Modeling the values of private sector agents in multi-echelon humanitarian supply chains

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Humanitarian organizations (HOs) increasingly look to engage private sector supply chains in achieving outcomes. The right engagement approach may require knowledge of agents' preferences across multi-echelon supply chains to align private sector value creation with humanitarian outcomes. We propose a multi-attribute value analysis (MAVA) framework to elucidate such preferences. We formalize this approach and apply it in collaboration with a HO pilot aiming to facilitate better private sector availability of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in Uganda. We demonstrate how HOs could use criteria weights and value functions from MAVA for project evaluation; in the process, we reveal business model insights for importers, distributors, and retailers in the pilot. We also show how MAVA facilitates the impact assessment of hypothetical options (i.e., combinations of products, services, and subsidies) to guide HO resource deployment. This paper offers the first attempt, to our knowledge, to develop quantitative measures for economic and non-economic objectives involving all agents in a multi-echelon supply chain, either humanitarian or commercial. We hope that this initial step stimulates further research to validate results and develop the framework proposed.