How Does Lean Six Sigma Improve Organisational Resilience Post the COVID-19 Pandemic

Call for papers for: International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. People are being confined to their homes and their movements restricted as governments have stepped up social distancing to contain the spread of the virus. The lockdowns had severely disrupted both the manufacturing and service sectors causing the economic downturn worldwide. As early as February 2020, some countries ended their lockdowns. Businesses resume their operations; the ‘wheel of the economy’ starts to turn again. Though better than that during the strict lockdown, entering the new normal remains problematic. Much about the COVID-19 virus remains unknown, causing uncertainty and anxiety to continue. 

Leaving the lockdown, however, is a process, not a snapshot or an event. Businesses and enterprises emerging from the lockdown mostly have strained balance-sheets. Manufacturing industries will start from the state where they were left-off before the lockdown. Tourism and hospitality sectors return to business with reduced workforce and service offerings. Airlines restart their operation burdened with far from foreseeable certainty. Many of the labour-intensive organisations must therefore radically rethink how they should operate in the new normal. With some physical distancing that will still be reinforced, the workforce will require extra space for movement, additional layers of processes to ensure safety, which subsequently adds time and effort to complete their tasks. 
Nonetheless, those who are adept in operational excellence and adapt to COVID-19, finding new ways of working and striving to become more efficient, will dramatically increase their chance to recover swiftly. For some, however, the enactment of distancing and extra layers of safety protocol affects their ability to reaching a steady-state operation that attains consistent outputs and the right level of productivity, whilst at the same time cut waste and reduce process variability. These clearly pose a new challenge to the already complex decision processes involved, including investment decisions, market penetration, capacity expansion and automation that are now simply prohibitively exorbitant. 

This Special Issue is proposed to offer an avenue for an academic discourse and to showcase empirical work that highlights, for instance, one or more of the following questions pertinent to the organisational resilience post the COVID-19 pandemic:
•    How do businesses operate in a realm of safe distancing and extra protective equipment? Can they perform at the highest productivity and efficiency levels to remain competitive as before?
•    How do they embrace these new ways of working whilst continuously need to overcome immediate issues of process variability and waste, so as to remain efficient and effective? 
•    How can Lean Six Sigma be utilised as a means to rapid recovery of service operations or ramp-up of production after the COVID-19 lockdown?
•    Are there practical examples where Lean Six Sigma has helped supply chain, manufacturing and service operations to successfully respond to uncertainty and have now become more resilient?
•    To what extent will supply chains be affected as manufacturers adopt radically new working procedures?  
•    Will the manufacturers see the lockdown as opportunities, e.g. more seriously considering the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, etc.? 
•    Or should they look at new products, services or combined product-service systems in a radically new economy? 
•    If the second wave of pandemic occurs, then what would they need to prepare for future disruptions and how?
We are especially keen to invite contributions from international researchers whose countries have experienced the COVID-19 disruptions. We would like to hear how manufacturing and service operations in those countries are recovering from the shutdown, how they reorganise their production capabilities, how they ramp-up service performance, and more importantly, how Lean Six Sigma may prove to be a powerful philosophy they can adopt in order to regain competitiveness.

We hope to collate the variety of significant contributions highlighting various endeavours pertinent to the following themes, but are not limited to:
•    Lean Six Sigma and its applications in achieving supply chain resilience 
•    Applications of Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques in the era of COVID-19
•    Enablers and barriers of Lean Six Sigma implementations during COVID-19
•    Lean Six Sigma and its applications in COVID-19 testing process 
•    Case studies of Lean Six Sigma in reducing the spread of Corona virus
•    Lean-Agile and its applications in the era of COVID-19 

Submission Information
All manuscripts to be submitted via the IJLSS ScholarOne submission portal, please select the special issue “How does Lean Six Sigma Improve Organisational Resilience Post the COVID-19 Pandemic?”. Journal guidelines can be found here

Guest Editors
1.    Professor Benny Tjahjono, Coventry University, UK
Email: [email protected]
2.    Professor Jiju Antony, Heriot Watt University, UK
Email: [email protected]
3.    Professor Hui Ming Wee, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan, ROC
Email: [email protected]

Time Scale (tentative)
Deadline for Full manuscript submission:        31st October 2020
Notification of review reports:    31st January 2021
Revised final manuscript due:        30th April 2021
Publication date:            TBC