answered: Read all pages carefully, selected topic, intro & must be follow format according to Sample Paper (3

Read all pages carefully, selected topic, intro & must be follow format according to Sample Paper (3-3 Para each Article)   

Must be 100% Original   

I hv already attached PDF file of  Article, u must be use this 3 articles 

Wk 2 Discussion (Due in 2 days) Urgent/..Wk 2 Discussion (Required Assignment).docx


Must be 100% Original Work Assignment must be follow Rubric Superior Criteria

Plz read My Note, Important tips (Wrote on 2nd Page) and also sample paper attached.

Must be use attached Three Article

NOTE: I hv attached 3 Articles & include each Article have (3 para) three paragraph
summary, Analysis
to the study.

Selected topic: Sustainable supply chain management in Rosewood trade (Annotated Bibliography must be write on related this topic & Apply)

MY Notes:
(Must see sample paper)

Sample Annotated Bibliography attached so must be follow & minimum 3 pages required & three (3) peer-reviewed sources (no older than 5 years).

(4-5 Pages required )Must be include Abstract/Intro like in sample

Course: DDBA – Doctoral Study Mentoring

Selected topic: Sustainable supply chain management in Rosewood trade

Discussion 2: Annotated Bibliography

In each week of this course, you will research and select three (3) peer-reviewed (not older than 4 years),, scholarly sources to develop an annotated bibliography that you can use in your Doctoral Study. You will need to take the three sources and synthesize the references into a single narrative annotated bibliography that compares/contrasts or supports your study. For example, you may develop three references that will fit into the Nature of the Study (or any other component) and then the synthesized version will help you in developing your Prospectus/Proposal. Please see this week’s Learning Resources for the Sample Annotated Bibliography Template, which you should use to complete your annotated bibliography.

By Day 3

Post your synthesized annotated bibliography narrative that includes an explanation of how these references relate to one or more components of your Doctoral Study and incorporates specific references to the Doctoral Study Rubric.

Refer to the Week 1 Discussion 2 Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this rubric to assess your work.

Important tips: Include each Article annotated bibliography have three paragraph summary, Analysis and applies to the study

Walden’s recommendations for formatting an AB includes three areas, typically formatted in three paragraphs: 

This first paragraph of the annotation summarizes the source. It outlines the main findings and primary methods of the study.

Summary: What did the author do? Why? What did he/she find?

This second paragraph of the annotation analyzes the source. It explains the benefits of the source but also the limitations.

Analysis: Was the author’s method sound? What information was missing? Is this a scholarly source?

This third paragraph of the annotation applies the source. It explains how the source’s ideas, research, and information can be applied to other contexts.

Application: Does this article apply to the literature? How would you be able to apply this method/study to your particular study? Is the article universal?

In general, annotated bibliographies should avoid referring to the first or second person (I, me, my, we, our, you, and us). Instead, students should aim to be objective and remove themselves from annotations. However, there may be some exceptions to this guideline. Check with your instructor if you are unsure about whether he/she will allow you to use “I” in your annotated bibliography.

Must be use Below Three Article for Annotated Bibliography & related intro & topic

Andersson, R., & Pardillo-Baez, Y. (2020). The six sigma framework improves the awareness and management of supply-chain risk. The TQM Journal, 32(5), 1021–1037.

Mangla, S. K., Kusi-Sarpong, S., Luthra, S., Bai, C., Jakhar, S. K., & Khan, S. A. (2020). Operational excellence for improving sustainable supply chain performance. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 162, 105025.

Sarkis, J. (2020). Supply Chain Sustainability: Learning from the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 41(1), 63–73.

Assignment must be follow Rubric Superior Criteria

Rubric Detail








Not Submitted

Element 1: Annotated Bibliography (post and attach document)

6.6 (30%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are thoroughly synthesized into a single, well-written narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A thorough and detailed explanation of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

6.27 (28.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are thoroughly synthesized into a single, well-written narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A detailed explanation of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident. One or two minor details are missing or lack clarity.

5.61 (25.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are synthesized into a single narrative annotated bibliography that explicitly compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. An explanation with some details of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

4.95 (22.5%)

Student posts and includes an attachment of his/her annotated bibliography which includes three peer-reviewed, scholarly sources that are somewhat synthesized into a single narrative annotated bibliography that compares/contrasts or supports his/her study. A cursory statement of how the sources relate to his/her study is evident.

3.3 (15%)

Does not meet minimal standards and/or is posted late.


Did not submit element.

Element 2: Follow-up Responses

8.8 (40%)

On Day 5 and on Day 7, student’s responses fully contribute to the quality of interaction by offering constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, and/or additional resources related to peers’ annotated bibliography. Student demonstrates active engagement with more than one peer on at least two days in the discussion forum (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts).

8.36 (38%)

On Day 5 and on Day 7, student shares some constructive critique, suggestions, in-depth questions, and/or additional resources related to peers’ annotated bibliography, but more depth and/or clarity around ideas is needed. Student demonstrates active engagement with more than one peer on at least two days in the discussion forum (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts).

7.48 (34%)

Student did not post on Day 5 and on Day 7, but he/she did engage with at least one peer (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts) during the week offering constructive feedback related to peers’ annotated bibliography.

6.6 (30%)

Student posts to at least one peer (or with Instructor if there are no other peers/posts) but response is cursory and/or off topic.

4.4 (20%)

Does not meet minimal standards and/or student posted late.


Did not submit element.

Element 3: Written Delivery Style & Grammar

3.3 (15%)

Student consistently follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are no spelling or grammar errors.

3.13 (14.25%)

Student consistently follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are one or two minor errors in spelling or grammar.

2.81 (12.75%)

Student mostly follows APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style. Student mostly communicates in a cohesive, logical style. There are some errors in spelling or grammar.

2.48 (11.25%)

Student does not follow APA writing style and basic rules of formal English grammar and written essay style and does not communicate in a cohesive, logical style.

1.65 (7.5%)

Does not meet minimal standards.


Did not submit element.

Element 4: Formal and Appropriate Documentation of Evidence, Attribution of Ideas (APA Citations)

3.3 (15%)

Student demonstrates full adherence to scholarly reference requirements and adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. There are no APA errors.

3.13 (14.25%)

Student demonstrates full adherence to scholarly reference requirements and adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. There are one or two minor errors in APA style or format.

2.81 (12.75%)

Student mostly adheres to scholarly reference requirements and/or mostly adheres to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. Some errors in APA format and style are evident.

2.48 (11.25%)

Student demonstrates weak or inconsistent adherence scholarly reference requirements and/or weak or inconsistent adherence to APA style with respect to source attribution, references, heading and subheading logic, table of contents and lists of charts, etc. Several errors in APA format and style are evident.

1.65 (7.5%)

Does not meet minimal standards.


Did not submit element.


Wk 2 Discussion (Due in 2 days) Urgent/.Sample_Annotated_Bibliography.doc



Sample Annotated Bibliography

Student Name Here

Walden University

Sample Annotated Bibliography

research continues to grapple with activities that best serve the purpose of fostering positive interpersonal relationships for children who struggle with autism. Children have benefited from therapy sessions that provide ongoing activities to aid autistic children’s ability to engage in healthy social interactions. However, less is known about how K–12 schools might implement programs for this group of individuals to provide additional opportunities for growth, or even if and how school programs would be of assistance in the end. There is a gap, then, in understanding the possibilities of implementing such programs in schools to foster the social and thus mental health of children with autism.

Annotated Bibliography

, M. C., Dinehart, L. H., & Winick, C. B. (2016). Child-centered play therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder. In A. A. Drewes & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play therapy in middle childhood (pp. 103–147). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

In this chapter, Kenny, Dinehart, and Winick provided a case study of the treatment of a 10-year-old boy diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ADS). Kenny et al. described the rationale and theory behind the use of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) in the treatment of a child with ASD. Specifically, children with ADS often have sociobehavioral problems that can be improved when they have a safe therapy space for expressing themselves emotionally through play that assists in their interpersonal development. The authors outlined the progress made by the patient in addressing the social and communicative impairments associated with ASD. Additionally, the authors explained the role that parents have in implementing CCPT in the patient’s treatment. Their research on the success of CCPT used qualitative data collected by observing the patient in multiple therapy sessions

CCPT follows research carried out by other theorists who have identified the role of play in supporting cognition and interpersonal relationships. This case study is relevant to the current conversation surrounding the emerging trend toward CCPT treatment in adolescents with ASD as it illustrates how CCPT can be successfully implemented in a therapeutic setting to improve the patient’s communication and socialization skills. However, Kenny et al. acknowledged that CCPT has limitations—children with ADS, who are not highly functioning and or are more severely emotionally underdeveloped, are likely not suited for this type of therapy

Kenny et al.’s explanation of this treatments’s implementation is useful for professionals in the psychology field who work with adolescents with ASD. This piece is also useful to parents of adolescents with ASD, as it discusses the role that parents can play in successfully implementing the treatment. However, more information is needed to determine if this program would be suitable as part of a K–12 school program focused on the needs of children with ASD

Stagmitti, K. (2016). Play therapy for school-age children with high-functioning autism. In A.A. Drewes and C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Play therapy in middle cildhood (pp. 237–255). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Stagmitti discussed how the Learn to Play program fosters the social and personal development of children who have high functioning autism. The program is designed as a series of play sessions carried out over time, each session aiming to help children with high functioning autism learn to engage in complex play activities with their therapist and on their own. The program is beneficial for children who are 1- to 8-years old if they are already communicating with others both nonverbally and verbally. Through this program, the therapist works with autistic children by initiating play activities, helping children direct their attention to the activity, eventually helping them begin to initiate play on their own by moving past the play narrative created by the therapist and adding new, logical steps in the play scenario themselves. The underlying rationale for the program is that there is a link between the ability of children with autism to create imaginary play scenarios that are increasingly more complex and the development of emotional well-being and social skills in these children. Study results from the program have shown that the program is successful: Children have developed personal and social skills of several increment levels in a short time. While Stagmitti provided evidence that the Learn to Play program was successful, she also acknowledged that more research was needed to fully understand the long-term benefits of the program.

