The Yogyakarta Earthquake: IFRC’s First Experiences with the Decentralized Supply Chain

Published 25 Jan 2011
Reference 5590
Topic Operations
Region Asia
Length 14 page(s)
Language English
Prizes & Awards

Winner of 2010 EFMD Case Writing Competition Award, Supply Chain Management Category


On May 27th, 2006, a devastating earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Java. The Indonesian Red Cross, Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), set up a relief operation in the province of Yogyakarta. The NGO already had extensive experience in disaster relief, having battled a volcanic eruption two months earlier as well as two tsunamis during the preceding year. This operation, however, was slightly different. The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), of which PMI was a member, had just decentralized its supply chain for disaster relief by setting up three regional logistics units (RLU) in strategic locations across the globe. PMI’s relief operation in Yogyakarta was the first of the IFRC’s national societies to benefit from the support provided by the new RLU in Kuala Lumpur. The case looks back over ten years, tracing the substantial changes that supply chain decentralisation incurred at the organizational level, and the challenges thrown up by the process of establishing the RLUs. It is the final part of a series of three case studies on the reorganization of the IFRC supply chain

Teaching objectives

The objective of this case study is to portray a practical application of supply chain principles in the humanitarian sector, through the implementation of the decentralized supply chain at the IFRC. In particular, it becomes clear through this case study that an alignment between organizational readiness and the adoption of basic logistics components was a prerequisite for implementing the new supply chain model at the IFRC.

  • Humanitarian
  • Logistics
  • Red Cross
  • IFRC
  • Supply chain
  • Decentralization
  • Organizational change
  • Regional Logistics Units
  • Yogyakarta
  • Earthquake