• Supply chain agility responding to unprecedented changes: empirical evidence from the UK food supply chain during COVID-19 crisis

      Do, Q.; Mishra, N.; Wulandhari, N.B.I.; Ramudhin, A.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Milligan, G. (2021-09-06)
      Purpose: The COVID-19 outbreak has imposed extensive shocks embracing all stages of the food supply chain (FSC). Although the magnitude is still unfolding, the FSC responds with remarkable speed, to mitigate the disruptive consequences and sustain operations. This motivates us to investigate how operationalising supply chain agility (SCA) practices has occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis and expectations for how those practices could transform the supply chain in the post-COVID-19 era. Design: Following an exploratory case-based design, we examine the various agile responses that three supply chains (meat, fresh vegetables and bread) adopted and elaborate using the dynamic capability (DC) theoretical lens. Findings: First, the findings demonstrate how, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, each affected case pursued various agile responses through sensing and seizing capabilities. Sensing includes identifying and assessing the relevant opportunities and threats associated with the specific supply chain context. Seizing involves acquiring, combining and modifying the tangible and intangible resources at the firm and supply chain levels. Second, supply chain transformation is likely if firms and their supply chain develop the sustaining capability to ensure that the desirable changes outlast the crisis. Originality: This study provides a novel and unique perspective on the role of SCA in crisis—in this case, the pandemic. We synthesise the empirical stories of the agile responses in the FSC and elaborate on the DC framework, to identify theoretical and practical implications. We establish the sustaining capability as the missing DC capability for enabling transformation in the post-COVID-19 era. Practical contribution: This study provides an actionable guide for practitioners to develop agile responses to systemic changes in times of crisis and to sustain favourable changes so as to enable their outlasting the crisis.