Disaster Response Planning in the Private Sector and the Role of Operations Research

  • Özlem Ergun
  • Gonca Karakus
  • Paul Kerl
  • Pinar Keskinocak
  • Julie L. Swann
  • Monica Villarreal
  • Matthew J. Drake
Chapter

Abstract

Organizations in the private sector such as The Home Depot (THD), Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and Waffle House have become actively involved in the disaster response operations in their communities. With the objective of becoming effective first responders, these companies have integrated a disaster response planning process to their business operations. We introduce the disaster response planning process implemented by THD after their experience with Hurricane Andrew. We describe in detail the components of this process, each of which requires different decisions to be made at different levels of the organization. We discuss how operations research methodologies could be used to assist decision makers in the disaster response setting, and we propose an optimization model for each of two of the decisions commonly found in a disaster response planning process: advance purchasing and inventory allocation. In addition to these exact methods, we suggest a scenario-based approach, which is more intuitive and allows to incorporate objectives that are harder to model, such as the relative value of the supplies.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Özlem Ergun
    • 1
  • Gonca Karakus
    • 1
  • Paul Kerl
    • 1
  • Pinar Keskinocak
    • 1
  • Julie L. Swann
    • 1
  • Monica Villarreal
    • 1
  • Matthew J. Drake
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Industrial and Systems EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Palumbo and Donahue Schools of BusinessDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA

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