An Approach for Managing Operating Assets for Humanitarian Development Programs

Milad Keshvari Fard, Mahyar Eftekhar, Felix Papier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Every year, humanitarian organizations assign a sizable portion of their limited financial resources to procure, operate and maintain operating assets, without which service delivery would be nearly impossible. In this study, using vehicles to represent operating assets, we identify policies for sizing and allocating operational capacity to minimize the expected deprivation costs in a humanitarian development context. First, we develop a stochastic dynamic programming model, and then an efficient heuristic policy that considers the interaction of asset purchasing and operating decisions when the budget is uncertain. Based on a dataset provided by a large international organization, we estimate the parameters of our model to run numerical experiments. Results demonstrate the following: (i) Although budget uncertainty increases the expected deprivation costs and decreases capacity utilization, the negative impact of budget uncertainty is mitigated if budget savings between periods is allowed; (ii) a policy for minimizing the expected deprivation costs over time may avoid using all available assets in all periods; (iii) in situations in which the variation in the criticality of missions is large, both the expected deprivation costs and fleet utilization decrease; and (iv) in most conditions, a centralized asset procurement model outperforms a decentralized model, not only in terms of logistic costs but also in minimizing the expected deprivation costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2132-2151
Number of pages20
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019


  • asset procurement
  • fleet management
  • humanitarian development programs
  • simultaneous allocation optimization
  • stochastic dynamic programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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