Supply Chain Management Critical in Syrian Refugee Crisis
Burak Kazaz, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University Whitman School of Management, is an expert in global supply chains and managing uncertainty and risk. He is also “intimately familiar” with the terrain that the refugees currently fleeing Syria are trying to maneuver, having been born and raised in Ayvalik, Turkey, only four miles from the Greek island of Lesbos. Here he gives his expert advice on how supply chain management is critical in bringing aid to the refugees in order to survive the coming winter.
As reported in the news, there are about 5 million displaced Syrian refugees fleeing a civil war and ISIS extremists. Kazaz warns that the impending winter could mean a large scale tragedy for many refugees who are without proper shelter, heating, or nutrition.
“In Austria and Hungary, we are going to have a very harsh winter. We might be looking at a huge human tragedy because we don’t have any kind of shelter for them,” said Kazaz. “The point here is that nobody is prepared sufficiently for these types of tragedies and they are not prepared for the first response. You don’t see these kinds of issues in Europe and as much as they might want to help, many of these governments are not prepared and don’t have things in place to provide necessary living conditions for thousands of refugees.”
Kazaz says that knowledge of supply chain management can help improve conditions, mainly because many private entities, unlike governments, understand how to deliver goods in harsh conditions.
“In tragedies of this kind, food delivery becomes an important issue, as does medical delivery. They are very highly correlated. If you fail on the food side, you are going to have problems on the health side. We have to work with private entities because they know how to deliver in those conditions. A government organization by itself will not have the know-how for this kind of operations,” said Kazaz. “Private companies are better equipped in the sense that they know who can deliver things. If you wanted to reach the most remote places in the world, you have to look at how Coca-Cola delivers its products to those regions.”
“One entity can’t do it on its own. We need a collaboration. The UN would be able to provide leadership. They’ve done a very good job with malaria medicine in Africa, for example, and its distribution. They have an organization there specifically dedicated to Africa and malaria outbreaks. In the case of Syrian refugees, we don’t even have that. First would be to organize a specific group within the UN that will address the refugee challenges. They would probably have to partner with all these companies and private entities to make these deliveries.”
Burak Kazaz is the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He is a available to speak to media. To schedule a time, contact Kerri Howell at 315-443-3671 or firstname.lastname@example.org