Process Modularity in Humanitarian Supply Chains

Felicia Saiah

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Humanitarian crises, ever-growing in scale and complexity, impact millions across the globe. Central to an efficient response to these challenges is Humanitarian Supply Chain Management, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring aid reaches those in dire need. This thesis dives deep into the intricate role of process modularity in bolstering the responsiveness of these crucial supply chains. By segmenting the supply chain processes into flexible and reconfigurable modules, humanitarian organizations can swiftly adapt to ever-changing contexts, ensuring timely and efficient aid delivery.
This research journey unfolds with an in-depth exploration of the Doctors without Borders (MSF) supply chain during the tumultuous times of the Covid-19 pandemic. The nexus between process modularity and supply chain responsiveness is further unraveled through enlightening interviews with over 27 international humanitarian organizations. Drawing insights from the Frontline Humanitarian Logistics Initiative, the intricate facets of a modular humanitarian supply chain process model are illuminated.
This thesis not only unveils the immense potential of process modularity in humanitarian contexts but also sheds light on the operational intricacies of activating, deactivating, and resequencing processes. Through the lens of the dynamic capabilities framework, the mechanisms by which process modularity enhances sensing, seizing, and transforming capabilities, thereby amplifying responsiveness, are demystified.
As the humanitarian sector confronts escalating challenges, this work stands as a beacon for organizations seeking to refine their supply chain processes, positing modularity as a vital strategy to ensure timely aid delivery to those most in need.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
  • Grant, David, Degree supervisor
  • Vega Bernal, Diego, Supervisor
Award date27.10.2023
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-952-232-501-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-232-502-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • 512 Business and Management
  • process modularity
  • humanitarian supply chain management
  • responsiveness
  • dynamic capabilities


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