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June 26th - July 1st, 2015 | Neuchâtel, Switzerland


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Special Sessions

Panel Discussion on Humanitarian Logistics:
How can humanitarian logistics research become more relevant for practice?

Session Chair: Nathan Kunz Speakers: Maria Besiou (The Kühne Logistics University), Christophe Hambye (ICRC), Gyöngyi Kovács (Hanken School of Economics), Luk Van Wassenhove (INSEAD)

Humanitarian logistics plays a central role in disaster response operations. Its objective is to efficiently deliver lifesaving items such as medicines or food to victims of disasters. Because of its important role, humanitarian logistics has emerged as a growing field of research over the last decade. A large number of academic papers have been published on this topic in recent years, and the time is right to ask whether this research is making an impact on practice.


The aim of this panel discussion is to bring together practice and academia in order to share experiences and identify best practices that will make research more relevant to practice. The head of logistics of a major relief organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will describe main supply chain challenges faced by his organization, share his experiences with academic research projects and bring to the panel his ideas for successful collaboration with universities. Three leading researchers in humanitarian logistics, who are involved in practice oriented research projects, will share their perspective of research on humanitarian logistics, and speak about their experiences in doing research that is relevant for practice while being rigorous.


This panel discussion is of particular interest to any scholar who wants to do research in the field of humanitarian operations. By bringing together practice and academia, this discussion will also be of interest to all researchers concerned with making research more relevant to practice.


Operations Management in ETO-type industries

Organised by Martin Rudberg and Jonathan Gosling

The ‘engineer-to-order’ (ETO) sector, including construction, shipbuilding, and offshore (oil platforms, wind power, etc.), typically constitutes a major part of many countries GDP and, directly or indirectly, employs a lot of people. Still, most of the published research in operations and supply chain management has neglected the needs of the ETO sector. ETO-type industries typically face a number of unique challenges, as the products are often one-of-a-kind and/or customized. Bespoke methods, approaches and purchasing requirements have to be managed appropriately, and products are quite often, at least partially, produced on the site of use, resulting in temporary ‘factories’ and supply chains. How can Operations Management concepts be applied in these circumstances? We are open to a wide range of topics within this scope, but are particularly interested in papers that address the unique challenges of ETO situations.


International Society for Inventory Research

Organised by Krisztina Demeter and Zsolt Matyusz
The International Society for Inventory Research (ISIR) is a professional, nonprofit organization. It endeavors to provide those engaged in inventory research with an opportunity to exchange views and experiences on an international and interdisciplinary basis. It has four sections: economics, management, mathematical modelling and forecasting of inventories. The Society organizes

  • a biannual Symposium in Budapest, with around 150 participants (refereed papers are published in the International Journal of Production Economics)

  • a biannual Summer School on Inventory Modelling and Management, at changing locations (this year in Hamburg, Germany),

  • occasional events, next time a workshop on sustainable supply chains in Lyon, October 2015

For further information please visit ISIR’s website: www.isir.hu



Developing a Patient-Centered Healthcare Delivery Systems

Organised by Kenneth Boyer, Pedro Oliveira, Luv Sharma and Sarah Bourque (panel moderator/coordinator)

Incorporating ‘patient voice’ in the delivery of care is gaining a lot of attention among healthcare practitioners. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in the United States have recently begun to evaluate both patient experience (i.e. experiential quality) and adherence to standards (i.e. conformance quality) scores to determine reimbursement rates for hospitals. Although there are benefits in combining conformance and experiential quality, research reveals that hospitals experience tensions and cultural backlash from their caregivers (e.g. physicians and nurses) in doing so.

For instance, physicians often focus on evidenced-based practices supported by conformance quality and may consider patient experience as a mere “bonus” and irrelevant to the delivery of care. This panel is focused on gaining insights on how hospitals in other countries beyond the United States are able to combine conformance and experiential quality during the delivery of care. Specifically, we discuss process innovations in hospitals to develop a patient-centered approach to care delivery.  

Supply Chain and Process Management in the Justice System

Organised by Carolien de Blok, Dirk Pieter van Donk, Zoe Radnor

There has been call across many European countries to improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice system in order to meet the needs of the users and stakeholders (Carmona and Gronlund, 2003). Improvement initiatives have been started in many European member states, including England and Wales (Radnor & Bucci, 2010), Portugal (Martins & Carvalho, 2013), Finland (Pekkanen & Niemi, 2013), Italy (Steelman & Fabri, 2008) and the Netherlands (De Blok et al., 2014). In most of these countries aims are to process more cases successfully, bring suspects to court more quickly, and punish delinquents more effectively (e.g. Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, 2013).

Despite the many improvement initiatives, most governments still struggle to achieve sustainable, long-lasting improvements in the justice system as a whole (Fabri, 2007). This might be because the justice system faces a number of unique challenges. For example, performance aims cover both societal and operational achievements that do not necessarily align, the 'customer' to be served is society as a whole as well as the victim and suspect, and organizations and professionals are often independent and autonomous as well as monopolists in their respective fields. In addition, we observe that improvement initiatives have mainly been initiated and studied within organizations with little attention given to the justice chain (e.g. police working together with prosecution and courts in criminal justice). As such we lack knowledge about what characterizes justice processes and chains from an OM/SCM perspective. Furthermore, we know little about the implications of these characteristics for the application of SC principles, and their possible effects on performance from an organisational, political and societal perspective.

We are very interested to further explore the field of (criminal) justice from a process and chain perspective in order to shed light on these issues and eventually develop insights that will contribute to improving the justice system throughout Europe. We therefore welcome papers that address issues and topics within this scope. Examples of topics we would like to focus on are (but are not limited to); Characteristics of OM/SCM in the context of the justice system; The customer-citizen journey through the justice system; Service management in the justice system or, Digitization in the justice system.