Production and Operations Management

Collaborative Prepositioning Network Design for Regional Disaster Response

Journal Article

We present a collaborative prepositioning strategy to strengthen the disaster preparedness of the Caribbean countries, which are frequently hit by hurricanes. Since different subsets of countries are affected in each hurricane season, significant risk pooling benefits can be achieved through horizontal collaboration, which involves joint ownership of prepositioned stocks. We worked with the intergovernmental Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency to design a collaborative prepositioning network in order to improve regional response capacity. We propose a novel insurance‐based method to allocate the costs incurred to establish and operate the proposed collaborative prepositioning network among the partner countries. We present a stochastic programming model, which determines the locations and amounts of relief supplies to store, as well as the investment to be made by each country such that their premium is related to the cost associated with the expected value and the standard deviation of their demand. We develop a realistic data set for the network by processing real‐world data. We conduct extensive numerical analyses and present insights that support practical implementation. We show that a significant reduction in total inventory can be achieved by applying collaborative prepositioning as opposed to a decentralized policy. Our results also demonstrate that reducing the replenishment lead time during the hurricane season and improving sea connectivity are essential to increasing the benefits resulting from the network.

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