Posted: December 12, 2018


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PART A: Critical Review

Summary of the Journal

Floods, windstorms, draught, and earthquakes are some of the natural disasters that can affect any population around the world. Disasters vary from one region to another prompting the need to have emergency relief response networks. Relief organizations build pre-positioned warehouses in different locations around the world to assist in aid delivery within the shortest time possible (Folinas 2013, p. 112). “Pre-positioning focuses on various variables, like where, an occurrence of disasters mentioned above can be detected” (Pettit and Beresford 2009, p.454). It improves the capacity and response to major disasters, time saving consequently reducing the cost of operation.

There are numerous researches in both theory and application concerning the facility location problems. However, there has been little consideration from the humanitarian relief aspect. The journal focused solely on the decisions regarding the pre-positioning of humanitarian relief warehouses in terms of large-scale and micro. It further penned an analysis of the managerial implications of those decisions (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 616). Further, the journal acknowledges the use of multi criteria decision-making (MCDM) used to locate suitable areas for humanitarian relief logistics internationally and locally. The MCDM puts together the “Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)” to determine definite significance criteria and “fuzzy-TOPSIS” in obtain the final ranking of a location (Folinas 2013, p.111; Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).

Humanitarian relief logistics entails designing and developing logistic frameworks and the number of facilities in a given locality, which includes their actual location. Further, the fundamental decision areas include design of the warehouse, policies governing inventory movement, the ideal location of a facility and the mode of transport from the place.

Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford also considered a combination of “Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)” and “Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS)” as the tools that could be employed in determining facility location(2015, p. 617). For instance, they are utilized in establishing an ideal location for retail outlets, warehouses, retail outlets, centres for distributing relief food, and storage yards (Önüt and Soner 2008, p.1554).

According to Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford (2015, p. 618),“The AHP and TOPSIS methods use exact values for experts' criteria, sub-criteria, and alternatives. However, in many practical cases, the experts' preferences are uncertain, and they are reluctant or unable to make numerical comparisons because in real-life decision problems, perfect knowledge is not easily acquired, it is often unquantifiable or incomplete and may not be obtainable under many conditions.”

The author further asserts that, “Ambiguities and vagueness usually go hand in hand with the qualitative criteria that eventually results to fuzzy decision-making.” During measurements, “criteria weights and alternative ratings are given by linguistic variables that are expressed as fuzzy numbers.” “In this paper, fuzzy-TOPSIS is used in ranking and evaluation,” as outlined in the procedures below.

Stage 1- involves evaluation and approval of alternative criteria and determining the decision hierarchy. AHP provides decision-making of a group, where decision-makers provide their experience and knowledge in decisions making of hierarchical fashion, putting the objective of the decision at the top of the hierarchy and the criteria, sub-criteria and decision alternatives on each descending level of the hierarchy (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 618).

Stage 2: Determining the best position for the warehouse. In this stage, approval of weights for each criterion is carried out using fuzzy-TOPSIS. “Fuzzy sets theory can be used to present linguistic values and to assign the relative importance of criteria” (Folinas 2013, p.114). It also involves the evaluation of alternative warehouse locations and the establishment of a final decision for ranking of warehouses in their ideal locations.


Fundamental Principles of AHP-TOPSIS Technique

  • Decomposition- “the technique integrates expert opinion and evaluations score into a elementary hierarchy by decomposing complicated issues from higher to lower hierarchies” (Maheshwarkar and Sohani 2013, 28; Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).
  • Comparative judgments- “The techniques are characterized by pair-wise comparisons, which are both used in comparison of alternatives with respect to various criteria and in estimating criteria weights” (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).
  • Principle of synthesizing the pair-wise priorities above into composite measure of the decision alternatives or options (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).
  • “Selecting the best alternative, which has the shortest distance from the positive ideal solution and the longest distance from the negative ideal solution” (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).
  • The principle of simplicity- lowest-common denominator aspect of the technique is simple to use. It lacks ambiguity (Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 617).

Strengths and Weaknesses of AHP-TOPSIS Technique

Strengths of the Tool

  1. Researchers can utilize the technique in their future investigations while evaluating alternative warehouse locations.
  2. The tool utilizes a pragmatic approach in determining the ideal location of warehouses since decision makers survey the macro and micro-location levels before settling for the best solution.
  3. Managers use the technique to assess a range of possible warehouse locations before settling for a concrete solution. Thus, managers make the right decisions.
  4. The technique utilizes efficient decision making since the qualitative criteria gives ambiguous and vague results.

