Improving supply chain disaster preparedness: A decision process for secure site location

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


Purpose - Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and regional power outages from the past several years have all highlighted the low levels of disaster preparedness that exist at many firms. Supply chain disruptions caused by external events can have a significant financial and operational impact on firms not properly prepared. Therefore, improving disaster preparedness in supply chains is critical. One critical component of disaster management planning in supply chains is the storage of emergency supplies, equipment, and vital documents that will be needed in times of crisis. The goal of this paper is propose a decision process for establishing an efficient network of secure storage facilities that can effectively support multiple supply chain facilities. Design/methodology/approach - The authors use the five-stage disaster management process for supply chains as the framework for a proposed decision process for secure site locations. The decision process combines recommendations from FEMA's Disaster Management Guide with a set cover location model from the location sciences field to help establish a network of secure site locations. Findings - Storing emergency supplies at every supply chain facility can be cost-prohibitive. In addition, gaining access to emergency supplies that are stored at each facility may be prevented by some external events, such as fires or hurricanes, because items stored on-site are destroyed or are inaccessible. Therefore, the proposed secure site selection process can balance operational effectiveness and cost-efficiency by identifying the minimum number and possible locations of off-site storage facilities. Originality/value - One important contribution of the paper is that it combines recent recommendations for disaster preparedness in supply chains with established models in location sciences research to create an interdisciplinary solution to an important supply chain issue. Even though the storage of important documents, equipment, and materials is only one small part of disaster management planning, it is hoped that this model will do its share in helping supply chains become better prepared for the next emergency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-207
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


  • Contingency planning
  • Disasters
  • Emergency measures
  • Storage
  • Supply chain management


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