This article presents the results of a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a team of academic researchers that developed a low-cost spreadsheet-based tool that allows organizations to effectively schedule vehicle operations. Specifically, the tool (1) handles the real-world constraints present in moderately complex logistics environments; and (2) uses general computing hardware and software that is already deployed in most organizations, thereby rendering the solution radically low cost (effectively free). We deployed this tool to a humanitarian organization, the Idaho Foodbank, which realized a substantial improvement in its fleet efficiency and a corresponding reduction in route-planning time. The methodology used to manage this collaboration with academia can be leveraged by other nonprofit organizations attempting to overcome the financial barriers that commonly prevent budget-constrained organizations from accessing advanced technologies.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Manikas, A.S.; Kroes, J.R.; and Gattiker, T.F. (2017). Leveraging Academic Partnerships to Improve Logistics at Nonprofit Organizations. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 27(3), 435-444.
which has been published in final form at doi: 10.1002/nml.21246. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_kroes/16/