Women in supply chain and logistics under the Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 workplace environment.


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Introduction of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), machine learning, 3D Printing, and advanced robotics has changed the nature of the workplace environment in the logistics industry and the way supply chains are managed (Maurelli & Mussomeli, 2020; Chung, 2021). A recent study highlights that 72% of 3PL firms had been investing in Industry 4.0 technologies to improve workforce productivity and reduce costs (Langley, 2021). As a result of these technological advancements, the role of logisticians has shifted from physically moving products to using data effectively to manage the entire supply chain from procurement of raw materials to the delivery of the finished products to customers. These human interactions with technology have become an essential driver for sustainable and resilient supply chains which are now conceptualised as Industry 5.0 (I5.0) (Xu et al., 2021). Increased demand for promoting sustainable supply chains through a human-centric approach and reduced physical labour resulting from technological advancements became a catalyst to promote women's participation in the logistics industry (Stiffler, Watt, & Chumakov, 2020).

Research shows that women employed in sourcing and procurement departments facilitate cross-functional and inter-firm integration because of their natural communication and collaboration skills (Nix and Stiffler, 2016; Ma, Hao, and Aloysius, 2021). Having women in supply chains fuels innovation thus improving the financial and operating performance of organisations (PWC, 2012). Promoting gender equity in supply chains addresses the challenge of talent shortage with more than six jobs for every qualified candidate (Zinn, Goldsby, & Cooper, 2018). Despite the significant role for women, supply chain and logistics is a male-dominated industry that employs between 20 to 25% of women globally (EC, 2018; WGEA, 2019; BLS, 2021) which is well below the 38.8% of women employed globally across all the industries (World Bank, 2021). Specially logistics and supply chain industry remained unattractive to women, to those who aspire to be leaders (Zinn, Goldsby, & Cooper, 2018). Meanwhile, gender equality is now recognised as critical to the achievement of the sustainable development, with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal 5 focused on women’s empowerment.

An investigation of the issues that hinder the uptake of logistics as a career among women is fundamental to promoting women in the logistics and supply chain industry (Maurelli & Mussomeli, 2020). If the issues are not investigated and addressed appropriately this may in turn impose a greater risk of creating gender imbalance in the future. However, there is a limited empirical investigation on the issues resulting in gender balance in the supply chain and logistics industry. By examining the issues, researchers can develop policies and propose practices that support women to succeed in the logistics and supply chain industry. Thus, the objective of this special issue is to provide a forum for scholars to further understand the role of new technologies under I4.0 and I5.0 in creating gender balance in the supply chain and logistics industry. We welcome submissions that are underpinned by robust theoretical underpinnings.

List of Topic Areas

Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 Technologies 
Technological advancements in the logistics industry can free employees from routine and repetitive tasks enabling them to focus on value-added tasks. The question remains how the workforce can accept and adapt to the changes. Suggested topics in this theme are: 

  • Impact of Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 on the workplace environment, job creation, and job satisfaction. 
  • Skills and competencies required by women in the logistics and supply chain industry in the Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 workplace environment. 
  • Digital transformation empowering women to leadership positions in the logistics industry. 
  • Human-centric approach of Industry 5.0 paradigm for an inclusive workforce. 

Gender Equality 
Gender diversity in the working environment promotes team spirit and improves employee productivity. Therefore, it became imperative for the organisation to retain the existing employees and attract more women with better skills to the industry. Suggested topics in this theme are: 

  • Recruitment policies, practices, and support for women to succeed in the logistics and supply chain industry. 
  • Role of educational institutions and supply chain professional associations in promoting women's participation in the logistics industry. 
  • Role of government in minimising pay gaps and discrimination against women in the logistics and supply chain industry. 

Inclusive Workplace 
To understand why women would be interested to work in the technologically driven logistics industry, it is important to investigate the workplace environment where the tasks are performed and how workplace practices impact employee productivity. Suggested topics in this theme are: 

  • Flexible training and career development opportunities that assists in capability development of women. 
  • Flexible work hours, remote work options, and other organisational policies that are crucial to promote work-life balance of women. 
  • Health and safety practices by considering women’s needs such as supporting pregnant and nursing women are crucial for inclusive work environment. 
  • HR policies such as anti-discrimination, harassment, and equal employment policy fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion of women workforce.

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 02/10/2023 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 14/06/2024