Building Resilience in the Wake of Major Disruptions : How Procurement Strategies Changed During the COVID-19 Disruption.
Abstract: Background: The pandemic disruption caused by COVID-19, which began at the end of 2019, hashad an impact on economies across the globe. A profound impact has been noticed in the Procurementfunction, which has suffered from supply disruptions. The importance of the procurement function indisruption management is stressed through its role as the window to the supplier base. Supply chain disruptions force firms to evaluate and create capabilities to mitigate the effect of risk sources andimprove resilience. By building resilience into supply networks, companies are better prepared fordisruptions and can thus bounce back easier and quicker. Purpose: The purpose of this research was to explore how procurement strategies have changed under the COVID-19 disruption to become more resilient. We focus on which changes firms have implemented to make their procurement more resilient, and why. To draw conclusions, proactive strategies the companies had in place, as well as reactive strategies that they implemented after the disruption, are explored. Method: This research was conducted through a qualitative case study design of 8 firms which were affected by disruptions emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. Insights and facts on the purpose were obtained through interviews with 10 procurement professionals working in these case companies.The findings were analysed with the Supply Chain Resilience (SCRES) literature and theory. A crosscase analysis ultimately led to the final conclusions. Conclusion: All informants noted an improvement in their situation after implementing reactive strategy changes. The sample seemed to indicate a short-term perspective on the crisis, two years intothe pandemic. Long-term thinking or strategies are a rarity. The disruptions caused by the pandemic have improved risk-management and disruption-thinking. However, in most of our sample, this has hardly materialized into the development of mitigation strategies for future disruptions. The resilience-focused changes to procurement strategies are therefore mostly only improving SCRES in the short term.
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