Humanitarian supply chains are inherently complex, operating at the extremes of connectivity, resource availability and human capabilities. Errors can be catastrophic, where mistakes can cost human lives. These type of extreme supply chains require creative, flexible and agile organizations and human resources. Anticipation, such as pre-positioning and the use of standards and catalogs can aid the level of response.

High Impact Low Likelihood events, such as natural disasters mean the supply chain of private organizations are increasingly operating at similar extremes. Humanitarian Supply Chain principals can also improve the resilience and performance of commercial supply chains.