’s operation, combining a proactive response and a reactive response is not ideal. This type of combination can be very costly due to the lack of proper planning and the situation’s uncertainties. Besides this, the use of this practice can also be difficult to study due to the varying situations involved in the disaster relief effort.
Streamlining Business Disaster Management: A Case of MERLENN
Until now, there has been no effective way to deal with situations that threaten the safety of others. Due to the lack of effective emergency planning and response procedures, many people cannot save their lives during an unpredictable event.
Through the creation of MERLENN®, the team at Counterspherics was able to identify the hidden corners of unpredictability and develop a strategy to improve emergency personnel’s response time.
Unlike other organizations, businesses can’t automate their disaster response. Instead, they can use their existing processes and procedures to plan and respond quickly to minimize the impact of a disaster on their operations. This strategy aims to keep their doors open to allow their employees to continue working.
Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and manmade threats can affect people differently. For instance, riots or workplace violence can affect different regions. Through the creation of MERLENN®, the team at Counterspherics was able to develop a strategy to help organizations create an effective and consistent response to crises.
MERLENN® differentiates itself by allowing those most susceptible to the crisis to receive real-time updates about the situation. This eliminates the need to react rushedly and helps them make informed decisions. Unfortunately, many people cannot act immediately due to the lack of information.
The lack of timely information and the need for calm and measured reactions can lead to the tragic consequences of an already awful situation. Humans are not robots and must react a certain way to ensure they can adapt to conditions. With the help of MERLENN®, people can now respond to threats and hazards in a standard and well-defined manner.
Ensuring The Safety of Thousand Through MERLENN®
To learn more about how MERLENN® is used by researchers worldwide to understand the capabilities of technology in mitigating disasters, readers are encouraged to check out their video-animated case study about the 2011 Japan triple disaster. The study showcases how a California university used its system to provide real-time alerts and instructions to their students and families in Japan on where to go, what to do, and how to get out of the country after the disaster. Counterspherics Labs is constantly working on safety and threat management systems to help people and businesses in crisis events.
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