Designing supply chain strategies against epidemic outbreaks such as COVID-19: Review and future research directions

Kannan Govindan*, Suresh P. Sethi, T. C.E. Cheng, Susan Feng Lu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The supply chain is vulnerable to disruptions, which can lead to operational failure. Therefore, it is crucial to investigate and monitor the risks associated with such disruptions. Epidemics, including the profound impact of COVID-19, exemplify disruptive risks that engender complexities throughout the value chain. COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to the global supply chain due to the preexisting fragile supply chains, resulting in the unavailability of essential raw materials, halts in production, and imbalances between supply and demand. It has forced the supply chain community to rethink their risk mitigation strategies. Despite its significance, there are a few studies on the existing options and strategies to mitigate the risks associated with epidemics such as COVID-19. This special issue explores state-of-the-art knowledge of various risks and their mitigation strategies, presenting optimized models and solutions. This editorial seeks to introduce valuable insights and illuminate promising avenues for future research by reviewing existing studies. The comprehensive understanding derived from this editorial and the accompanying articles of this special issue will benefit both researchers and practitioners, enabling them to navigate the multifaceted landscape of epidemic-induced disruptive risks in the supply chain and adopt suitable mitigation strategies. Furthermore, this special issue lays a solid foundation for implementing advanced methods for managing and mitigating the disruptive risks that epidemics pose to the supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)365-374
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • COVID-19
  • epidemic
  • supply chain management


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