Learning from COVID-19: Cases in Managing Supply Chain Disruptions and Ensuring Resilience


Submission deadline: 1st October 2021.

Guest Editors
Samir Dani, Professor of Operations Management, Keele University, UK. [email protected]
Andreas Norrman, Professor in Supply Chain Structure and Organization, Lund University, Sweden, [email protected]
George A. Zsidisin, John W. Barriger III Professor and Director of the Supply Chain Risk and Resilience Research (SCR3) Institute, University of Missouri – St. Louis, USA. [email protected]

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unique from a supply chain perspective. During previous instances of supply chain disruptions (for example 2003 SARS-CoV, and 2012 MERS-CoV) the effect of the pandemic was limited to certain parts of the world. This provided certain disruption challenges, but it was often possible to redesign supply channels to source from other parts of the world. However, in this current scenario most of the world was in a lockdown for an extended period, and hence the normal supply chain disruption mitigation strategies have been limited. The COVID-19 pandemic (Coronavirus) was identified and started affecting countries globally at the beginning of the new year-2020. The spread of the virus and its influence on human health (and fatalities) was first noticed in China, but the spread of the virus across the Far East was rapid and created a major concern for human life on a large scale. As countries grappled with the spread of the virus, social distancing norms were put in place along with public authorities’ decisions to close borders and lock down cities, leading to an almost immediate disruption of most human activity and its subsequent effect on logistics and supply chains. Supply chain disruptions quickly spread across Asia, Europe, and the Americas in multiple waves, forcing some countries to impose lock down rules. As hospitals grappled with seriously ill patients, in conjunction with many individuals panicking across the world due to the closures, supply chains started straining under the impact of stockpiling and severe shortages of supplies and workers. Closures of factories and warehouses as workers became infected created another new risk. As most retail environments and general manufacturing activity came to a standstill, severe disruptions of food and grocery supplies were experienced across the world, along with 'over the counter' medicines such as paracetamol, and PPE supplies for medical personnel and key workers (, 2020). 

Prior published academic studies that have examined the topics of supply chain risk management, resilience, assessment, responsiveness, agility, and vulnerability (e.g. Norrman and Wieland, 2020; Fan and Stevenson, 2018; Scholten et al. 2019; Hendry et al., 2019, 2015; Ghadge, et al., 2013; Christopher and Peck, 2004; Zsidisin et al., 2004; Ali and Gölgeci, 2019; Natarajarathinam et al., 2009) provide limited insight into the new risk caused by COVID-19: it may not be possible to “return to normal”. Moreover, some firms in the past learned to recover from supply disruptions at a localised level. However, COVID-19 led to a complete shut-down of operations and material supply for many firms. Intermittent shortages of workforces (especially migrant workers), confusion in regional and local lock down rules and uncertainty about government subsidies created additional challenges. This special issue thus sets out to investigate the strategies, decisions, operations, and governance (Ahlqvist et al, 2020) firms implemented to overcome the different types of supply chain disruptions and extreme uncertainty along the evolving and different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goals in this special issue are to generate new theories and inform supply chain practices by illustrating key learning lessons from COVID-19 for creating more robust and resilient supply chains in the future.

The special issue encourages detailed studies of how organizations improvise and innovate to ensure supply chain continuity. For example, food and pharma supply chains, as well as certain manufacturing and service supply chains, have had to keep working by repurposing products and redesigning supply networks. We encourage papers providing insight on subjects such as innovative practices and experiences of dealing with emerging supply chain disruptions, managing emergency or temporary supply chains, forming new supply chain relationships, modifying infrastructures and existing distribution channels, adopting new disruptive technologies, and utilizing big data analytics. The issue also aims to focus on post COVID-19 strategic positioning of supply chains and consider the longer-term impact of supply chain redesign - including the move towards embedding sustainability in supply chains. 
The focus of the Special Issue is on how firms manage new types of supply chain (SC) disruptions and challenges associated to the COVID-19 pandemic. What have firms learned about themselves and their supply chains under the COVID-19 disruption? Why did the pandemic create a significant challenge in the ability of firms to manage their supply chains? What do we need to consider for future SC designs? Which SC risk paradigms, if any, have been useful to find solutions for managing this crisis? There is a lot of discussion associated with resilience but how does this connect with SC operations post COVID-19? Government imposed lock down rules and public health policy now become a new source of risk. How do private-public issues influence the ability to manage risk in the supply chain? How can we effectively create interorganizational governance of Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) activities between and among different stakeholders (Supply Chain Risk Governance)?
The Special Issue will consider case studies, including single (extreme) case studies, multiple case studies, longitudinal case studies, grounded theories, action research and other empirical case-based qualitative and quantitative methods that focus on theory building (Eisenhardt, 1989; Quintens and Matthyssens, 2010; Piekkari et al., 2010; Easton, 2010; Voss et al., 2002; Stank et al., 2017; Ketokivi and Choi, 2014; da Mota pedrosa et al., 2012).

The Special Issue welcome cases that examine what firms did to maintain supply chain resiliency during the pandemic, their successes, failures, and challenges, as well as cases investigating post-COVID redesign, restoration and reconfiguration of SCs, so as to inform practice in the future. Cases describing resilient supply chain practices from COVID-19 in the public sector, private sector, non-profit sectors, and the intersection of these sectors, are especially welcome. Papers in this special issue will provide theoretical insights for advancing scholarship in supply chain risk and resilience, as well as managerial insights and guidelines for supply chain professionals for ensuring supply chain resilience when managing large scale supply chain disruptions.

Case study research using empirical (both quantitative and qualitative) methodologies, mixed method techniques, and the use of primary and /or secondary data while ensuring to provide strong managerial implications is important. This issue will not consider literature review manuscripts. Some research themes and sub-themes (under COVID-19 pandemic) may include but are not limited to: 
* Supply chain resilience
* Supply chain risk
* Supply chain redesign
* Sustainable supply chain practices 
* Innovative supply chain practices 
* Supply chain relationships
* Global supply chains 
* Reshoring to mitigate risk
* Disruptive technologies and influence on supply chain resilience
* Supply chain governance
* Supply chain workforce 
* Government and public health policy
* Policy initiatives and influences on managing risk and disruptions

All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another journal. Submission to this special issue are through the IJPDLM submission system: To prepare your article, please follow the author guidelines:
When submitting the manuscript, please ensure you select this special issue name from the relevant dropdown menu from the submission process. For any questions please contact the guest editors.

Submission due date: 1st October 2021.
Notification to authors: 15th December 2021
Final version due: 15th April 2022
Please note that it will not open for submissions before 01.07.2021

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