Mitigating personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain disruptions in pandemics – a system dynamics approach

Ioanna Falagara Sigala*, Mikhail Sirenko, Tina Comes, Gyöngyi Kovács

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has emerged as an unprecedented health crisis worldwide and heavily disrupted the healthcare supply chain. This study focuses on analysing the different types of disruptions occurring in personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic and on proposing mitigation strategies that are fit to the global scale and many interdependencies that are characteristic for this pandemic. The authors construct a conceptual system dynamics model (SD) based on the literature and adjusted with the use of empirical data (interviews) to capture the complexity of a global supply chain and identify leverage points (mitigation strategies). Design/methodology/approach: This research follows a mix-methods approach. First, the authors developed a conceptual framework based on four types of disruptions that usually occur during health emergencies (direct effect, policy, supply chain strategy, and behaviourally induced disruptions). Second, the authors collected and analysed data from interviews with experts in the PPE supply chain. Based on the interviews data, the authors developed a conceptual system dynamics (SD) model that allows to capture the complex and dynamic interplay between the elements of the global supply chain system, by highlighting key feedback loops, delays, and the way the mitigation strategies can impact on them. From this analysis, the authors developed four propositions for supply chain risk management (SCRM) in global health emergencies and four recommendations for the policy and decision makers. Findings: The SD model highlights that without a combination of mitigation measures, it is impossible to overcome all disruptions. As such, a co-ordinated effort across the different countries and sectors that experience the disruptions is needed. The SD model also shows that there are important feedback loops, by which initial disruptions create delays and shortages that propagate through the supply chain network. If the co-ordinated mitigation measures are not implemented early at the onset of the pandemic, these disruptions will be persistent, creating potential shortages of PPE and other critical equipment at the onset of a pandemic – when they are most urgently needed. Originality/value: This research enriches the understanding of the disruptions of PPE supply chains on the systems level and proposes mitigation strategies based on empirical data and the existing literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-154
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Volume42
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Behaviour
  • Conceptual system dynamics model (SD)
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Empirical study
  • Health emergencies and supply chain disruption
  • Policy
  • PPE supply chain
  • Public health supply chain
  • Supply chain disruptions

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