Everyone has seen the shortages caused by the COVID-19 health crisis in his own country. We can recall the problems caused by a sudden and unprecedented demand for masks, hydroalcoholic gel, etc. in supply chains the medical sector. However, we cannot focus and conclude only on the locallevel. Supply chains are now globalized.
The COVI D-19 pandemie clearly shows the lack of resilience of supply chains and the impact that disruptions can have on a global scale when individuallinks are faulty.
For example supply chains in the automotive and electronics sectors are heavily impacted by component shortages linked to non-European supply chain actors. The trends for the coming months are not positive. What lessons can we learn from these case studies to make supply chains more resilient while the health crisis is not yet behind us and especially since other crises are bound to occur in the future?
A simple search on google scholar brings up more than 17,000 results concerning supply chain resilience and COVID-19. So much so that more than a dozen literature reviews on these two years of academie production have already been published (e.g. Golan et al., 2020; Chowdhury et al., 2021; Sajjad, 2021). This shows the interest of the academie community regardless of the country or continent. Many sectors are examined: manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, logistics, etc. These case studies focus on the United States, Iran, lndia, and China, but also on other Asian and European regions. The supply chains of Central and Latin America and Africa are less explored. Research in Africa is mainly focused on agribusiness supply chains in countries such as Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria (Nordhagen et al, 2021).
Academic publications seek to identify good practices to make supply chains more resilient by drawing lessons from the Covid-19. El Baz and Ruel (2021), for example, study 470 French companies and show that supply chain risk management can mitigate disruptions and foster resilience and robustness during a crisis like this one. Another study of jordanian firms highlights that continuous improvement enhances resilience (Zighan and Ruel, 2021). Quieroz et al (2021) based on the study of Brazilian companies and indicate that in case of major disruptions supply chains in emerging countries need to focus on managing their resources. They need to reorganize their often-limited resources according to the disruptions generated to increase resilience.
Other studies emphasize diversification, localization, regionalization, and collaboration with stakeholders. These recommendations also echo the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Being closer to consumers, using local raw materials, and simplifying the supply chain meet both social and environmental objectives. If making a supply chain more resilient allows it to become more sustainable or vice versa
Finally, lndustry 4.0 is put forward as a solution by much research. Innovation is indeed highlighted as a resilience factor. Quayson et al (2020) analyze a cocoa supply chain in Ghana and advocate digital transformation. They extrapolate their results to other countries and supply chains with smallholders. This transformation requires the involvement of other stakeholders such as NGOs, governments, or local communities. Another example is the study of supply chains in the omnichannel retail sector in South Africa (Weber, 2020). This sector must adapt to the migration of these customers to online sales.
lvanov (2020) goes further and proposes a holistic view of resilience. He defines the concept ofviability that goes beyond resilience by including agility, resilience, and sustainability. Supply chains must a dapt -agility- to absorb disruptions-resilience-and survive-sustainability. While resilience is linked to a supply chain, viability is considered at the level of networks of connected supply chains.
ln our globalized economy and in times of crisis, it is not about developing the resilience of a supply chain but the viability of its entire ecosystem!
Chowdhury, P., Paul, S. K., Kaisar, S., & Moktadir, M. A. (2021). COVID-19 pandemie related supply chain studies: A systematic review. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 102271.
El Baz, j., & Ruel, S. (2021). Can supply chain risk management practices mitigate the disruption impacts on supply chains' resilience and robustness? Evidence from an empirical survey in a COVID-19 outbreak era. International journal of Production Economies, 233,107972.
Golan, M. S., jernegan, L. H., & Linkov, 1. (2020). Trends and applications of resilience analytics in supply chain modeling: systematic literature review in the context of the COVID-19 pandemie. Environment Systems and Decisions, 40, 222-243.
lvanov, D. (2020). Viable supply chain model: integrating agility, resilience and sustainability perspectives-lessons from and thinking beyond the COVID-19 pandemie. Annals of Operations Research, 1-21.
Nordhagen, S., lgbeka, U., Rowlands, H., Shine, R. S., Heneghan, E., & Tench, j. (2021). COVID-19 and small enterprises in the food supply chain: Early impacts and implications for longer-term food system resilience in low-and middle-income countries. World Development, 141,105405.
Quayson, M., Bai, C., & Osei, V. (2020). Digital inclusion for resilient post-COVID-19 supply chains: smallholder farmer perspectives. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 48(3),104-110.
Queiroz, M. M., Wamba, S. F., & Branski, R. M. (2021). Supply chain resilience during the COVID-19: empirical evidence from an emerging economy. Benchmarking: An International journal.
Sajjad, A. (2021).The COVID-19 pandemie, social sustainability and global supply chain resilience: a review. Corporate Governance: The International journal of Business in Society.
Weber, A.N.(2021). Responding to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemie: A Black Swan event for omnichannel retailers. Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management, 15,16.
Zighan, S., & Ruel, S. (2021). SMEs' resilience from continuous improvement lenses. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
This article is also published in Africa SC Magazine (n°1 15-January-15 March 2022)