A Review of Articles on the Location of Humanitarian Logistics Facilities

Document Type : Review article


1 PhD student, Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.

3 Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Introduction: Despite significant technological advancements, today's world still grapples with various natural and man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, avalanches, wars, terrorism, and political unrest. These events not only impede sustainable development but can also cause severe and sometimes irreparable damage to the well-being and prosperity of communities. This necessitates an integrated logistics system, scientifically and comprehensively designed to meet crisis management needs. Such a system must have clear, predefined processes where all components function according to predetermined roles. Providing aid to disaster victims is a crucial stage of crisis management that must be planned before the occurrence of an event. Timely and efficient aid significantly reduces human and financial losses. Therefore, appropriate pre-crisis planning is essential to avoid being caught unprepared during natural disasters. Humanitarian logistics (HL) is one of the most critical issues in disaster operations and management. HL operations must be sustainable enough to function effectively under the uncertain and complex nature of disasters and crises. Many challenges in pre- and post-disaster phases lead to human and economic losses, making efficient design of HL operations essential. This study reviews articles published between 2004 and 2023 to examine optimization models for locating humanitarian logistics facilities and centers. The purpose is to understand current research trends in HL, particularly the optimization methods used for facility location, and to provide directions for future research.
Methods: To gain an overview of the research landscape and identify relevant articles and key researchers, the Web of Science database was used to search for pertinent keywords. This study includes all types of facility location problems and classifies the reviewed articles into deterministic and non-deterministic models. In the deterministic models table, the type of objective function, decision variables, model type, and solution methods are detailed. For non-deterministic models, the study focuses on stochastic programming and robust optimization approaches. The non-deterministic models table includes the type of objective function, decision variables, non-deterministic parameters, type of uncertainty, model type, and solution methods.
Results and discussion: The review identified 19 factors contributing to the decline of companies, from the 22 factors previously identified in the literature. Factors such as "market monopoly status," "oversupply," and "lack of cooperation culture among employees and managers" were excluded due to their lower importance, as determined by experts. For these identified factors, 32 localized and new strategies were determined and categorized into six groups: financial and economic strategies; marketing and customer orientation; human resources; knowledge-based strategies; structure and interactions; and production and operations efficiency. The hierarchical interpretive structural model of revitalization strategies indicates that these strategies are interdependent, helping and facilitating each other. Effective implementation should start from the lowest level of the model. Notably, although the strategies are categorized, the model shows that it is unnecessary to focus on all strategies within a single category simultaneously. Instead, the hierarchy clearly demonstrates the priority order from the bottom up and across different categories.
Conclusions: Reviving declining and bankrupt small and medium-sized companies, particularly in the food industry, is not a one-dimensional process and does not have a single strategy. Instead, it requires a combination of six strategy categories: financial and economic; marketing and customer orientation; human resources; knowledge-based strategies; structure and interactions; and production and operations efficiency. The revival process must be systematic, continuous, and gradual. This study can help researchers understand current optimization trends in HL and identify research gaps to contribute to societal well-being through their research.


Main Subjects

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