• Advancing the Understanding of Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Resilience using Complex Adaptive System (CAS) Theory

      Yaroson, Emilia V.; Breen, Liz; Hou, Jiachen; Sowter, Julie (2021)
      Purpose The objective of this study was to advance our knowledge of pharmaceutical supply chain resilience using Complex Adaptive System theory (CAS). Design/methodology/approach An exploratory research design which adopted a qualitative approach was used to achieve the study’s research objective. Qualitative data were gathered through 23 semi-structured interviews with key supply chain actors across the PSC in the United Kingdom (UK). Findings The findings demonstrate that CAS, as a theory, provides a systemic approach to understanding PSC resilience by taking into consideration the various elements (environment, PSC characteristics, vulnerabilities and resilience strategies) that make up the entire system. It also provides explanations for key findings, like the impact of power, conflict and complexity in the PSC, which are influenced by the interactions between supply chain actors and as such increase its susceptibility to the negative impact of disruption. Furthermore, the antecedents for building resilience strategies were the outcome of the decision-making process referred to as co-evolution from a CAS perspective. Originality/value Based on the data collected, the study was able to reflect on the relationships, interactions and interfaces between actors in the PSC using the CAS theory, which supports the proposition that resilience strategies can be adopted by supply chain actors to enhance this service supply chain. This is a novel empirical study of resilience across multiple levels of the PSC and as such adds valuable new knowledge about the phenomenon and the use of CAS theory as a vehicle for exploration and knowledge construction in other supply chains.
    • An assessment of supply chain vulnerabilities to dynamic disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain

      Yaroson, Emilia V.; Sharief, Karam; Shah, Awn; Breen, Liz (2018-09)
      Objective: The adverse impact of supply chain disruptions on the operational performance of supply chains have been suggested to emanate from its existing vulnerabilities. However, empirical studies regarding this proposition remain limited. This study provides empirical evidence of vulnerabilities in the face of dynamic disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain. This is geared at developing resilience strategies capable of curbing these forms of disruptions. Research Approach: In seeking to achieve the objective of this study, the mixed method research design in a longitudinal framework was adopted. It involved a two-step procedure where the study began by conducting semi-structured interviews with the downstream stakeholders of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Here the sampling method adopted was both purposive and snowballing. Data collected from this process was analysed using thematic analysis where key variables were coded for further analysis. Findings from the interviews were employed to construct close ended questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered online, approximately nine months after the first data collection process ended and analysed using various statistical techniques. Findings: The themes that emerged from the first phase of the data generation process were classified into five main pillars which include: supply chain characteristics, regulatory framework (schemas), imbalance of market power, managerial decisions and supply chain structures. These themes were further confirmed by the findings from the survey. The study finds that imbalance of market power generates negative welfare such as time consumption and stress on the downstream stakeholders of the pharmaceutical supply chain. In the same vein, dependence on suppliers and consumers in designing the supply chain exacerbates the impact of a dynamic disruption. The findings from the survey complement these pillars by identifying other vulnerabilities: price manipulation, inadequate policies, inefficient manufacturing processes as well as available training in handling these vulnerabilities. Originality/Value: By providing empirical evidence of the vulnerabilities within the pharmaceutical supply chain in the face of a dynamic disruption, this study extends operations management literature by highlighting vulnerability benchmarks against which resilience strategies can be employed in dynamic disruptive scenarios. The innovative aspect of this research is the ability to identify the vulnerabilities peculiar to the pharmaceutical supply chain which is required in order to successfully develop strategies that are resilient to dynamic disruptions. Research Impact: This study extends existing debates on supply chain vulnerabilities as well as supply chain disruptions. Practical Impact: This study contributes to practical managerial decisions, as the identifications of vulnerabilities to dynamic disruptions will aid pharmaceutical and or operations managers in assessing supplier selection and design.
    • Disruptions, recovery strategies and the pharmaceutical supply chain; empirical evidence from first tier customers in the United Kingdom

