Comparing Regions Globally: Impacts of COVID-19 on Supply Chains – A Delphi Study

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Purpose – The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged supply chains (SCs) around the globe unprecedentedly. This study aims to gain insights on the impacts of the pandemic on SCs and their management under consideration of different regional contexts on a global scale.

Design/methodology/approach – A Delphi study collects the expertise of global SC academics on the SC vulnerabilities and the measures for responding to disruptions, improving resilience, and restoring operations. Data from three polls are systematically analyzed by content, frequency, and cluster analysis.

Findings – The study identifies and ranks ten major issues related to SC vulnerabilities and management strategies for specific SC processes and geographical regions. Detected differences among the considered geographical regions point towards particular challenges and call for specific measures to integrate regional contingencies into SC management. In a regional comparison, China and Iran as well as Africa clearly stand out, but also Europe/North America, India/Pakistan, and Brazil show geographical particularities.

Research limitations/implications – The responses are collected against the COVID-19 pandemic, while the findings show differences among the regions thereby arguing for taking regional contingencies into account in managing SCs.

Practical implications – SC resilience is a core aim, which was emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings provide insights and challenges that managers would have to meet in the different regions covered.

Originality/value – This paper contributes to existing knowledge on SC risks and SC resilience in context to extreme situations. Given that events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, will become more frequent in the future due to climate change and geopolitical tensions, insights into how to manage SCs under extreme conditions and into regional differences are crucial.


For a complete list of authors, please see the article.