Stagmitti offered an insightful overview of the program; however, her discussion was focused on children identified as having high-functioning autism, and, therefore, it is not clear if and how this program works for those not identified as high-functioning. Additionally, Stagmitti noted that the program is already initiated in some schools but did not provide discussion on whether there were differences or similarities in the success of this program in that setting.

Although Stagmitti’s overview of the Learn to Play program was helpful for understanding the possibility for this program to be a supplementary addition in the K–12 school system, more research is needed to understand exactly how the program might be implemented, the benefits of implementation, and the drawbacks. Without this additional information, it would be difficult for a researcher to use Stigmitti’s research as a basis for changes in other programs. However, it does provide useful context and ideas that researchers can use to develop additional research programs.

Wimpory, D. C., & Nash, S. (1999). Musical interaction therapy–Therapeutic play for children with autism. Child Language and Teaching Therapy, 15(1), 17–28. doi:10.1037/14776-014

Wimpory and Nash provided a case study for implementing music interaction therapy as part of play therapy aimed at cultivating communication skills in infants with ASD. The researchers based their argument on films taken of play-based therapy sessions that introduced music interaction therapy. To assess the success of music play, Wimpory and Nash filmed the follow-up play-based interaction between the parent and the child. The follow-up interactions revealed that 20 months after the introduction of music play, the patient developed prolonged playful interaction with both the psychologist and the parent. The follow-up films also revealed that children initiated spontaneously pretend play during these later sessions. After the introduction of music, the patient began to develop appropriate language skills.

Since the publication date for this case study is 1999, the results are dated. Although this technique is useful, emerging research in the field has undoubtedly changed in the time since the article was published. Wimpory and Nash wrote this article for a specific audience, including psychologists and researchers working with infants diagnosed with ASD. This focus also means that other researchers beyond these fields may not find the researcher’s findings applicable.

This research is useful to those looking for background information on the implementation of music into play-based therapy in infants with ASD. Wimpory and Nash presented a basis for this technique and outlined its initial development. Thus, this case study can be useful in further trials when paired with more recent research.

�The format of an annotated bibliography can change depending on the assignment and instructor preference, but the typical format for an annotated bibliography in academic writing is a list of reference entries with each entry followed by an annotation (hence the name, “annotated bibliography”).

However, APA does not have specific rules or guidelines for annotated bibliographies, so be sure to ask your instructor for any course-specific requirements that may vary from the general format.

�An introduction is a helpful addition to your annotated bibliography to tell your reader (a) your topic and focus for your research and (b) the general context of your topic.

Although your assignment instructions may not explicitly ask for an introduction, your instructor might expect you to include one. If you are not sure, be sure to ask your instructor.

�Use a Level 1 heading titled “Annotated Bibliography” or any other wording your instructor has given you to indicate to your reader that the annotations will go next and separate this section from the introduction paragraph above.

�Format your reference entries per APA, as well as follow APA style when writing your paragraphs. However, as mentioned above, this is the extent of the formatting requirements APA has for annotated bibliographies.

The content of the paragraphs and how many paragraphs you include in each annotation follows academic writing conventions, your assignment guidelines, and your instructor preferences.

�This first paragraph of the annotation summarizes the source. It outlines the main findings and primary methods of the study.

�This second paragraph of the annotation analyzes the source. It explains the benefits of the source but also the limitations.

�This third paragraph of the annotation applies the source. It explains how the source’s ideas, research, and information can be applied to other contexts.

In general, annotated bibliographies should avoid referring to the first or second person (I, me, my, we, our, you, and us). Instead, students should aim to be objective and remove themselves from annotations. However, there may be some exceptions to this guideline. Check with your instructor if you are unsure about whether he/she will allow you to use “I” in your annotated bibliography.

Wk 2 Discussion (Due in 2 days) Urgent/Operational excellence for improving sustainable.pdf

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Resources, Conservation & Recycling

journal homepage:


Operational excellence for improving sustainable supply chain performance

1. Introduction

Planning and synchronizing operations are fundamentally essential
to ensure sustainability in Supply Chains (SCs) (Bag et al., 2020). Tra-
ditionally operations management is primarily focused on efficiency,
effectiveness, and economy of SCs. However, growing pressures from
governments and SC stakeholders are forcing organizations to recali-
brate their operations strategies to include environmental and social
sustainability perspectives. There is greater impetus since proposed
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 by the United Nations
(United Nations Development Programme, 2015). Research in opera-
tions management has also started embracing sustainability from an
operational excellence perspective in SCs (Mani and
Gunasekaran, 2018; Sehnem et al., 2019).

The Sustainable Supply Chain (SSC) is a concept that concurrently
integrates ecological, economic, and societal measures of operations in
an SC. The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) concept clubs all these three me-
trics of sustainability. Organizations need to evaluate not just their own
operations, but also operations across the supply chains, considering all
the three metrics of sustainability. A localized and short term approach
to sustainability is not appropriate (Jabbour et al., 2019). The opera-
tional performance of the SCs needs to be evaluated based on their
trade-offs with TBL model of sustainability.

Sustainability in operations is a significant emerging challenge for
organizations (Bhandari et al., 2019; Ghadimi et al., 2019). SC opera-
tions such as quality management, lean manufacturing, six sigma, In-
formation Technology (IT) implementation, material sourcing, in-
ventory management, and reversed logistics operations are frequently
studied in SSCs (Li, 2013; Gaustad et al., 2018; Farias et al., 2019). Most
existing works on SSCs discuss strategies such as corporate social re-
sponsibility, green sourcing and supplier selection (Luthra et al., 2017),
the various R’s of sustainability- reduce, recycle, reuse, remanufacture,
redesign (Scur and Barbosa, 2017). However, in recent years, a number
of operational excellence based paradigms have been integrated in the
SSC literature, such as big data (Bag et al., 2020), blockchain, Circular
Economy (CE) (Gaustad et al., 2018), Inter-organizational Information
Technologies, Internet of Things (Zhao et al., 2019), Industry 4.0,
Theory of Constraints (Koh et al., 2017), Business Process Re-
engineering (Kumar and Rahman, 2014), etc.

These research paradigms explores different dimensions of SSCs and
contribute further by providing decisions support such as routing de-
cisions, production scheduling, integration mechanisms in SSCs, risk
mitigation, sustainable performance indicators, lean strategies, policy
enablers, and barriers, thus, enhancing performance and excellence
across SSC operations (Jabbour et al., 2019). There is a great focus
given towards the impact assessment and management of SC

operations, using impact assessment techniques such as Life cycle as-
sessment, environmental management system, and carbon footprint
assessment (Farias et al., 2019). There is also a growing literature that
contributes towards sustainable performance measurement in SCs,
especially using the TBL concept. Research in these dimensions of op-
erations management can help managers implement sustainable op-
erational strategies and better understand the trade-offs by applying a
holistic sustainable business perspective. The theoretical contributions
from these researches help managers adopt innovative approaches to-
wards sustainability in SC operations.

Still, research in SSCs has a long way to go. The up-scaling of supply
chain sustainability will require managers and practitioners to tackle
complexities and potential challenges with holistic and systemic focus.
Expounding the role of operational excellence activities is crucial for SC
sustainability. The journey towards sustainability in SCs will require
managers to tap on operational excellence approaches to influence
various sustainability performance dimensions such as SSC flexibility,
business competitiveness, coordination and collaboration, dynamic and
relational capabilities, SC transparency, technology management and
innovation (Mangla et al., 2019). However, there is a growing need to
understand how operational excellence can be leveraged to improve
and transform SSC structures significantly, to further enhance these SC
sustainability performance dimensions. The present Virtual Special
Issue (VSI) seeks to contribute in the same direction by encouraging
researchers to develop an understanding of how initiatives and strate-
gies for operational excellence will advance sustainability in SCs.

2. The virtual special issue

Enabling value chain sustainability requires a holistic and sys-
tematic focus help managers and practitioners manage the complexities
and potential challenges in the SC operations. This VSI sheds light on
this issue, by identifying how organizations can use excellence in supply
chain operations such as IT implementations, information management,
sales and marketing, logistics, etc. to mitigate the challenges of SSCs.
The issue was motivated by the role such operations play in the sus-
tainability strategy of an organization, why and how such operational
excellence practices are adopted in a SSC. There is a need to study the
theoretical and methodological aspects of such operations using
Analytical methods including Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM)
models, network decisions, simulation and optimisation models, case
based, and empirical studies.

Potential Topics for the VSI included, but were not limited to the

• Operational excellence approaches (e.g. Lean, Six-Sigma, Reverse

Resources, Conservation & Recycling 162 (2020) 105025

Available online 08 July 2020
0921-3449/ © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Logistics, Interorganizational Information Technologies, Internet of
Things, Blockchain, Industry ., Theory of Constraints, G technology)
and sustainable supply chain performance and other mediator/
moderator relationships.

• TBL business frameworks and models, and their implications on
emergent sustainable supply chain performance dimensions.

• Drivers/enablers/critical success factors and problems/barriers/
challenges of operational excellence approaches for sustainable
supply chains and their performance improvement.

