The purpose of logistics in humanitarian organisations is to make people, processes and systems work together to support the efficient and effective delivery of goods and services.
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are integral parts of the logistics management process and provide a link between planning and implementation. While monitoring focuses on the activities organisational logistics perform and their outputs, evaluation focuses on the outcome and goals achievement.
Monitoring is the continuous process of gathering logistics and programme information to measure against previous base-line indicators that are aligned to the goals and objectives of a program. A continuous review of the degree to which a logistics activity is completed and if its objectives are being met allows for corrective actions to be taken.
Evaluation is the continuous measurement process of the quality of the output a logistics function or service provides to analyse progress towards meeting established objectives and goals. Evaluation should be undertaken in such a way that shortcomings can be identified and corrected. It is done on an ad hoc, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
Evaluation should also continuously feed into the planning process so that the planned method of intervention can be modified to adapt to the realities and conditions on the ground. Evaluation provides feedback on whether plans have been met and the reasons for success or failure, providing a tool for management to ensure that focus is maintained.
M&E has several purposes:
- Provide information to logistics managers on the capacities they have.
- Identify problems in supply chain and entire logistic systems.
- Determine what measures are needed for improving logistics performance.
- Understand the need to increase or decrease resources.
- Make an objective assessment of minimum and maximum logistics capacities in a context.
- Objectively measure achievements and failures.
- Define parameters for the periodic review of measurement calculations.
- Identify internal gaps, bottlenecks and misunderstandings.
- Evaluate performance of individual staff members, locations, or functions.
- Motivate logisticians.
- Serve as a basis for formulation of an internal logistics strategy.
Users of Logistics Services
For the purpose of this document, a user is the final recipient or the identified final beneficiary of the logistics activities and services. There are two sets of users:
- Internal users are a department or individual within the same organisation as the logistics service provider.
- External users are the beneficiaries in the communities that the organisation serves.