Relief requirements for public health and humanitarian events are in general both unknown in size and type, and are affected by dynamic and hard to measure factors such as geographic location, local economy, infrastructure, social and political conditions, etc. Preparing for long-term development and response to emergent events often involves uncertainty in timing, scope, or scale. Pre-planning for these situations requires an understanding of forecasting, distribution network design, and strategies for managing the uncertainty. This course will examine methods and models for making pre-planning decisions and explore the significant value that is obtained through informed decision-making in advance of an unpredictable event.


Tactical and strategic members of non-governmental organizations and private corporations involved in the humanitarian relief efforts, U.S. federal government employees, U.S. state or local government employees, humanitarian foundation members, program managers, directors of field operations, disaster relief managers, director of logistics and inventory, and logistics officers


  • Develop and apply analytical models to aid in distribution and routing decisions under uncertain conditions.
  • Identify and apply the appropriate forecasting technique considering characteristics such as seasonality and trends.
  • Provide immediate impact to their organization through learnings gained from applied and real-world case studies.
  • Learn to bring NGOs, businesses or government entities together to enhance collaboration, cooperation and communication.
  • Discover current trends and procedures to help their organizations and team members get ahead and stay ahead of the curve.
  • Build a critical knowledge base to make tactical decisions around inventory, routing and distribution.
  • Deliver best-practices to measure and evaluate outcomes of humanitarian relief efforts.
  • Ultimately transform the humanitarian sector with increased capacity to participate in planning and strategic decision-making for effective supply chain management.


Pre-Course Activities (2.5 hrs) - Online via HELIX platform

Classroom Activities (2 days) - Georgia Tech Global Learning Center

NOTE: Pre-course activities will conducted online using the HELIX online learning management system. Access instructions will be provided to registrants when details become available.

Pre-Course Activities - Conducted online via HELIX
  • Distribution Network Design – 2 hours
  • Forecasting – 1.5 hours
Classroom Activities

Day 1

  • Overview of Systems Design for Humantiarian Logistics
  • Distribution and Network Design
  • Pre-positioning

Day 2

  • Forecasting
  • Managing Uncertainty



  • Participants receive readings, case studies, spreadsheet files, and lecture slides, and will be given access to the pre-course web-based activities.


  • Students need a laptop with Microsoft Excel and the ability to connect to a high-speed internet connection (internet access is provided for onsite portions of course).


Students need a laptop with Microsoft Excel and the ability to connect to a high-speed internet connection (internet access is provided for onsite portions of course).


For those interested in earning the Health and Humanitarian Supply Chain Management Certificate, this course is the first of the three-course certificate program. To earn the certificate, participants must register and complete the following courses within three years:

  1. Pre-planning Strategy for Health and Humanitarian Organizations
  2. Tactical Decision Making in Public Health and Humanitarian Response
  3. Systems Operations in Health and Humanitarian Response


Julie SwannOzlem ErgunPinar Keskinocak