• Operational excellence approaches and knowledge management
models in sustainable supply chain flexibility, collaboration, dyna-
mism, transparency, relational capabilities and innovation perfor-

• Contradictory and unexpected outcomes and relationships, as op-
erational excellence may upset some aspects of ecological or social

• Empirical and decision support based business models in opera-
tional excellence for upscaling the sustainable supply chain perfor-
mance to manage the complexities and potential paradoxes of these

• Human expertise and stakeholder commitment in operational ex-
cellence for upscaling sustainable supply chain performance

3. Contributions of VSI

A number of excellent research articles were submitted for the VSI,
however, owing to the thematic and space restrictions, 11 articles were
finally accepted after a thorough review process. The research articles
accepted for the VSI are summarized as follows:

Kuo et al. (2019) proposes a sustainable product-service system
based on the life-cycle cost analysis and product design model. It
compares the selling and leasing deign model for a product. Such an
analysis is essential to balance the customer requirements with the
tradeoff for sustainable performance and cost of a product.

Dev et al. (2020) uses a case-bases analysis to propose a road map
for joint implementation of industry 4.0 (I4.0) and ReSOLVE model of
CE. The economic and environmental performance of I4.0 is assessed in
a reverse logistics set up, imparting real-time information sharing with
green product diffusion in SC. The effectiveness of sustainability ap-
proaches is studied on the excellence in operations such as inventory,
production planning, remanufacturing, and additive manufacturing.

Niu et al. (2020) studied the sustainable strategies for operational
decisions such as pricing, ordering, and sourcing, for a Multi-National
Firm (MNF) entering a developing country market. Entering into local
market, MNFs could face disruptive environment that could challenge
its economic and environmental sustainability. This is important to
achieve a high business performance in SSCs.

Agrawal and Singh (2019) studied the role of reverse logistics in
adopting and implementing CE concepts in supply chains. They ex-
plored the reverse logistics in the context of the Indian electronics in-
dustry. The effect of disposition decisions on the TBL of reverse logistics
are examined using Partial Least Square technique (PLS) of Structural
Equation Modelling (SEM).

Behavioral factors play a crucial role in adopting SSCM practices.
Kumar et al. (2020) studied the dynamic behavior of human nature
affecting implementation of SSCM practices for operational excellence.
The identified factors are identified through empirical investigation and
modelled using hesitant fuzzy- DEMATEL.

Bag et al. (2020) studied the role of Big Data Analytics (BDA) cap-
abilities as an operational excellence approach to achieve sustainable
supply chain performance. They used PLS-SEM to empirically show that
BDA have a strong effect on the green product development innovation
and supply chain sustainability.

Zhang et al. (2020) develops a guide to implement blockchain
technology enabled Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). They proposed a
framework integrating blockchain with Internet of Things (IoT), BDA

and visualization. The blockchain technology is used to track and trace
the critical information about inputs and outputs at different SC stages
that can be used to assess the environmental impact of products and
services in an industrial viewpoint.

Continuing in the same stream of thought, IT infrastructure is cru-
cial for operational excellence towards supply chain sustainability.
Chakraborty et al. (2020) explores the critical barriers to IT im-
plementation in the organized as well as unorganized logistics sector in
India. The difference in barriers in organized and unorganized sectors is
an important managerial outcome of this study.

Yadav and Singh (2020) studied the critical success factors that help
achieve a sustainable supply chain integrated with blockchain tech-
nology. Important variables related to blockchain adoption are identi-
fied from literature and modelled using PCA (principal component
design) and Fuzzy-DEMATEL (Decision Making Trial and Evaluation

Udokporo et al. (2020) studies the impact of lean agile and green
practices achieving operational excellence in supply chain from the
perspective of cost, lead time and environmental waste recycling. The
research explores such relationship in fast-moving consumer goods in-
dustry and identifies results to vary with adoption in different life-cycle

Sehnem et al. (2019) studies the maturity level of CE adoption in
emerging (Brazil) and mature (Scotland) economies. They used upper
echelon theory to analyze the critical success factors of CE adoption. A
case based approach is also used to identify that companies that more
proactive in CE adoption batter manage challenges owing to better
management of critical success factors. The management characteristics
of such successful companies are also studied in their research.

4. Concluding remarks

The SI attracted research articles from varied operational perspec-
tive, such as sourcing decisions, reversed logistics, sales and logistics,
big data application, blockchain application, IT implementation, Lean-
agile-green management, and life-cycle assessment. Three key topics
came out to be the most addressed one in the SI. The first and the most
highlighted topic is the integrations of disruptive technologies, such as
blockchain, big data, internet of things, and industry 4.0 in SSCs. The
second topic is of CE, identifying how it can be implemented and what
factors play a major role in its implementations in SSCs. The third topic
is of reversed logistics, which essentially play a critical role in adoption
of CE and SSC concepts.

The articles selected for the VSI very well represents the field of SSC,
and importantly exemplify how excellence in SC operations can be
pursued to enable sustainability in SCs. The VSI advanced the field of
SSCM as well as the theme of operational excellence for SSC perfor-
mance. The future research in this direction may focus on the following

• The trade-offs in SSCs from the operational performance and TBL.
• Impact of disruptive events on the operations, decisions, and op-
erational performance of SSCs.

• Understand the interplay between disruptive technologies and CE in
SSCs, the conceptual developments on this topic could be extended
toward potential applications in different sectors.

• Investigate CE based business models such as sharing economy,
cyber-physical-social networks, in SSCs.

• Investigate the operational excellence models in SSCs during
emergency and pandemics such as COVID – 19.

Sachin Kumar Manglaa,⁎, Simonov Kusi-Sarpongb, Sunil Luthrac,
Chunguang Baid, Suresh Kumar Jakhare, Sharfuddin Ahmed Khanf,

a Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
b Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, United


Editorial Resources, Conservation & Recycling 162 (2020) 105025


c Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ch. Ranbir Singh State Institute of
Engineering and Technology, Jhajjar, India

d School of Management and Economics, University of Electronic Science
and Technology of China, China

e Operations Management Group, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow,
Lucknow, India

f Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management,
University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

E-mail addresses: [email protected],
[email protected] (S.K. Mangla),

[email protected] (S. Kusi-Sarpong),
[email protected]om (S. Luthra), [email protected] (C. Bai),

[email protected] (S.K. Jakhar), [email protected] (S.A. Khan).


Agrawal, S., Singh, R.K., 2019. Analyzing disposition decisions for sustainable reverse
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Bag, S., Wood, L.C., Xu, L., Dhamija, P., Kayikci, Y., 2020. Big data analytics as an op-
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Bhandari, D., Singh, R.K., Garg, S.K., 2019. Prioritisation and evaluation of barriers in-
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Chakraborty, S., Sharma, A., Vaidya, O.S., 2020. Achieving sustainable operational ex-
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Dev, N.K., Shankar, R., Qaiser, F.H., 2020. Industry 4.0 and circular economy: operational
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Farias, L.M.S., Santos, L.C., Gohr, C.F., Rocha, L.O., 2019. An ANP-based approach for
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Gaustad, G., Krystofik, M., Bustamante, M., Badami, K., 2018. Circular economy strategies
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Ghadimi, P., Wang, C., Lim, M.K., 2019. Sustainable supply chain modeling and analysis:
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Jabbour, A.B.L.D.S., Song, M., Godinho Filho, M., 2019. Sustainability implications for
operations management: building the bridge through exemplar case studies. Prod.

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Editorial Resources, Conservation & Recycling 162 (2020) 105025


  • Operational excellence for improving sustainable supply chain performance
    • Introduction
    • The virtual special issue
    • Contributions of VSI
    • Concluding remarks
    • References

Wk 2 Discussion (Due in 2 days) Urgent/Supply Chain Sustainability.pdf

Supply chain sustainability:
learning from the

COVID-19 pandemic
Joseph Sarkis

Foisie Business School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester,
Massachusetts, USA and

Hanken School of Economics, Humlog Institute, Helsinki, Finland


Purpose – This paper, a pathway, aims to provide research guidance for investigating sustainability in supply
chains in a post-COVID-19 environment.
Design/methodology/approach – Published literature, personal research experience, insights from virtual
open forums and practitioner interviews inform this study.
Findings – COVID-19 pandemic events and responses are unprecedented to modern operations and supply
chains. Scholars and practitioners seek to make sense of how this event will make us revisit basic scholarly
notions and ontology. Sustainability implications exist. Short-term environmental sustainability gains occur,
while long-term effects are still uncertain and require research. Sustainability and resilience are complements
and jointly require investigation.
Research limitations/implications – The COVID-19 crisis is emerging and evolving. It is not clear whether
short-term changes and responses will result in a new “normal.” Adjustment to current theories or new
theoretical developments may be necessary. This pathway article only starts the conservation – many
additional sustainability issues do arise and cannot be covered in one essay.
Practical implications – Organizations have faced a major shock during this crisis. Environmental
sustainability practices can help organizations manage in this and future competitive contexts.
Social implications – Broad economic, operational, social and ecological-environmental sustainability
implications are included – although the focus is on environmental sustainability. Emergent organizational,
consumer, policy and supply chain behaviors are identified.
Originality/value – The authors take an operations and supply chain environmental sustainability
perspective to COVID-19 pandemic implications; with sustainable representing the triple bottom-line
dimensions of environmental, social and economic sustainability; with a special focus on environmental
sustainability. Substantial open questions for investigation are identified. This paper sets the stage for research
requiring rethinking of some previous tenets and ontologies.

Keywords Sustainability, Environmental management, Resilience, Supply chain management, COVID-19

Paper type Viewpoint

Sustainable operations and supply chains are well-established topics in the operations
management discipline. Sustainable supply chain research [1] focuses on a triple bottom-line
perspective, with economics and environment playing predominant roles (Hallinger, 2020),
and social concerns receiving increasing attention (Nath and Agrawal, 2020; Walker
et al., 2014).

The COVID-19 pandemic provides additional evidence that the three sustainability
dimensions are inextricably linked. Economic reverberations have occurred with supply
chain stoppages across industries – some non-essential industries have yet to fully recover.
The natural environment is the pandemic source – the virus likely emanated from wet
markets selling animal products. New social sustainability norms emerge as people live
differently – for example, social distancing has resulted in work from home and fewer
physical meetings. Although social and economic sustainability issues appear in our
discussion, the major focus of sustainability discussion in this pathways article focuses on
environmental-ecological sustainability or greening concerns.

