Design/methodology/approach - A literature review has been conducted using a structured method based on Denyer and Tranfield (2009) and Rousseau et al. (2008). The state of the art on humanitarian supply chain performance management with a focus on measurement frameworks and indicators and their applications in practice is classified in three categories. The first category is the definition and measurement of success in humanitarian supply chains. The second category is managing performance, which focuses on describing and analyzing the actual practice of managing performance. The third category shows the challenges in performance management that humanitarian supply chain actors deal with. Findings - Findings reveal that performance measurement and management in humanitarian supply chains is still an open area of research, especially compared to the commercial supply chain sector. Furthermore, the research indicates that performance measurement and management in humanitarian supply chains has to be developed in support of the supply chain strategy. Based on the findings of the literature review on performance measurement and management in the commercial and humanitarian field, a first classification of 94 performance measurement indicators in humanitarian supply chains is presented. Furthermore, the paper shows key problems why performance measurement and management systems have not been widely developed and systematically implemented in humanitarian supply chains and are not part of the supply chain strategy. The authors propose performance measurement guidelines that include input and output criteria. They develop a research agenda that focuses on four research questions for designing, deploying and disseminating performance measurement and management in humanitarian supply chains.