      Yaroson, Emilia V.; Breen, Liz; Matthias, Olga (2017)
      Purpose: The aim of this research therefore is to explore the causes of drug shortages within the pharmaceutical supply chain and assess the adopted mitigation strategies. Research Approach: The study is carried out from an inductive perspective where we seek to understand the phenomenon by a detailed review of extant literature followed by a series of semi-structured interviews with first tier consumers within a case study framework. The respondents were chosen using purposive sampling as those best to comment on the phenomenon under scrutiny. Data was analysed using thematic analysis, where a dual focus was adopted; 1) the preliminary focus was on the identification of system themes (where the system was impacted and the responds e.g. complexity, disruptions and product alternatives) and 2) the secondary focus was the impact on the patient as system recipient and product user (where themes such as stress, anxiety, and adverse drug reactions emerged). Findings and Originality: The analysis show that drug shortages within the pharmaceutical supply chain in the UK occur as a result of stringent regulatory frameworks, faults in the manufacturing processes, lack of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, monopolistic wholesaler markets; lack of information dissemination, offshore trading and price manipulations for profit. The impact on the consumers is reported to be extensive and can endure long after the disruptive event occurs. The findings indicate that existing recovery strategies are however cumbersome, add complexity to the supply chain and in extreme cases facilitate the infiltration of counterfeits. The study is innovative as it explores disruptive events and associated recovery strategies which have not been adequately addressed in supply chain management studies to date. Research Impact: This research contributes to existing literature by extending discussions on supply chain disruptions within a dynamic supply chain whilst focusing on product service supply chain recovery strategies and mechanisms. Practical Impact: This study provides Operations/Supply Chain Managers and Pharmaceutical companies and professionals with strategies that can be adopted can adopt in reducing and recovering in a more resilient manner to disruptive events. This thus presents the bedrock for resilient practice and systems design and development, thus reducing system vulnerability and ultimately leading to improved product availability and patient care.
    • An evaluation of the applicability of complex adaptive system theory in the pharmaceutical supply chain

      Yaroson, Emilia V.; Breen, Liz; Matthias, Olga (2017)
      Purpose: The aim of this research is to evaluate if the Complex Adaptive Systems theory can be used to explain resilience strategies within the pharmaceutical supply chain Research Approach: An in depth review of literature surrounding resilience in the pharmaceutical supply chain. In order to pursue this study agenda, data was collected from Scopus, the largest peer review journal as well as EBSCOhost. The PRISMA guideline was adopted in the systematic review process where 34 peer reviewed papers in the field of CAS, supply chain and supply chain resilience were identified with respect to methodologies employed, location of the study and approaches. Findings and Originality: The systematic review of literature shows that there are inherent similarities between the concept of resilience and the CAS theory. The CAS theory explains that PSC’s are dynamic, have emergent behaviours complex, adaptive, interconnected as well as possess schemas that regulate their operations. Hence if resilience strategies are to be employed to mitigate disruptive events they need to be harnessed in a manner to fit this particular supply chain. This work is innovative as it provides a new insight into the contemporary discourse on resilience strategy creation and deployment, examining the use of this theory in the PSC, and thus provides original contribution. Research Impact: This study contributes to the existing literature base, by providing theoretical underpinnings in the area of resilience and the pharmaceutical supply chain. This furthers the CAS agenda, SCR agenda and also presents an innovative output which warrants more detailed analysis and feasibility testing. Practical Impact: Complexity principles are multi-scaled and multi-domain and as such the suggestions put forward in this theoretical framework can be adopted in various supply chain networks as well as disruptive events. It provides new insights with regards to structures for managers seeking to design and improve resilience supply chains, a key element of which is the adoption of a holistic analysis by SC managers when developing resilience strategies. This is critical if disruptions are to be identified and mitigated before their impact is felt.
    • Resilience strategies and the pharmaceutical supply chain: the role of agility in mitigating drug shortages

      Yaroson, Emilia V.; Breen, Liz; Hou, Jiachen; Sowter, Julie (2019)
      Supply chain resilience has been suggested to curb the impact of disruptions on supply chains. While this proposition seems coherent in theory, empirical evidence supporting this is limited, as existing literature has centred on exploring the impact of supply chain resilience on disruptions which are based on set time frames, non-supply chain specific as well as examining non-dynamic disruptive events. This study contends that resilience strategies are dynamic and as such their applications within supply chains differ. Therefore examining the impact of resilience will be appropriate on a dynamic disruption within a specific supply chain. In view of this, the paper examines through existing literature the applicability of agility within the pharmaceutical supply chain when dynamic disruptions like drug shortages occur. The study finds alertness, accessibility, connectivity and visibility as dimensions of supply chain agility that are capable of reducing the impact of drug shortages.