Supply chain


The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

Received 2 September 2020
Revised 12 November 2020
Accepted 21 November 2020

International Journal of Operations
& Production Management

Vol. 41 No. 1, 2021
pp. 63-73

© Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI 10.1108/IJOPM-08-2020-0568

The objective of this pathway article is to provide insights for sustainable supply chain
research and relationships resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. We identify potential research
opportunities for future International Journal of Operations and Production Management
(IJOPM) scholarship based on a number of phenomenological observations. These
observations derive from exploratory evidence based on industry practice, expert opinion
and academic sources. Our aim is to identify the COVID-19 shocks that face the supply chain
and especially the sustainability of supply chain management. Another aim is to provide
some thoughts on COVID-19 crisis remnants and what the aftermath means to supply chain
sustainability. We consider this evaluation from technological and social innovation
perspectives. Another aim is to identify various research opportunities, which appear in the
penultimate section of this pathway article.

COVID-19 shocks
The social, political and economic upheaval from COVID-19 is palpable. Global virus
containment responses include closing non-essential businesses, social distancing, smaller
public gatherings, indefinitely postponing sporting events, canceling conferences and
requiring populations to shelter in place.

Operations and supply chain fragility is at the forefront of popular discourse. The great
toilet paper drought, cotton swabs for testing deficiencies and personal protection equipment
(PPE) privation – became daily news items (Paul and Chowdhury, 2020; Rowan and Laffey,
2020). Global supply chains faltered in delivering needed goods, as their brittleness and lack
of operational agility became conspicuous. We heard stories about wheat flour and other
commodities being held at national borders to prevent the spread of the virus, disrupting the
essential food supply chain.

Globalization, offshoring and lean-based efficiency came under increasing scrutiny.
Historically, the research has been replete with efforts to help organizations gain competitive
advantage under paradigms of comparative advantage – finding locations with advantages
in costs and resources (Schleper et al., 2019). Leanness and efficiency – at least in the short
term – were met with animosity, mistrust and misgivings.

The COVID-19 crisis shocked supply chains. We observed demand and supply ripples;
chaos and resonance effects propagated across global networks (Guan et al., 2020). How many
traditional supply chain strategies and policies will survive the COVID-19 outbreak after life
returns to normal?

What do these events and responses mean in transitions to sustainable and resilient
supply chains? What do they mean to environmentally sustainable supply chains, social
innovation and technological relationships as they relate to the current COVID-19 pandemic
and the various supply chain responses?

There are unprecedented opportunities for this transition to a sustainable post-COVID-19
environment. The author was involved in a number of open forums – naturally held in a
virtual setting – that discussed opportunities and barriers for supply chain sustainability
(Ellram et al., 2020; Sarkis et al., 2020c). Hundreds of people from throughout the world
participated in these open forums.

Methodologically, the observations and perspectives presented in this pathways paper are
based on information from these forums and summary reports. Interviews with supply chain
professionals and experts based on general concerns related to procurement and operational
practices helped to further refine some thoughts. Also, emergent literature, from
practitioners, news sources and academic sources were used, although academic sources
were based mostly on opinion and exploratory research.

Based on these sources, we present some summary thoughts on what we can expect and
the role that our learnings from COVID-19 may play in supply chain sustainability diffusion.



We are at a crossroads – will the pandemic lessons persist over the long run, and what does
this all mean for scholarship?

Sustainability and resilience in supply chains
While this crisis provides sustainability opportunities, it could also result in disappointment.
From this crisis, we can presage a transition to further supply chain sustainability, although
uncertainties and concerns remain. Sustainability strategy and practices contribute to supply
chain resilience, e.g. by making sure ecosystem services are maintained, encouraging more
sustainable “buy local” actions and building community trust. Risk reduction and crisis
responses are reasons that the crisis represents a transformational opportunity by using
sustainability to reduce risk and build resilience.

Sustainability has been viewed through multiple lenses. The two most popular views are
John Elkington’s triple bottom line – profits, people, planet and the multi-generational
philosophy born of the Brundtland Report – meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The research in sustainable supply chains – especially the greening focus – has found a
permanent foothold in the supply chain discipline. Our discipline should be proud that our
community leads corporate and business sustainability research (Hallinger, 2020). We have
an opportunity to maintain this legacy.

It is important for us to critically investigate the pressures, roles and outcomes of
sustainable supply chains. Although sustainability progress is being made from an
environmental and social perspective, it is slow, sporadic, myopic and can easily fall into
unsustainable practices.

Often, organizations will take the road of least resistance focusing on win–win
opportunities in meeting sustainability challenges; sustainability measures that do not
result in significant short-term economic results are ignored or discouraged. Strong
sustainability is required for lasting improvements (Nikolaou et al., 2019).

Given the pandemic, environmental sustainability efforts may face the crisis rebound
effect – where society’s recovery activities will exclusively focus on economic and social
sustainability. Previous crises as in this crisis slowed economic growth resulting in some
environmental improvements such as decreases in greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the
economic rebound eventually involved unapologetically greater pollutant emissions.

Jobs and economic concerns will be paramount in a recovery – neglecting or removing any
semblance for environmental concerns. An economic growth policy has already been
proposed by various governments, including rolling back or removal of some environmental
regulations. This pattern is worrisome to social and planetary sustainability. The post-
COVID-19 rebound may involve worse environmental outcomes. The decrease in emissions
due to slower economic activity from the 2008 recession was just a “blip” in long-run
industrial emissions (Hanna et al., 2020), an overshoot occurred with lessened ecological

COVID-19 is not an aberration – it may be a black swan that has returned. We have
encountered similar issues previously. Criticism of fragile cost-efficient supply chains has
occurred from previous disruptions, including the 2003 SARS crisis and the Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear disaster (Lee and Preston, 2012).

Industry has been responding. One pharmaceutical company we spoke with has been
contracting with fourth-party logistics (4PLs) to find multiple available logistics options
instead of a single-source logistics provider. This effort builds supply chain agility and
resilience, but such selection procedures can also be used to improve sustainability by
identifying and selecting logistics providers with improved emissions. That case company
has a sustainability strategic policy, these initiatives are encouraged long-run supplier goals.

Supply chain


Some companies, such as New Balance Shoes (New Balance, 2020) and General Motors
(Davies, 2020), voluntarily pivoted to provide procurement and manufacturing capacity for
PPE and ventilators, respectively. This requires building agility into their manufacturing
processes – but may contribute to building additional capabilities to offer byproduct
manufacture from excess material and wastes – a sustainable supply chain practice.

COVID-19 will open investigatory avenues for sustainable supply chain practices. Whether
all supply chains will encounter pressures to maintain or dissolve environmental sustainability
efforts will require careful investigation, analysis and orientation. The choice will be important
to supply chain sustainability research for decades. We now provide some thoughts and
insights, including trends and hotspots for research where future investigation is needed.

What will happen to sustainability in supply chains – post-COVID-19?
Broad socio-political forces have always played a role in supply chain operations; whether
they are from tariffs on goods, new norms related to safety practices or regulations on
technological practices (Handfield et al., 2020). Similarly, there will be post-COVID-19
transformation of supply chain practices, but will these transformations stick? Technological
and social innovations are important to supply chain sustainability transition.

Technological innovations and implications
Manufacturing technology is trending toward automation and data exchange systems as in
Industry 4.0. Manufacturers are using Industry 4.0 technologies – cyber-physical systems
(CPS), internet of things (IoT), cloud computing and cognitive computing – that can
complement human decisions with technologies that can decentralize decision-making. These
technologies may take on important long-term roles in response to COVID-19 activities
(Kumar et al., 2020a).

A likely major change is data-driven awareness-based collective action (Scharmer, 2020).
This action means addressing situations collaboratively, and then adjusting behavior in
response to the COVID-19 crisis. As systems begin to fail, especially market and
governmental regulatory systems, organizations need behavior adjustment. Similar
behavioral adjustments can benefit sustainability.

Organizations and their supply chains require more and timely data during and after the
crisis; they will internalize decision-making, develop new initiatives and programs in
response to the crisis. This issue became evident in the financial crisis of 2008, as
organizations tended to delay or discard some of their short-term and tactical plans to address
the immediate crisis (DesJardine et al., 2019). This organizational capacity can enhance
sustainability thinking – environmental and social crises will occur but with uncertain timing
and levels. Having the necessary data-driven systems – such as big data – can help
organizations to respond quickly to crises, especially environmental and social crises.

Collaborative technologies such as blockchain technology allow for sharing of
information transparently, reasonably quickly, accurately and widely. Integrating these
systems with IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) can alter how supply chain managers make
decisions and subsequently operate (Saberi et al., 2019; van Hoek, 2019). Knowing the supply
chain capabilities and capacities is critical for building resilience. Effectively identifying
supply chain environmental and social vulnerabilities can be completed using blockchain
transparency and traceability, paired with big data predictive analytics tools – helping to
build the needed capabilities and capacities.

This crisis provides evidence that localized systems are more likely to be robust and
resilient than global supply chains (Nandi et al., 2021; Handfield et al., 2020). Localization is
also important to environmental supply chain sustainability (Holmstrom and Gutowski,



2017). Local production can mean rapid response to local needs, but with low energy and
resources consumption. For example, in the COVID-19 pandemic, many “hot-spots” emerged.
Ensuring critical equipment and materials through more agile production and rapid delivery
logistics to hot spots can equate to saving more lives or slowing the spread of positive cases –
a social sustainability concern. Flexible manufacturing system technologies such as additive
manufacturing and robotics can localize production capabilities.