Weaknesses of the Tool

  1. Comparisons rely on personal or subjective judgments, thus there is a possibility of inconsistency in the decisions made. Values used by the experts can be uncertain, inaccurate, unquantifiable or incomplete, thus less reliability.
  2. Socio-economic environments can pose difficulties to decision makers since they may fail to consider all the fundamental elements of a problem.
  3. The technique is bulky and time consuming in making decisions


Research Question

Facility location is one of the most complex decision that relief organizations need to make while building warehouses. What are some of the techniques that such organizations can use to locate an optimal place, considering the cost, distance, coverage, and waiting time?

Data containing quantitative aspects can be used to conduct research on the above-mentioned problem because quantitative data always has a limited number of alternative values, which increase the effectiveness of the AHP-TOPSIS technique(Roh, Pettit, Harris and Beresford 2015, p. 619).The data makes it easier to come up with new measures. Potential sources of biasness can be investigated with the help of the unquantifiable knowledge from expert, which they use in coming up with the decision criteria. Follow up studies can be conducted to counter the biasness that arises. This research cannot only be learned from books as the phenomena is well analysed through the process of development and critical examination of the measures for the weaknesses in the technique.


PART B: How supply chain managers or logistics managers might seek to enhance logistics performance

Logistic performance can be enhanced by first determining the relationship between supply chain dynamism (SCD) and supply chain integration (SCI) on logistic performance (Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie 2016, p.668). Supply chain management is made up of integration between manufacturing, supply chain partners, customers, distributors and suppliers.

According to Campuzano & Mula (2011, p.139) and Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie(2016, p.668), the supply Chain Integration (SCI) measures the extent to which an organization or a company manages its internal and external organizational functions to enable efficient cash flow, information, products and services. SCI has a positive impact on company performance since it increases logistic performance. The conceptual framework below depicts the extent to which logistics performance depends on SCI and SCD.


Conceptual Framework

Supply Chain Dynamism (SCD) represents the pace of change in products and process. It increases the knowledge capacity of organizations thus encouraging innovations. SCD enables companies to acquire superiority by improving their processing capabilities and finally their products (Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie 2016, p.669). Supply Chain Integration increases the rate at which organizations respond to volatility of supply chain dynamism by improving supply chain visibility and knowledge of operation (Kersten 2008, p.670; Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie 2016, p.669). These conditions make manufacturers to monitor flow of products, information and forecasting by using integrated information systems thus improving decision-making. An increase in supply chain dynamism influences supply chain integration and logistics performance positively and vice versa.

How to Enhance Logistic Performance

According to Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie (2016, p.670), the environment surrounding an organization shapes its processes and structures. An organization should match its processes and structures to the environment for it maximize profits. The logistics managers or supply chain managers should understand that the association of integrated supply chain and logistics performance varies according to the level of supply chain dynamism.

Genoulaz, Campagne, Llerena, and Pellegrin (2013, p.139) aver that the relationship between SCI and logistic performance should be well intercepted. Supply chain integration incorporates different sectors under the integration context such as supplier integration, information integration, customer integration, logistics integration, distribution integration, internal integration, procurement integration and product integration.

Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie (2016, p.670) opined that logistic performance generates great value by accommodating every client’s delivery request as it incorporates every organizations capability to deliver goods and services when required by customers at acceptable amount and in the quantity required by the customer. Comprehending the components of supply chain integration will enable the organizations to understand its relationship with the chain dynamism and logistics performance. The components are:

           Internal integration- this is where the functions of an organization work hand in hand and interact to come up with solutions for  problems experienced by an organization and achievements of  the organizations’ set objectives. Internal integrations reduce functional barriers and stimulate collaboration in cross-functional departments. These satisfies customers’ needs and improve relationship between providers of products and services to the customers in a timely, effective and efficient manner thus increasing logistic performance (Kersten2008, p.671; Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie2016, p.670).

External integration- deals which manufacturers developing collaborative exchange of information and joint supply chain plans, activities and processes with suppliers and customers. External integration improves learning, communicating, transferring and applying knowledge, acquired from organizations or from customers and suppliers to supply chain partners” (Kersten 2008, p.671).

