Category Archives: Book review

New book: Relief Supply Chain for Disasters: Humanitarian, Aid and Emergency Logistics

Out at last, a more research-oriented anthology on humanitarian logistics called “Relief Supply Chain for Disasters: Humanitarian, Aid and Emergency Logistics“.

And if the entire book isn’t necessary, one can always get just individual chapters on e.g. different types of partnerships, comparisons of different disasters, various aspects of peacekeeping activities (e.g. local sourcing in peacekeeping) etc., greening relief supply chains, or even an analysis that looks into the impact of disasters in light of the logistics performance of a country. Enjoy!


New book: Humanitarian Logistics

Fresh from the oven, it arrived today on my desk, Christopher & Tatham‘s new book on “Humanitarian Logistics: Meeting the challenge of preparing for and responding to disasters“. It collects important insights from practitioners as well as academics. A wonderful read.

Recently, another book came out as well, Pamela Steele‘s “Humanitarian Logistics: A career for women“. It is a mosaic of inspiring stories of humanitarian logisticians, mostly from the field – and complements the academic view rather well.

The next related book (called “Relief Supply Chain for Disasters: Humanitarian, aid and emergency logistics“) is on its way, coming out in May and in that coinciding with the first number of the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.  Stay tuned:-)


e-ducation: transport geography on the web

Who said e-books had to be books in pdf format on the web? The Geography of Transport Systems goes to show that e-ducation can indeed be different, more interlinked (or hyperlinked), more up to the user what to read first and how to link back and look up terms etc. What is more, it actually comes with figures on slides for educational purposes. I loved the “for personal or classroom use only” (emphasis added). It’s just to wish more SCM (or OM, LM, you name it) textbooks would follow suit…


The watchdog – recent publications in humanitarian logistics

There are many who claim to be first, having written an entire “book” on humanitarian logistics. If you search for it on Amazon, you’d find that there are a few in the publishing process, e.g. Tomasini & van Wassenhove’s long-awaited overview (that should finally be commercially available in Apr 2009). Just in December 2008, two doctoral dissertations were published in humanitarian logistics: by  Ramina Samii and Sabine Schulz. Ramina’s thesis presents a number of case studies and a typology of partnerships of humanitarian organisations, while Sabine’s thesis looks at the concept of co-operation from the perspective of performance measurement. Whether first or not, they are definitely worth the reading.


New book: Logistics and Supply Chain Management

After receiving it twice within a week, it’s time to have a look at Patrik Jonsson‘s new textbook on, as it says, Logistics and Supply Chain Management. As a completely new book it has the advantage of working in SCM thoroughly through all of it – as opposed to 7th editions of other books… Patrik managed to avoid the logistics functions trap, i.e. has chapters on “the material flow” instead of treating each function separately. Well done. Most of the mini-cases in the book are European ones (including many Nordic ones, for all of those who talk about “going to Europe” when crossing the Baltic Sea or the North Sea😉 ), not surprisingly, McGraw-Hill also positioned the book for the European market.


PS. A pity it’s written in English, though – I’m hunting for a good book in Swedish for our basic course…

SCM course books – revisited

There are a number of interesting new books on the SCM course book market, e.g. HUBS’ co-operative effort of a book on “global logistics and supply chain management“. Having said so, it is always difficult to find THE course book on SCM. Apart from mastering the content, a course-book should be well written, and ideally, be easy to adopt in a particular class. The last bit is tricky as it depends on the level of the class, the focus of the course, as well as e.g. regional interests in particular topics.

Thus a bit more than a year ago we discussed the issue of demand management related to course books. Things obviously changed since then – although publishing houses still visit us way after we have to make our decisions for the next year, some have implemented Árni’s idea of customised books on demand. Apparently a big hit in the US, custom publishing is now entering the European market as well. This will certainly facilitate innovative courses and a differentiation in the “course market”, plus the adaptation of course materials to questions of particular regional interest.

Out of curiosity, has any of you SCM educators used this kind of a system? What are your experiences with it?


The box

What comes to your mind if you were to think of a book that is fascinating to the extent that you can’t put it down and read it in one go? A book that has an interesting storyline? One that is spiced up with references you could actually use in your research? And examples for your teaching? That reads like a novel?

Any suggestions? No? Now what about this, a book about containers. Something the author himself calls “[a] soulless aluminum or steel box held together with welds and rivets, with a wooden floor and two enormous doors at one end: the standard container has all the romance of a tin can“. This is not a misprint, rather, me being surprised how you can write such a fascinating piece on “the box” (which is actually the title of the book). Popular science meeting SCM. And I say SCM because of the links Marc Levinson makes between containerisation and globalisation, enabling first international trade, then global supply chains – where transportation costs can almost be neglected. It links a number of disciplines, from transportation to macro-economics, transport geography to economic geography, political economics and industrial relations – just and only via one innovation and how it changed the world. Obviously, “[t]he value of this utilitarian object lies not in what it is, but in how it is used.”

There are lots of reviews of the book to be found, including interviews with the author, essays putting it into perspective – but I can only recommend to read the book itself.


PS. Thanks to Marianne Jahre for recommending the book!