Local additive manufacturing of parts for ventilators or masks were important solutions
during the pandemic. In northern Italy, a hospital required replacement valves for its
ventilators but could not locate any through its local supply chain. A startup – Issinova –
heard of the need and brought a three-dimensional (3D) printer to the hospital, reverse
engineered the valve and printed replacement parts within the day. This small example was
repeated in multiple locations throughout the world. Smart factories with distributed
information, additive manufacturing and integrated Industry 4.0 technology is one solution
for building supply chain resilience and robustness through localization (Holmstrom and
Gutowski, 2017).

Localized production capability can support sustainable supply chains by producing only
what is needed. Less waste, less transportation and less need for inventory storage due to
shorter supply chains; each has sustainable supply chain implications.

There are sustainability concerns with some recommended solutions to building resilience
in supply chains. Agility in supply networks will likely mean building redundant capacity
and capabilities. Redundancy results in wasted resources and energy.

Social distancing, remote work and reduced business travel during the COVID-19 crisis
offer sustainable supply chain lessons. Reduced employee commuting and business travel
contribute to reduced organizational carbon footprints. Virtual meetings and virtual
reality acceptance are likely to increase and become the norm (Sarkis et al., 2020a). In an
interview with a machine parts distributing company, they informed us that they will
likely require fewer physical supplier location visits due to greater distance
communication acceptance.

Unintended negative environmental sustainability concerns may occur. Working from
home may not be as sustainable as initially thought. For example, UK researchers have found
work from home environmental impact was higher in the winter due to heating individual
worker homes versus centralized office buildings (Turits, 2020). Thus, research on the overall
lifecycle environmental impact of operational behavioral changes will be needed.

COVID social distancing lessons can provide lessons for future health and safety
operational concerns, e.g. when working with hazardous materials. Virtual reality and linked
CPS technologies that can help manage operations at a distance. These practices reduce
travel to and from locations, resulting in reduced energy resource usage and emissions.

A burst of demand for IoT and e-commerce consumer goods and groceries occurred
during the crisis (Wang et al., 2020). Shelter in place and social distancing mandates forced
consumers to turn to online sources of goods and services. This behavior had been increasing
incrementally over the past two decades – it is likely to become an even more dominant form
of consumerism. This event required farmers and local retail outlets to pivot to e-commerce
delivery. Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce platform, stepped in to address this need and
provided cloud and supply chains services to these local companies, resulting in a shortening
of supply chains (Guillen, 2020).

The crisis also identified big data and analytics opportunities. These opportunities can
support sustainable supply chains (Hazen et al., 2016; Brinch, 2018). An example is
management of food waste in an online grocery situation or food sharing across peer-to-peer
e-commerce venues. In our investigation of an online setting, we were offered data from
before and during the crisis. These data are currently being evaluated with data analytics
tools to investigate supply chain and consumer responses. Food waste, especially for fresh

Supply chain


foods, was a major issue we identified due to the fluctuations and shifts in demand with
bullwhip-like characteristics.

Social innovations and implications
Social innovations relate to the technology transformation landscape. Two related social
innovations – the circular economy and the sharing economy – can positively impact supply
chain sustainability and resilience. Negative outcomes may also occur.

The COVID-19 crisis showed the risk of global supply chains focusing solely on efficiency.
As previously observed, localization and redundancy in sourcing can reduce risk.
Localization is particularly important for isolated communities. One extreme isolation
example is Pacific Island territories that are dependent on global supply chains for food
security. In response to COVID-19 disruptions, island nation communities have developed
local food markets, sharing activities and bartering. This localization transformation means
less food waste and emissions due to cooperatives (Farrell et al., 2020).

Supply chain localization through industrial symbiosis, waste exchanges and utilization
of local byproducts are supply chain resilience enablers and circular economy practices
(Smart et al., 2017). Questions do arise. Intended for resources conservation, do circular
economy principles also help build supply chain resilience and robustness? Can circular
economy practices be the solution for joint supply chain sustainability, efficiency and

Sharing economy issues also arose during the crisis (Hossain, 2020). For example, due to
slowdowns and shutdowns, inactive service or delivery vehicles were mobilized to deliver
essential goods. One supply chain executive mentioned to us the ability to deliver
internationally using passenger and military aircraft due to excess capacity and availability
during the crisis. This acceptance and application due to crisis needs may be adopted as a
standard crowdsourcing practice for logistics and delivery (Li et al., 2020).

COVID-19 consumer and individual behavioral responses may influence the prospects of
both sharing and circular economy social innovations – the consumer behavioral move to
online and e-commerce sales is one example (Wang et al., 2020). A major behavioral concern is
whether negative reuse and recycling perceptions will emerge. Reuse and recycling – core
circular economy practices – imply that a material or good has been used previously. Post-
COVID-19, a fraction of the population will perceive recycled goods and materials as
contaminated and unsafe. Even before the crisis, there existed an aversion to recycled
products due to quality deficiency perceptions – this perception may expand to recycled
goods being less sanitary. Additionally, sharing services such as car sharing may be under
greater scrutiny, given contagion worries and unsafe close conditions, during the crisis,
which can carry on to the post-COVID-19 environment (K€obis et al., 2020).

Research opportunities
Several research opportunities for the overall supply chain management community – and
sustainable supply chains – exist during and after this pandemic. It is an opportunity for
natural experiments, empirical investigation, field and case studies.

First, some broader questions – the COVID-19 pandemic is a natural disaster, not
necessarily man-made. How does a natural disaster differ from a man-made disaster in terms
of acceptance of supply chain disruption and resulting supply chain environmental
sustainability issues? Will supply chain partners and consumers be more forgiving in crisis
responses when environmental damage occurs for the benefit of society and the economy?

After the event, there will be concerns about recovery and returning to normalcy. From a
supply chain sustainability perspective, there is concern on whether regulatory policy –



especially environmental policies – will be rolled back, and whether this regulatory roll back
supports more efficient supply chain recovery (Kecinski et al., 2020).

Post-COVID-19, emission outcomes and shifts in sustainable supply chain policies are
intriguing research directions. Will organizations along the supply chain – including
governmental or quasi-governmental agency regulators – reduce oversight, auditing and
requirements for sourcing materials, especially with respect to environmental regulations?

Will a crisis-related shift in global politics cause changes in access to materials for green
economy products? For example, the USA is blaming China for the pandemic and using it to
further instill tariffs. Will these tariffs further disrupt clean energy supply chain and
distribution networks dependent on materials and rare metals from China (Temple, 2020)?

How does this pandemic relate to other crises? A comparative analysis may be possible.
How do these disruptive global events differ from smaller disruption events? Can the lessons
learned at the broader pandemic crisis level be applied to less pervasive disasters and
disruptions? Do environmental concerns along the supply chain differ? For example, a
localized event may require environmental protections for local residents; a broader event
with dispersed and long-term environmental concerns – e.g. climate change – may not be as
critical for organizational and supply chain action (Sarkis et al., 2020b).

With newer consumption patterns, does the shift to online purchase and deliveries result
in improved or worsened supply chain sustainability outcomes? For example, currently,
packaging for online delivery is very inefficient with excess packaging and materials (Wang
and Zhu, 2020). As this type of purchasing becomes the new normal, will innovations in
packaging occur and thus reduce overall waste?

Last-mile-type studies can be further investigated. For example, the use of drone
technology for delivery may mean fewer emissions from vehicular deliveries; will these new
technologies become more acceptable and feasible as less human interaction is expected
(Kumar et al., 2020b)?

The bullwhip, ripple and resonance effects are likely to occur in hoarding situations
during a pandemic, especially after shelter in place orders are announced. What happens in
this circumstance (Handfield et al., 2020)? Will the bullwhip effect be more pronounced with
greater waste? Overshoot responses means a surplus of inventory, which could prove costly
to the company and result in wasted resources. Can this waste be mitigated with some of the
localization and social innovation practices? What does it mean for leadership and
organizational policy in managing short-term wastes and long-term sustainability of
organizations? If the “clockspeed” (Fine, 2000) associated with this crisis has not been
experienced previously, what does it mean for sustainability management and future broad-
based disruptive events and crises?

The relationships between lean and green supply chains have been investigated (Shou
et al., 2020). Will the shift away from lean, toward agile and robust supply chains, also mean a
shift in technology, social innovations and environmental sustainability of supply chains?

Many potential transformations are likely to occur; how long these changes remain will
likely differ across industries. The relative system shock may determine whether COVID-19-
driven shifts toward greater supply chain resilience and sustainability will only be short-run
corrections. One supply chain executive – the chief procurement officer of a company
employing 100,000 people worldwide – provided one interesting insight. She stated that
because her company had a strong sustainability focus, that they did not feel the “short-run”
COVID-19 crisis will change anything they do. They felt this short-term crisis will subside
and broader sustainability concerns are more critical.

In the emergent literature, the issue of whether supply chain sustainability will be altered
by the COVID-19 crisis is receiving attention (e.g. Sharma et al., 2020). The converse on
whether a sustainability strategy focus will cause organizations to effectively survive post-
COVID-19 remains an important topic for research.

Supply chain


Major potential COVID-19 outcomes related to technological and social innovations and their
relationships, based on previous section observations, are summarized at the top of Table 1.
Exemplary research concerns and questions from COVID-19 and supply chain sustainability
relationships are summarized in the bottom of Table 1.

This is an unprecedented time. The world has rapidly reacted to a major crisis. Our
previous institutions and worldviews have changed. This pandemic – with its remaining
uncertainties – and responses will be topics of discussion for the foreseeable future. The crisis
and recovery period provides us with opportunities to observe and study how institutional
changes can result in strategic and operational supply chain transformations.