“The supplier integration component unifies the suppliers, manufacturers and the purchasing constituents” (Kersten 2008, p.673). Benton (2014, p.113) acknowledges that customer integration is a directive whereby organizations work closely with customers and consider them as a crucial part of the supply chain. Customer integration increases logistic performance by promoting openness and a problem-sharing attitude thus helping manufacturers get feedback on quality and delivery of products.

Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie(2016, p.671) define the second important component of increasing logistic performance in a firm is supply chain dynamism (SCD). SCD moderates the functionality of SCI and logistics performance. Organization both large and small should embrace rapid technological changes by being flexible enough. However increased dynamism complexity leads to an increase in risks and vulnerability, which can disrupt the supply chain functions. A disruption at one point leads to an adjustment in another, which is expensive and costly. It can also inhibit interaction among the chain partners as functionalities differ.  A solid SCI allows firms to concentrate on SCI and information processing capacity when it (SCD) is raised.

Kersten & Mansi (2009, p.134) acknowledges that incorporating both SCI and SCD enhances logistics performance if well controlled. When SCD is high, firms should concentrate on increasing SCI in terms of information processing capacity in order to acquire superior performance. The information processing capacity entails: information sharing, product development, joint planning and forecasting through an integrated system. The components mentioned above increase logistic performance. This performance can be tested through a number of indicators as shown below.

  1. Flexibility to change the size of the order volume or decomposition during logistic performance
  2. Delivery of desired quantities on consistent basis
  3. Customer lead time and load efficiency
  4. Inventory visibility
  5. Total logistics cost
  6. Reliable delivery performance

Both SCI and SCD assists organizations in realizing their capabilities and resources both internally and externally thus optimizing their supply chain. This improves logistic performance, which is the core function. It also reduces net costs of doing business and total cost of delivery to customers by obtaining, sharing and combining information and knowledge with supply chain partners in immediate organizations.

Further Research

Further research should be carried out on both large and small sized firms in different countries. This is because the external environment of one country can differ from that of another. A further research on the different sizes of firms has different chains of operation in the supply chain management and managerial decision-making (Lee, Seo and Dinwoodie2016, p.670). Both hard and soft measures of logistics performance differ from one country to another. Several developing countries are embracing the dynamic technology at a high rate, which can differ from first class countries, which have already embraced the technology.

PART C: Perceptions of wet and dry maritime specialists’ regarding maritime bulk freight flows to 2050

Climate change has been a hotly debated topic globally for the past six decades. And as a result, different nations have instigated measures designed to lower the amount of carbon emissions being channelled into the atmosphere in a bid to reduce global warming (Shove 2010, p.1274). The international shipping sector is one of the areas receiving closer attention.

Dinwoodie, Tuck and Rigot-Mueller (2014,p.64) assert that, “the sustainability of global trading systems including international shipping is under scrutiny.” In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, shipping companies have changed the design and operations of their ships in the past few years. “Early career specialists have different perceptions as it pertains to the trends in global dry and wet bulk shipping flows up to 2050 for the ship types, since ships produce the second highest total volume of carbon emissions.”

Dinwoodie, Tuck and Rigot-Mueller (2014,p.70) perceive that “the demand for raw materials (dry bulk) to Europe and North America would rise by 89% from 2005 to 2050 (1.413% CAR).”Other locations globally, besides Europe and North America, are expected to register four times the demand and this would result in the rise in ship movements. Early career specialists also assert that the changes in bunker prices may significantly influence dry bulk spot freight rates.

Further, Dinwoodie, Tuck and Rigot-Mueller (2014, p.71) connotes that “any market based frameworks designed to lower shipping emissions, for instance, bunker fuel levies would have minimal effect on fuel consumption by ship operators, even in a substantial time graph.” On the other hand, considering the many substitutes for steam coal, shipping companies will absorb approximately half of any bunker fuel price rises and as a result, the sector will be much more receptive to changes in the market. Therefore, early career specialist predict a rise in dry bulk freight flows, Dinwoodie, Landamore & Rigot-Muller (2014,p.64) aver that this would implicate policy formulations designed to manage shipping emissions in order to minimize their effects on climate change.

