Laura Rock Kopczak
Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Service
Laura Rock Kopczak is an educator, researcher and consultant in Supply Chain Management, a field in which she has over twenty-five years of teaching, consulting and industry experience. Her current focus is on humanitarian and global health supply chains. Laura works half time teaching at NYU Wagner School of Public Policy and in the MIT-Zaragoza Masters in International Logistics Program and half time consulting and doing research with organizations such as MSF, IFRC, Save the Children, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN WASH cluster, GAVI, PSI, JSI, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Fritz Institute.
Laura obtained her MBA from Columbia Business School, her MS in Operations Research from Columbia University School of Engineering and her PhD in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University.
Until recently, Laura worked as a professor at Stanford University and as one of three co-directors of the Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum. Dr. Kopczak has lived overseas in Japan, France and Spain. Previous to pursuing an academic career, she worked for ten years at Hewlett-Packard Company in a variety of individual and management positions.
Managing Humanitarian Challenges: Delivery and Logistics
“Boots on the ground” create the action in humanitarian action. Whether it be medicines, tents, blankets, pumps, textbooks, communications equipment or vehicles, materials and supplies must be in place for humanitarian response to take place. Humanitarian logistics is the management and execution of the activities needed to plan for and move relief materials and supplies, along with related funds and information, from suppliers to beneficiaries. Logistics activities include needs assessment, planning, procurement, transport, warehousing, distribution to beneficiaries, and reporting. Effective, timely logistics is critical to response to emergencies arising from armed conflicts, epidemics, famine, and natural disasters.
This course provides an overview of humanitarian logistics by introducing the challenging context in which it takes place, the organizations typically involved, the products and services needed, and the operational approaches taken and challenges encountered in meeting the needs. Issues covered include operational challenges, funding issues, coordination and strengthening local capacity. The course combines lectures, readings and teaching cases covering organizations such as IFRC, UNICEF and MSF.