Although the limitations and fragility of global supply chain resilience occurred early in
the pandemic, they also highlighted potential transition opportunities and evolution toward

developments Lessons highlights


Long-term (strategic) role of Industry 4.0 technologies as an enabler for crisis
Big data is reinforced as a decision planning tool
Emergent collaborative technologies such a blockchain technology can help to
support sustainability
Localization through various technologies used in crisis can support supply chain
Building agility through technological innovations may result in wasted resources
burdening supply chain sustainability
Social distancing and remote work means greater acceptance of conferencing
technology and less travel to supplier locations for monitoring, negotiations, etc.
Online sourcing and purchasing of retail and grocery shifts travel and last-mile
delivery focus affecting sustainability

Social innovations Circular economy (CE)
(1) Localization can be supported through CE principles
(2) Localization can build resilience and be more sustainable
(3) Which CE practices – industrial symbiosis, waste exchanges, local by-

product usage – may address resilience and robustness
Sharing economy
(1) Learnings for sharing excess capacity through crowdsourcing
(2) Significant issues related to consumer sharing and contagion – carryover to

Research opportunities Exemplary research questions

Are natural disasters and crises and their responses in the supply chain relative to
sustainability concerns different than responses to man-made crises?
Will supply chain and operations environmental sustainability performance and
concerns wane during the crisis and during a recovery period?
Will the COVID crisis provide greater insights for local or for global supply chain
crises and responses (localized environmental crises versus global long-term crises)?
What lessons exist for the bullwhip events in a crisis-like situation for general
management and waste in the supply chain pipeline?
What does a change in lean effort perspectives due to COVID mean to the “lean and
green” supply chain outcomes? Are agile supply chains greener than lean?
Does a broad-based organizational sustainability strategy will likely mean few
changes to operations and supply chain practices and long-term sustainability

Table 1.
Summary of potential
innovations and
research questions
pertaining to supply
chain sustainability



sustainability. For example, the COVID-19 crisis provides lessons for climate shock events
(Sarkis et al., 2020b).

We have outlined some general issues on how these major social and technological
transformations from the COVID-19 pandemic can change our understanding of supply
chains and supply chain sustainability.

It is not clear if after the panic and the crisis we will return to our old ways. After this black
swan event subsides, will it be the accountants and financiers who decide how our supply
chains operate; will the sustainability flame dim?

We need to carefully examine and study our world; what we learn now and what we
implement later can have beneficial or detrimental results for decades and generations. Only
looking inwardly to our discipline will be short-sighted; we need to join forces with natural
scientists, social scientists, industry, government and civil society to jointly address these
issues. This crisis requires transdisciplinary interactions.

Overall, as operations and supply chain researchers, we should not shirk our duties in
contributing to recovery and a better – sustainable – world.


1. We will integrate sustainable operations and supply chain management into sustainable supply
chains and sustainable supply chain management, with sustainable operations and sustainable
operations management included as part of sustainable supply chains. Unless explicitly mentioned,
sustainability is primarily focused on environmental sustainability concerns.


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Corresponding author
Joseph Sarkis can be contacted at: [email protected]

For instructions on how to order reprints of this article, please visit our website:
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Supply chain


  • Supply chain sustainability: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Introduction
    • COVID-19 shocks
    • Sustainability and resilience in supply chains
    • What will happen to sustainability in supply chains – post-COVID-19?
      • Technological innovations and implications
      • Social innovations and implications
    • Research opportunities
    • Conclusion
    • Note
    • References

Wk 2 Discussion (Due in 2 days) Urgent/The six sigma framework improves.pdf

The Six Sigma framework
improves the awareness and

management of supply-chain risk
Roy Andersson and Yinef Pardillo-Baez

Department of Supply Chain and Operations Management, J€onk€oping University,
J€onk€oping, Sweden


Purpose – Modern supply chains are at risk as a result of increasing disturbance. The use of Lean and Six
Sigma’’s values, methods and tools can be one option to analyze, prevent and mitigate risks. The purpose of this
study is to investigate whether a combined Lean Six Sigma philosophy can support the awareness and
management of supply-chain risk.
Design/methodology/approach – The methodology followed in the study is based on a literature review
and multiple case study, performed by means of qualitative methods of data collection, such as observations
on-site, face-to-face interviews and document analysis. Case selection includes the results of research conducted
in seven large Swedish companies.
Findings – It has been indicated that Lean and Six Sigma values, methods and tools can be very effective in
companies’ efforts to control the supply-chain risks and that they improve the companies’ ability to handle
variability and risk management. Lean Six Sigma supports a risk-management culture in the focal companies,
but they must involve customers and companies in the supply chain if they wish to create a risk-management
culture in the entire supply chain. In order to do this, they can use the Six Sigma training structure, but they
need to include more risk tools and methods developed for the supply chain management. It has also been
indicated in the literature that if more people involve in 6S projects, the financial results will be better, and the
innovation of processes will increase.
Research limitations/implications – These include suggestions for how the companies can use the Six
sigma training structure to collaborate in the supply chain.
Practical implications – This study gives practical suggestions for how the companies in supply chain can
collaborate and use the Six Sigma training structure for creating a more holistic view of supply chain, which
also decrease risks in supply chain.
Originality/value – This study indicates that Lean Six Sigma supports risk awareness and management in
the focal companies of the supply chains, which improves companies’ ability to handle variability and risk
management. It has also been demonstrated that the companies should use the Six Sigma framework,
especially training, as a foundation, and they should create common projects for better collaboration in the
supply chain, which will decrease the risks in the entire supply chain.

Keywords Lean Six Sigma, Supply chain, Quality, Risk management, Collaboration

Paper type Case study

1. Introduction
The marketplace is characterized by turbulence and uncertainty (Cerruti et al., 2016; Kumar
Sharma and Bhat, 2014; Oloruntoba and Kov�acs, 2015; Song et al., 2016), which increases
the exposure to risks in the supply chains (SCs) (Christopher and Peck, 2004; Kei Tse et al.,
2016; Mandal, 2014). Companies face significant challenges when managing and reducing
cumulative environmental risks and impacts (Karimah et al., 2016); and organizations need
to prepare themselves to cope with crises from a variety of sources (Olson and Dash
Wu, 2010).

As supply-chain networks increase in complexity as a result of outsourcing, globalization
and volatility in the trading environment, the risk of disruption has also increased (Kei Tse
et al., 2016). Risk can seriously disrupt or delay the flow of material, information and cash
through an organization’s SCs (Craig, 2007; Lavastre et al., 2012; Ouabouch and Pach�e, 2014;
Tummala and Schoenherr, 2011). Risk and uncertainty are evidence that the field is

Six Sigma
management of



The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

Received 30 April 2019
Revised 6 September 2019

Accepted 13 September 2019

The TQM Journal
Vol. 32 No. 5, 2020

pp. 1021-1037
© Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI 10.1108/TQM-04-2019-0120

ever-broadening, and the practices, processes, concepts and theories must expand with it
(Manuj and Mentzer, 2008; Ouabouch and Pach�e, 2014; Wagner and Bode, 2008).

Trends, such as globalization of supply chains, outsourcing, transitioning to Lean and
Agile operations and increased terrorist threats, have contributed to the importance of
supply-chain risk management (SCRM) (Colicchia and Strozzi, 2012; Chung et al., 2015;
Lavastre et al., 2014; Lockamy, 2014; Trkman et al., 2016). SCRM has attracted the attention of
both academics and practitioners (Blackhurst and Wu, 2009; Filbeck et al., 2016), each of
which is striving to identify ways to manage the disruption risk and minimize the negative
impact of supply-chain interruptions (Kei Tse et al., 2016), at the same time as developing
supply-chain risk-mitigation strategies (Filbeck et al., 2016; Tang, 2006). Supply-chain leaders
believe that SCRM is very important and many have experienced significant disruption
during the last year (Trkman et al., 2016). However, while both researchers and practitioners
fully agree on the importance of SCRM, most companies pay very little attention to it (Trkman
et al., 2016).

More research is needed on SCRM (Khan and Burnes, 2007). If everything in business were
constant, or even predictable, there would be few problems – challenges arise because of
variations. Hence, if variation can be reduced, the consistency of the output can almost be
guaranteed, thus creating a reliable and robust process (Andersson et al., 2014).

Supply chains with high-risk exposure cannot be efficient (Christopher and Lee, 2004), and
managers at the SC level are facing the challenge of reducing risk (Karimah et al., 2016). Both
quality management (QM) and supply chain management (SCM) can be viewed as management
philosophies with different goals. QM emphasizes internal focus and SCM focuses on external
partners. But there is a need to include both internal and external focuses, and for that purpose,
an integrated framework should be developed. In practical terms, the implementation of such a
framework is often made difficult because of unclear definitions, different starting points and
diverseprimarygoals. On theotherhand, itcan beargued thatQMandSCMhavethesamemain
goal, namely customer satisfaction. Therefore, SCM and QM aim to improve not only the
performance of the individual organization but also the performance of the whole supply chain.
According to Kaynak and Hartley (2008), integrating QM and SCM will be important for future
competitiveness. In order to align the two management directions, a new and integrated
framework with both internal and external focus should need to be developed (Vanichchinchai
and Igel, 2009; Lilja and Wiklund, 2006) . Many companies have experienced a change in their
supply-chain risk profile as a result of changes in their business models; for example, the
adoption of “lean” practices (Christopher and Lee, 2004).

Lean Six Sigma (L6S) is a management methodology that firms can employ to achieve
substantial improvement in supply-chain performance. It is an approach to development
because it offers solutions to many problems faced by companies today (Snee, 2010), and it
adds value to organizations (Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016). Both Lean and Six Sigma can be
included in the QM domain (Andersson, 2007) and supplier quality management and
customer focus are two QM practices that are clearly in the domain of SCM. Managers must
look beyond their own internal processes and organization and also consider the supply chain
to fully manage quality (Kaynak and Hartley, 2008).