According to Dinwoodie, Tuck and Rigot-Mueller (2013,p.557), the demand for wet bulk shipping has not changed since 1978 so this indicates that the sector will register limited growth. If the production of oil in developed continues to reduce in the next 30 years, then by 2030 the current output levels would require 63% of 2010 oil consumption, reducing to 40.9% by 2050. Researchers predict a 19.2% reduction in demand though due to long run elasticity, the tanker market will be relatively unresponsive to bunker price changes. Therefore, market based reactions designed to influence shipping emissions would be relatively ineffectual in both the short and long term. Dinwoodie, Tuck and Rigot-Mueller (2013,p.558) posit that early career specialists are uncertain about the changes in the wet bulk freight movements. Most of them give conservative opinions, which imply universal uncertainty. Therefore, policy makers, trade associations, and professional bodies should develop a detailed operational best practice that focus on emission reductions, plan investments and implement technical measures to achieve emissions reductions.

Applying Hard Systems Analysis (HSA) to compare the stances of wet and dry bulk specialists

Jackson (2007, p.135) defines the Hard System Analysis (HSA) as a problem solving sequence designed to address the qualitative and quantitative problems. The process can be repetitive depending on the information being gathered or in case of a situational change. The HSA sequence of problem solving is assistive in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the stances of the dry and wet bulk specialists.  According to Shi (2009, p.113), the first stage of the process entails defining the problem and what needs to be done. For instance, dry bulk specialists predict a rise in dry bulk flows around the world in the coming years. However, wet bulk specialists are uncertain about the changes.

There stances indicate that there is a possibility of emissions being a point of concern in the coming years, which indicates that their stances have policy implications. Therefore, the second step of HSA is to redefine the objectives. The fundamental objective is to reduce emissions as much as possible and therefore, all the decisions made should focus on enhancing sustainability. According to Dinwoodie, Landamore and Rigot-Muller (2014,p.64), shortening of global hauls, canal upgrades, and replacing the current ship types with the environmental friendly models are some of the ideas that policy makers have in place.

Further, the HSA involves the systems synthesis and selection, which entails identifying and exploring viable alternatives and selecting the most promising one. Finally, after strong measures have been put in place, the HSA instigates processes to monitor the system. Information is continuously gathered and modifications implemented where necessary. Thus, the Hard Systems Analysis enables scholars to understand the dry and wet specialist’s stance and offers the pathway to alternatives that can be implemented to ensure that the objectives of any given program are attained.

Evaluate the contribution that HSA offers to understand the differences in perceptions between the two groups

Dinwoodie, Landamore and Rigot-Muller (2014, p.70) focused on dry bulk flows internationally and according to the early career specialists, dry bulk flows are bound to increase by 2050. As a result, emissions are bound to increase. The dry and bulk career specialists take distinct perceptions regarding the future flows globally. “Estimates revealed early career specialists' perceptions that bunker price changes impact dry bulk spot freight rates substantially.” However, this may not affect ship movements since ship operators may choose to absorb the costs. Therefore, the bulk flow specialists take a progressive perception about the entire sector. On the other hand, the wet bulk flow specialists take a conservative approach on the sector and they believe there will be minimal changes regarding future prospects in the sector, which means that they are uncertain about changes in the industry. Dinwoodie, Landamore and Rigot-Muller (2013, p.559) asserts connotes that policy makers should put these uncertainties into consideration when formulating policies.

The HSA defines these perceptions and establishes ways in which they can influence the formulation of maritime policies. Since the HSA uses a sequence, scholars will be able to outline exclusively the perceptions surrounding the two groups. The outcomes will define the choice of objectives, in this case, what needs to be done to reduce ship emissions by 2050. Further, the HSA will facilitate the analysis and selection of the best alternatives that looks promising and is in line with the objectives. The modification stage focuses on analysing their perceptions and if they can be improved over times to meet the pre-determined objectives. 

Critical assessment of how Input-Output Analysis and the “Green Bulls eye” can assist managers to enhance the sustainability of smaller ports

Larger ports employ constant environmental management tools as compared to smaller ports, which continuously struggle with sustainability issues. The Journal focuses on sustainability issues that touch on smaller ports in Cornwall and Devon. Kuznetsov, Dinwoodie, Gibbs, Sansomand Knowles (2015, p.59) asserts that,

“Smaller ports possess insufficient resources or technical expertise to engage specialists required to assess the impact of their operations on port sustainability. Further, complex legislation and dynamic stakeholder expectations make compliance increasingly challenging as environmental legislations especially in environmentally sensitive regions, continuously confront Harbour Masters (HMs).”

