Applying Lean Six Sigma in Humanitarian Logistics: Evidence from Real and Hypothetical Cases

Robert Lorin Cook, Sean Patrick Goffnett, Omar Keith Helferich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humanitarian logistics is critical to providing relief to people in regions affected by disaster. The initial response to catastrophe is often manual and complex. Humanitarian efforts that leverage advanced methods and technologies in the early phases of relief may be limited. Given the challenging environment in which humanitarian logistics generally take place, an initial response may demand a basic, low-tech response with planning tools and techniques that are complementary to other tactics and are relatively easy to employ until additional resources become available. This study examines literature on humanitarian logistics and process improvement and presents case scenarios that explore the application of lean six sigma tools in humanitarian logistics. There are numerous methods and tools (e.g., project charters, cause/effect diagrams) described in the paper that are highly accessible for most people. The paper demonstrates the applicability of contemporary industry tools in humanitarian logistics and contributes to current research by exploring urgent global needs in relation to conceptual and practical responses. This paper also expands the application of lean six sigma in logistics and supply chain management by addressing challenges in humanitarian relief.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-57
JournalDistribution Business Management Journal
StatePublished - 2012


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