Existing research shows that L6S can generate profits for businesses and improve
customer relationships (Felizzola Jim�enez and Luna Amaya, 2014; Tlapa et al., 2016); also that
it is very effective in making the supply-chain processes robust, flexible, agile and less risky.
Today, many large Swedish international companies, including SKF, Volvo, Electrolux,
Kinnarps, Alfa Laval and the Ericsson group, use a combination of quality management
philosophy and call it Lean Six Sigma. Some of these companies have experienced notable
success stories regarding the joint use of L6S (Andersson et al., 2014).

Building on previous literature and case studies of the current problems in SCs, this paper
proposes the application of a combined L6S philosophy to support the awareness and



management of supply-chain risk. For addressing the need for reducing risk in the supply
chain, the following research question (RQ1) is proposed:

RQ1. “Can the Lean Six Sigma help companies to manage risks in their supply chains?”

Face-to-face interviews and observations on-site in seven large companies, which all have
a combined L6S philosophy, were carried out with the aim of answering the research

The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a theoretical framework for the
conceptual development of the supply-chain risk-management culture, quality
management philosophies in risk management, and the L6S philosophy. Section 3
explains the case selection, unit of analysis, data-collection method, method of analysis,
and validity and reliability. Section 4 presents the results and discussion based on the
interviews and observations in the companies. The paper closes with Section 5, which
summarizes the conclusions and discussions of the research and suggests possibilities for
future research.

2. Literature review
2.1 Supply-chain risk management
QM that focuses on internal flexibility, improvements and capabilities may not be sufficient
in reducing supply-chain risks. In uncertain environments, the companies must focus
externally and on supply-chain flexibility in order to reduce supply-chain risk (Sreedevi and
Saranga, 2017). The challenge of being successful in business today lies in managing,
controlling and mitigating internal and external risks by creating a more resilient supply
chain. Modern supply chains are at greater risk than recognized by many of those who
manage them (Christopher and Peck, 2004). Organizations are fairly effective at managing
risks that they know they are taking. Organizations do not know the risks they are taking
arise because of change, and these risks are rapidly increasing in number and magnitude
(Williams et al., 2006).

ISO 31000 has defined risk as the effect of uncertainty on objectives, whether positive or
negative (ISO-31000, 2009). Risk is generally described as a situation that can lead to negative
consequences, and there is a certain level of probability that it will occur. It has two major
dimensions: (1) the magnitude of the negative effect; and (2) the respective probability of
occurrence (Kei Tse et al., 2016).

Risk management is the identification, assessment and prioritization of risks, followed by
the coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor and control the
probability and/or impact of the events (Hubbard, 2009; Trkman et al., 2016).

Risks often originate at the interface between the supply-chain partners and the
respondent firm in areas, such as interorganizational trust, alignment of organizational
cultures and ineffective communication of potential benefits (Kwon and Suh, 2005). In supply
management, risk can occur in every tier and is inherent as a result of information
asymmetries that are present when operating across business units and firm boundaries (Kei
Tse et al., 2016).

Sources of supply-chain risk are any variables that cannot be predicted with certainty,
and from which disruptions can emerge (J€uttner, 2005). According to a frequently used
model (Mason-Jones and Towill, 1998), there are three types of risk, which can be subdivided
into five categories of supply-chain risk sources (Christopher et al., 2003; J€uttner, 2005). Two
of these are internal to the firm, namely, process risks and control risks, while two are
external to the firm but internal to the supply-chain network, namely demand and supply
risks. The final risk source is external to the network, environmental risks, as shown in
Figure 1.

Six Sigma
management of



In general, a risk-management process has four components: (1) risk identification, (2) risk
assessment, (3) risk-management decisions and implementation, and (4) risk monitoring
(Blackhurst and Wu, 2009; Fan and Stevenson, 2018). Companies should always adopt a
proactive risk strategy. It is better to plan for possible risks than to have to react to it in a
crisis. Risk-management practices should include both preventive and reactive approaches
(Kei Tse et al., 2016; Thun and Hoenig, 2011).

SCRM has emerged as an issue of critical importance for today’s globalized supply
chains, and various supply-chain disruptions have featured in news headlines throughout
the decade (Trkman et al., 2016; Blos et al., 2009). SCRM should be seen not just as the
mitigation of events, but also as an approach for increasing value for the company, its
customers and shareholders (Trkman et al., 2016). SCRM can be defined as the identification
and management of risks for the supply chain, through a coordinated approach among
supply-chain members, in order to reduce supply-chain vulnerability, as a whole (J€uttner,
2005). The respondents were asked questions about all the mentioned risks and even to
show evidence of their answers.

2.2 Quality management philosophies in risk management
The problems in risk management are often similar to those that are well known in QM: for
example, the concern with sources of variation rather than with accurate prediction of any
specific risk factor – in all forms of prediction there is an element of chance. Experience
indicates that special and common causes of variation can usually be found using statistical
tools, without undue difficulty, leading to a process with less variation and monitoring, and
consequently fewer risks. Arguments for using QM philosophies in risk management have
been discussed by different authors (Bergman and Klefsj€o, 2007; Foster, 2007; Williams et al.,
2006), who argue that:

(1) The importance of differentiating between chance and special causes is standard in
quality management and vital in risk management.

(2) Managing by processes can clarify and reduce operational risks. Operational risks
are failures related to the internal processes, people and systems, or external events.
In short, this is when the supply chain fails. This kind of risk is, for many
organizations, the most common form, and it is often regarded as the most dangerous;
still, this is also the kind of risk that quality-management experience and expertise are
best equipped to handle. QMs have spent many years developing tools and
techniques for this purpose.

Supply Demand Process



Supplier Customer

Figure 1.
Sources of supply-
chain risks
et al., 2003)



(3) Effective risk management may also require substantial organizational and
cultural change. This is also an area in which quality management has developed
tools that emphasize better communication and better understanding of complex
issues. The causes of variation in new circumstances lie more with people than
with processes, or at least as much. Therefore, different kinds of tools and methods
are needed, and quality management provides these. Many values, methods and
tools provided by QM can impact risk management, for example, in TQM, Lean
and Six Sigma.

2.3 Lean Six Sigma values, methods and tools
Lean and Six Sigma (6S) have a strong focus on processes, project work and improvement
work, and they can be applied in manufacturing and service sectors (Klefsj€o et al., 2001;
Magnusson et al., 2003). There is no contradiction between the objectives of Lean and Six
Sigma (Dahlgaard and Dahlgaard-Park, 2006). Lean addresses process flow and waste,
whereas 6S addresses variation and design. Lean is a well-known development practice for
organizations (M�artensson et al., 2019) and is fundamentally customer value driven
(Andersson et al., 2014). It includes ideas of continuous improvement, flattened organizational
structures, teamwork, elimination of waste, efficient use of resources and cooperative supply-
chain management (Raghu Kumar et al., 2016). The lean methodology provides a set of
standard solutions to common problems and optimizes processes across the entire value
chain (De Koning et al., 2008; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016). It is based on a platform of
values and principles that are actualized by methods and tools (M�artensson et al., 2019).
Evidence suggests that Lean methods and tools have helped organizations from various
sectors to improve their operations and processes (Belekoukias et al., 2014; Chan et al., 2009;
Forrester et al., 2010; Villarreal et al., 2016).

6S is recognized as one of the most powerful business process improvement strategies,
used by numerous world-class corporations for over three decades, in spite of some
limitations (Antony et al., 2019). It is a methodology that improves business processes based
on understanding, controlling variation and reducing the cost of poor quality (Bendell, 2006;
Chang-Tseh, 2007; De Mast, 2006; Harry, 1998; Kanji, 2008; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016).
The 6S methodology has become one of the most significant strategies for improving
processes and products (Tlapa et al., 2016), and it suggests that there is a direct correlation
between product defects and customer satisfaction (Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016). The
success of 6S is based on the use of statistical methods for identifying defects and improving
processes, and at the same time, responding to the voices of customers (Fazzari and Levitt,
2008; Sharma and Chetiya, 2009; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016). Moreover, 6S has
standardized training courses, ranging from comprehensive to basic courses, as well as
management courses and courses for design. Today, many large organizations, as well as
some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are using the 6S strategy (Kumar and
Antony, 2008; Tlapa et al., 2016).

The aim of Lean is to reduce cycle time and waste elimination, whereas 6S seeks to eliminate
defects and reduce variation (Lubowe and Blitz, 2008). Lean cannot bring a process under
statistical control, and 6S alone cannot dramatically improve the speed of the production
process or reduce invested capital. Therefore, a combination of the two methods is required,
which may result in the reduction of process variation and elimination of waste (Antony et al.,
2003; Furterer and Elshennawy, 2005; Jing, 2009; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016).

The joint use of Lean and 6S has appeared in the academic literature (George and Wilson,
2004; Martichenko, 2004); L6S has emerged as a balanced approach that incorporates
principles from both concepts and attempts to create a synergy between their functionalities
(Arnheiter and Maleyeff, 2005; Ferguson, 2007; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016). Its aim is to

Six Sigma
management of



maximize shareholder value by achieving fast improvements in quality, cost and speed of the
process (Hill et al., 2011; Sunhilde and Simona, 2007; Tsironis and Psychogios, 2016).

These two strategies have been effectively integrated, enabling companies to meet and
exceed customer expectations in a changing and competitive global environment, which is
also vital to managing risks today (Byrne et al., 2007; George, 2002; George et al., 2004).

2.4 Collaboration on supply-chain management
The goal is to integrate and coordinate all activities and processes across the supply chain
through enhanced collaboration and information exchange (Lummus and Vokurka, 1999).
Developing the performance of a supply chain requires focusing on the interaction between
processes instead of the optimization of isolated processes (Stevens and Johnson, 2016). To
the overall performance of the chain, collaboration among supply-chain partners is crucial
(Nurul Karimah et al., 2016), having the potential to help companies find supply-chain
solutions that can improve their capabilities and competitiveness (Gold et al., 2010; Nurul
Karimah et al., 2016). Collaboration is the confluence of all parties in the supply chain, acting
in unison toward common objectives (Baker et al., 2007).

