Learning from the Covid-19 Pandemic: planning, controlling and driving change for greater resilience in supply chains

Call for papers for: Supply Chain Management

Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic: Planning, controlling and driving change for greater resilience in supply chains.

Special issue call for papers from Supply Chain Management: An International Journal
Submission deadline: 11th September 2020

Guest Editors

Dr Liz Breen, University of Bradford
Professor Claire Hannibal, Liverpool John Moores University


The Covid-19 pandemic (Coronavirus) took its hold on the world in November 2019. It then spread globally causing huge concern for human safety and in parallel impacting negatively on all aspects of social and economic fabric. The dynamic and rapid impact of the virus clearly illustrates the fragility of service and product supply chains throughout the world. Covid-19 was a unifying global threat with all countries being held hostage to it and fearing dire healthcare repercussions.

From a supply chain perspective, the response from people feeling threatened led to panic-buying and stock piling of essential products. The public’s response to the threat of Covid-19 was to enter into a state akin to ‘survival mode’ which caused widespread anxiety within society, created enormous demand fluctuations, and forced an immediate response from supply chains. Consumer behaviour thus created a huge and unexpected surge in demand which was unanticipated and unplanned for, and hence created a bullwhip effect across multiple global supply chains. With demand high and supply unavailable some products became more desirable causing price hikes and price gouging. This practice was clearly evident through the availability and pricing of hand sanitiser lotion as a direct result of Government public health prevention guidance on hand washing, but also for basic commodities such as toilet roll, thermometers and face masks (, 2020).  Within the pharmaceutical arena, prescription medicines availability appeared to be unaffected whereas there was an increased urgency in the demand for basic over the counter (OTC) items such as paracetamol (as linked to alleviating the viral reported symptoms of fever).

In the midst of this turmoil, however, we also saw the emergence of an increase in social goodwill (Loveday, 2020) and collaborations leading to positive new opportunistic ventures. This was evidenced by companies diversifying their product portfolio and demonstrating versatility and responsiveness in making new products to respond to a national and global demand for products e.g. the brewer BrewDog, and numerous US and UK distilleries, creating hand sanitiser (, 2020;, 2020). Calls were made globally for the creation of much needed ventilators from medical equipment manufacturers (, 2020). Competitive laws and regulations were relaxed, and companies forged alliances united against the Covid-19 threat.

Covid-19 was sudden and highly contagious. Its full impact was unexpected and supply chains were unprepared for both the healthcare impact and the response from the public. Whilst we have experienced previous pandemics (Ebola and SARS) one could argue that our healthcare and supporting supply chains do not seem to have learned enough from this experience despite research being undertaken post event (, 2020; WHO, 2003; WHO, 2016). This lack of learning has led to a decreased level of preparedness to respond effectively to a pandemic of this kind.

There has been a wealth of research conducted on supply chain resilience, responsiveness, agility, vulnerability (e.g. Scholten et al. 2019; Hendry et al., 2019; Mehralian et al., 2015; Day, 2014; Christopher and Peck, 2004) and innovations in emergent agile supply chains such as humanitarian aid and disaster recovery (Anbaroğlu, 2019; Ahimbisibwe et al., 2016; Schiffling and Piecyk, 2014).  But have we fully realised the learnings from this research to inform strategic decision making in our current supply chains?

This call for papers offers the opportunity for researchers to examine the response to and learning from Covid-19 across all supply chains; public, private and third sector (including NGOs).  The coming together of the research community in this rapid response offers a much-needed opportunity to deliver intelligence to promote learning to facilitate targeted action. This will not only support the design of resilient supply chains but also instil resilience in society and its citizens.


We welcome papers which are empirically derived and do not wish to receive submissions which are literature reviews, conceptual, modelling or simulation papers.

The topics to be discussed in this special issue include but are not limited to the following:
•    Responsiveness and resilience in supply chains
•    The shifting dynamics of power in supply chains
•    Supply chain agility
•    Recalibration of supply chains
•    Local versus globalisation of supply chains
•    Workforce readiness and development
•    Innovations in supply chains to increase service/product responsiveness
•    Supply chain sustainability in a time of crisis
•    Managing perishable supply chains
•    Supply chain complexity
•    Opportunistic responses to threats in the supply chain
•    Social response to crises and its impact on supply chain management
•    Open innovation in the supply chain
•    Application and impact of new technologies in the supply chain


Prospective authors are invited to submit papers for this special thematic issue on Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic: Planning, controlling and driving change for greater resilience in supply chains on or before 11th September 2020. All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.  Interested authors should consult the journal’s guidelines for manuscript submissions at:

Authors and potential authors may direct any questions to the Special Issue Guest Editors: Dr Liz Breen, University of Bradford ([email protected]) and Professor Claire Hannibal, Liverpool John Moores University ([email protected])

All manuscript submissions to the special issue should be sent through the online submission system:


•    Ahimbisibwe, A., Ssebulime, R., Tumuhairwe, R., and Tusiime, W. (2016) Supply chain visibility, supply chain velocity, supply chain alignment, and humanitarian supply chain relief agility, European Journal of Logistics, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, 4 (2), pp.34-64.
•    Anbaroğlu, B. (2019) Drones in healthcare: An extended discussion of humanitarian logistics, in Kille, T., Bates, P., Lee, S.Y., and Kille, D.M. (Eds), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Civilian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, IGI Global, Hershey, PA., pp.86-114.
• (2020) COVID-19: The race to build coronavirus ventilators.
•    Christopher, M. and Peck, H., (2004) Building the resilient supply chain. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 15(2), pp.1-14.
•    Day, J.M. (2014) Fostering emergent resilience: the complex adaptive supply network of disaster relief. International Journal of Production Research, 52(7), pp.1970-1988.
• (2020) These UK and US distilleries are making and donating hand sanitizer
• (2020) BrewDog begins making hand sanitiser amid shortages in UK
•    Hendry, L.C., Stevenson, M., MacBryde, J., Ball, P., Sayed, M. and Liu, L. (2019) Local food supply chain resilience to constitutional change: The Brexit effect. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 39(3), pp.429-453.
•    Loveday, C. (2020) Coronavirus: why clapping for carers feels so strangely uplifting.
•    Mehralian, G., Zarenezhad, F. and Ghatari, A.R. (2015) Developing a model for an agile supply chain in pharmaceutical industry. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, 9(1), pp.74-91.
•    Schiffling, S.A., and Piecyk, M. (2014) Performance measurement in humanitarian logistics: a customer-oriented approach, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 4(2), pp. 198-221.
•    Scholten, K., Scott, P.S. and Fynes, B. (2019) Building routines for non-routine events: supply chain resilience learning mechanisms and their antecedents. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 24(3), pp. 430-442.
• (2020) Coronavirus Price Gouging Complaints Surge Across U.S.
• (2020) Five Key Lessons From Ebola That Can Help Us Win Against Coronavirus, Everywhere.
•    World Health Organisation (2016) Information session on studies undertaken in response to the Ebola outbreak).
•    World Health Organization Multicentre Collaborative Network for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Diagnosis (2003) A multicentre collaboration to investigate the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Lancet; 361, pp.1730-3.