Agile planning: Avoiding disaster in the grocery supply chain during COVID-19 crisis

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Science | J Muu elektroninen julkaisu
Date
2020
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
17
Series
Aalto University publication series BUSINESS + ECONOMY, 1/2020
Abstract
The COVID-19 crisis heavily tested grocery supply chains and supply chain management capabilities. Swift response practices proved to be more valuable than ever before, as the grocery retailers faced sudden, unanticipated, and simultaneous shocks both on the demand and on the supply side. At the same time, the virus posed a threat to manufacturers' production capacities, and new bottlenecks emerged for logistics service providers as consumers switched to on-line shopping and home delivery. For many food wholesalers and distributors demand also changed almost overnight from one delivery channel to another: not only from retail stores to online channels, but also from food services (restaurants) to grocery stores. In these circumstances, maintaining good delivery capacity and ensuring availability to the end customers called for fast operational changes of individual firms and coordinated adaptations of supply chain practices. Despite the challenges, many supply chains coped surprisingly well with the shocks and were able to keep-up good performance through the crisis. We conducted a real-time study as the COVID-19 crisis was unfolding, from the beginning of the first government issued restrictions, and all the while the pandemic was gaining speed. This setting allowed us to gain first-hand insights from interviewees considering their responses at different times and in different echelons of the grocery supply chain.
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Keywords
supply chain, resiliency, COVID-19, disruption, agile planning, grocery retail
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