Post Pandemic Supply Chain Recovery
Global supply chains are undergoing an unprecedented number of stress tests and disruptions amid the Covid-19 crisis. The scale of disruptive events has jeopardized the ability of many manufacturers to remain in business. While there is a robust body of literature on global supply chain disruption and recovery, the modern world has never faced a crisis as acute, long-lasting, and far-reaching as the current pandemic. The scale and magnitude of the disruptive events are such that Marshall Fisher, Professor at Wharton School of Business calls COVID‑19 “mother of all disruptions.” (Knowledge @ Wharton, 2020). As industry leaders struggle to match demand and supply, the situation has garnered attention in international media and policymaking circles. For example, on 16th April 2020 (Council of the EU, 2020), European Union ministers discussed the impact of COVID‑19 on trade, global value, and supply chains where one of the EU ministers stated, “We also need to ensure a swift recovery of our economies, in particular by securing the resilience and sustainability of our supply chains.” As new challenges in supply chains emerge and the existing research remains insufficient to provide solutions, we are planning a 2-year research study focused on developing more resiliency in the supply chains in the context of pandemic outbreaks as the need of more resilient supply chains is echoed by a recent Harvard Business Review article (Linton and Vakil, 2020). Based on the recent reports from leading consultancy firms, e.g., Mckinsey and Company (Alicke et al. 2020), post-pandemic supply chain has three steps: rapid response, recovery, and reconfiguration.
The first step, rapid response, has been funded by two internal SSHRC grants, i.e., SSHRC Explore and Hampton New Faculty Grant as well as one PEG Grant COVID‑19 Special Initiative that is in partnership with Okangan Foodbank. The results of the rapid response step will support the second step, i.e., the recovery step, which will be supported by this SSHRC Insight Development grant. In particular, this research aims to investigate how supply chain leaders can be prepared to efficiently recover supply chain and successfully address the strategic issue of supply chain recovery in a post-pandemic world. This aim will be met by way of the following objectives:
1) Supplier’s risk profile development. This includes identification of high-risk suppliers based on their potential exposure to pandemic, presence of alternative supply routes
2) Developing supplier’s re-assessment. This includes prioritizing high-risk suppliers, analyzing other suppliers to understand exposure to affected countries, and seeking alternative supply and transportation routes
3) Developing inventory systems. This will match supply with demand while both sides are under massive disruption after a pandemic, and to predict and compensate the inventory shortage over the predicted at risk’ period
These objectives will be accomplished by engaging with the general supply chain risk analysis community through conference presentations, peer reviewed publications and future collaborations. Importantly, this project will also allow us to work on data analytics and machine learning tools, which will substantially enhance and update our toolkit to the innovative research practices of today. While there is a need for such tools in the social sciences research for policy evaluation and social behavior forecasting, their uses in social science is still in its infancy. Thus, the main outcome of the proposed work will be the development of a data-driven decision-making framework to make the process of supply chain recovery as smooth as possible during a pandemic.