The mentioned elements adversely affect small ports and as a result threaten their ultimate survival. Managers strive to ensure sustainability and at the same time maintain commercial viability while placing stakeholder needs and demands in the middle of all operations. Compliance is important because the ports are a source of employment for many, a source of tourist attraction, and a tool for growing & maintaining the local economy. Therefore, lack of sustainability can severely affect the ports and this consequently destroys the local economy and employment. Managers can use Input-Output Analysis and the “Green Bulls-eye” methods to ensure sustainability of these ports.

Input-Output Analysis

Three functional units define input-output processes and these include “strategic processes, service processes that are tactical, and operational processes. The strategic level processes define the present and future operations, tactical focus on levels of services & quality while operational processes take place at the output levels” (Kuznetsov, Dinwoodie, Gibbs, Sansomand Knowles 2015, p.59). Maritime operations involve all these operations. Ships undergo these procedures while at the port to operate effectively and this may include marine fuel bunkering, anchoring, and ballast water exchange. All this activities have an impact on the environment. For instance, there is emission to air soil & sediments, discharge to water, production of waste, changes in aquatic ecosystems, resource consumption, development of the port on land or sea, and odourin the water (Darbra, Pittam, Royston, Darbra, and Journee 2009, p.1397).

Darbraet al. (2009,p.1397) aver that small ports are exposed to high risks, for instance, bunkering operations can lead to oil spills at the coast and this leads to catastrophic effects on beaches, food chains, and the fishing communities.  Conversely, Edoho (2008, p.212) asserts that anchoring can permanently destroy environments, which can never be replaced. The input-output system employs several techniques, which Harbour Masters (small ports managers) can utilize to ensure sustainability.

The self-diagnosis method (SDM) is one of the fundamental techniques utilized by large ports to enhance sustainability. The method identifies environmental risks and establishes priorities for appropriate action and compliance. Port managers are required to complete a checklist that analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The outcomes benchmark performance against targets and outlines strategic options that can be employed to enhance performance (Eco Ports 2010, p.1).

Awareness training and tougher regulations have proved effective for large ports so they can be implemented on smaller ports. Awareness is done among port employees and users on the importance of sustainability. Conversely, “the regulations are designed to bridge the gap between environmental aspirations and practice” (Kuznetsov, Dinwoodie, Gibbs, Sansom and Knowles 2015, p.60). Further, port managers should conduct frequent environmental audits in specific areas such as handling, storage of prescribed materials, waste emissions, fishing zones, wetlands, areas of cultural interests, regions of scientific importance and adherence to conventions and codes regarding marine pollution.

Managers in small ports should implement the Port environmental review system (PERS), which is a tool designed to assist ports in implementing an environmental management system (EMS). The PERS develops the components within EMS to raise its effectiveness. Eco ports have several guidelines and sample documents that offer independent reviews about EMS (Eco Ports 2006, p.1).

The Green Bulls-eye

According to Dinwoodie, Tuck, Knowles, Benhin and Sansom (2012,p.63), port managers should begin by acquainting themselves with the 11 Dimensions of Port Sustainability. They include proactive partnerships, strategic planning for the future, safety management, stakeholder engagement, environmental knowledge & awareness, effectiveness of management processes, business planning & management, asset management & maintenance, environmental management, change management, and customer service & satisfaction. Although port managers need these skills, they are ingrained in the Port Sustainability Management System (PSMS) as well. Further, the study indicates that sustainability is measured by pillars. Normally, pillars support a roof and floors of a structure and if one of the pillars is removed or damaged, then the entire structure could be compromised. Therefore, the PSMS assists port managers to have simple representations of the pillars in the form of a bull’s-eye target. The representations encourage them to measure, improve, and replace damaged pillars.

Dinwoodie et al. (2012, p.64) opines that the bull’s eye target focuses at the centre of the entire system, which contains the sustainable practices of smaller ports. All the assessments conducted seek to trigger immediate attention on areas that need improvement. For instance, a port should have reliable data on habitat composition & conditions (from scientific research), should have assets with good future life expectancy, a harbour should have a safety record, use extensive research to identify environmental issues & measures to minimize impact, and ability to engage with stakeholders & influence their perceptions. Furthermore, the port has well-established policies and procedures that govern communication with customers in a bid to enhance safe-customer experience. The green bulls-eye enables the port to establish a strong working relationship with governing bodies that lead to good working partnerships, which consequently lead to better work practice hence reducing operational costs.



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