Andersson and Hammersberg (2007) consider that the best solution for the performance of
the supply chain is to collaborate with all companies and explore how to use the 6S training
structure for that purpose, but this is not straightforward. For this reason, the starting point is
to look at the decisions of key suppliers or customers to collaborate. Once collaboration
begins with key supply-chain members, it eventually becomes routine, and the focus can turn
to new relationships (Mentzer, 2001).

The new forms of collaboration are a response to global competition and the strategic need
for supply chains to combine resources in order to be competitive (Bak, 2007). Collaboration is
included in many definitions of the supply chain (Andersson and Hammersberg, 2014) and
appears as one of the principles that characterize supply-chain resilience (Christopher and
Peck, 2004). The practice of collaboration is also the core tenet in developing flexible supply
chains (Baker et al., 2007). It is often not possible to collaborate with every company in the
supply chain, even if all the companies are important. Collaboration offers many value-added
capabilities to the supply chain (Bak, 2007); but developing and maintaining collaboration
requires considerable time and effort (Andersson and Hammersberg, 2007). Supply-chain
collaboration is effective only if the collaboration tools and methods are integrated and used
jointly by supply-chain partners (Bak, 2007).

The focus of SCM practices must shift from functional and independent to general and
integrative initiatives (Theagarajan and Manohar, 2015), which favors the integration of Lean
principles and practices into the SCM (Cudney and Elrod, 2010). Knowledge about the
integration of Lean with external customers and suppliers is considered to be one of the new
frontiers of research in this area. Hines et al. (2004) affirm that understanding of Lean has
evolved from the application of simple practices at workstation level to value systems across
multiple organizations, as a natural organizational learning process expanding the
knowledge boundaries.

3. Research method
Using case studies is a valid research method for risk and management research, which deals
with practice-oriented problems (Jafari et al., 2016); therefore, this method was used in this
research to answer the research question.

3.1 Case selection
The research follows the case-study methodology, which is increasingly accepted in
exploratory studies (Eisenhardt, 1989; Jafari et al., 2016; Yin, 2014). The multiple case study



was done using qualitative methods of data collection, namely observations, face-to-face
interviews and document analysis. Multiple case selection was employed because seven large
companies (each consisting of more than five hundred employees) were investigated.

For selecting the companies, purposeful sampling and convenience sampling were used.
All the companies were chosen from a 6S association; this networking association meets three
to four times a year to discuss different Lean and 6S strategies. They were selected based on
their participation in the networking association, and it was then assumed that they
understood and applied Lean and 6S. The selection of companies was also made in line with
the following criteria: the companies must have used the principles of Lean and 6S for at least
two years and run more than ten 6S projects. Hence, all companies had been using a combined
L6S approach. Six of them had used a typical Lean approach before, and all of them had used
only total quality management (TQM) philosophies some years ago. Covering different
sectors was also a key consideration.

3.2 Unit of analysis
Interviews were performed with industrial engineers, middle managers, operators, Six Sigma
Champions, Black Belts and Lean Coordinators. The intention was to cover different
professions with different perspectives, but because of the credibility of company number 3
(see Table 1, below), and the accessibility of company 5, only one person from each of these
companies was interviewed. Face-to-face interviews were performed.

3.3 Data-collection method
The findings were supported empirically with data from on-site interviews and observations
in five of the companies. Observation is used as a tool for collecting data and enables the
researcher to describe existing situations and to gain a better understanding. On-site
interviews and observations were also chosen to identify whether the companies had the
same definition of a combined management philosophy as the academy. Different
respondents were asked the same questions, written notes were taken and the interviews
were tape-recorded. In four of the companies, the interviews started with a group session, to
create a relaxing atmosphere and the opportunity for authors to explain their viewpoint. Each
company agreed to participate in the study, so the interview response rate was 100 percent.

Company Interviewee position

Company 1 (C1) Lean coordinator
Six sigma master black belt
Six sigma black belt

Company 2 (C2) Lean coordinator
Six sigma master black belt
Middle manager

Company 3 (C3) Six sigma black belt
Company 4 (C4) Six sigma master black belt

Middle manager
Company 5 (C5) Procurement manager
Company 6 (C6) Lean coordinator

Six sigma black belt
Middle manager

Company 7 (C7) Lean coordinator
Six sigma master black belt
Middle manager

Table 1.
The selected

companies and

Six Sigma
management of



The key interview questions were formulated and adjusted during the research period. The
questions had been discussed with colleagues and representatives from the companies before
testing. The questions were first tested on one respondent and then adjusted. A pre-interview
was carried out at one company that only uses Lean and TQM. After some adjustments, the
real interviews were conducted. All interviews were recorded and written down. The
respondents were contacted by phone, where they agreed to interviews and on-site
observations. In five of the companies, more than three people were interviewed. Written
interviews were sent to the respondents, and afterward, the companies had the opportunity to
confirm or adjust the answers. The authors also attempted to select different respondents
who supported Lean and 6S in the same company.

Figure 1 (above) was discussed with all the respondents, in addition to the impact of Lean
and 6S on risk mitigation, monitoring and risk-prevention solutions. Furthermore, the
questions that were asked were also about strategies and the relationship between logistics
processes and quality philosophies tools and methods, and the resulting influence on risk
management (Figure 1 was used as a model). In addition, detailed questions were discussed
and asked. The respondents were also shown some statistical results that confirmed their

4. Results and discussions
This section contains the results and a discussion of the interviews and observations carried
out in the companies. It addresses the complementary approach of L6S in supporting SCRM.

4.1 Results
Usually, the solution and prevention of problems or risks can be divided into three areas:
quantitative, qualitative and innovation problem solution. For quantitative problems, the 6S
philosophy is often most suitable. The Lean philosophy is recommended when the solution is
of a qualitative nature; all the companies agreed on this point. However, they have integrated
some values, methods and tools from both Lean and Six Sigma. In the 6S improvement cycle,
DMAIC, there are many tools that handle risk, and this improvement cycle also deals with
innovation when required. For innovation of new products or services, Design for Six Sigma
(DFSS) is appropriate, but not all of the companies have begun using DFSS. When the process
has controlled variation, continuous work is required to monitor and complete step-by-step
improvements. The last stage in the Lean improvement cycle (“perfection”) is appropriate for
this purpose. This step pertains to the elimination of non-value-adding elements (waste) and
is a process of continuous improvement. There is no end to reducing time, cost, space,
mistakes and effort. According to all the companies, after closing a 6S project, it is appropriate
to continue working on this phase – an idea that has also been promoted in TQM for some
time. Five of the companies have even taken a step further and introduced a lighter 6S
improvement cycle, in which daily improvements are included; one company calls it “the
light DMAIC.”

In summary, the following conclusions can be drawn from the seven company interviews.
Importantly, 6S is the problem-solving method, whereas Lean assists in governing the
everyday work that involves all employees and creates a standard platform for processes,
workstations and product assortment. Furthermore, 6S and its tools help to solve the
problems that are too advanced for the Lean approach. Even if they have Lean, Kaizen and 6S
projects, all the companies have aligned Lean and 6S by using the 6S and DMAIC
methodology as a common platform in all projects. Indeed, 6S has provided them with a
common language.

The companies were asked questions about how they dealt with risks. In all the
companies, risk awareness has increased and risk management has improved. The



improvement of risk awareness depends on 6S training programs and philosophy, where the
focus is on sources of variation. In the training program, several risk tools and their
practicality are demonstrated for use in different phases of the improvement cycles. After
these factors are improved, the process will be robust and monitored, and the risks will be

As a result of one 6S project, C6 decided to choose a local supplier after looking all over the
world for one. The decisive factor was the consideration and assessment of the risks involved,
something that is addressed in the define, improve and control phases of the DMAIC
improvement cycle. Nowadays, it has become a habit to complete risk assessment in all
workplaces. For example, C2 set up a Black Belt project whenever a problem or risk occurred
outside the focal company, or if the risk extended to other departments, as a result of the
project often becoming more complex.

According to C6, Lean leaves no room for risk prevention or mitigation; it is necessary to
use 6S to know how Lean a company’s processes can be. Lean projects do not usually identify
the root cause, which means that risks may occur after a while. When working with Lean, the
solution appears immediately, but a similar or different problem may arise. For example, one
Lean improvement project started five times without success, yet made improvements in the
long run. For a 6S project, the time taken to solve the problem would have been longer, but the
problem would have been controlled and no risks would have occurred. According to C6, 6S
takes a broader and deeper view of a problem. Risks in C6’s products are often related to
suppliers and may include unsatisfactory delivery or defective components, among other

One 6S project at C1 is related to the risks connected with the size of its inventory and the
risks of not delivering products to customers at the correct time. The sales department
wanted a large inventory, while the production department wanted to eliminate it. One
department was established just to calculate how much should be kept in storage. The 6S
project resulted in the planning being replaced by a statistical process control diagram.
Precision improved fourfold, and variation was cut in half. The savings amounted to several
million euros. As demonstrated, 6S may be used to learn how Agile or Lean a company should
be with regard to stock levels. Being Lean, the production department does not want to have
many stored products, while, being Agile, the sales department wants to have an endless
supply of stored products. Consequently, 6S projects can be used to control potential risks.

C5 has at least two suppliers, one within and one outside Europe. Having alternative
suppliers in different locations is not Lean thinking, but it is a viable approach to risk
readiness. Another risk-control option that has proven effective is to develop alternative
transportation scenarios. C5 has implemented this measure as well, which includes traveling
in convoys, choosing randomly generated routes and stopping at designated places. 6S
projects have supported these steps toward risk mitigation and greater resilience in C5’s
supply chain. According to all of the companies, 6S creates risk awareness and risk culture for
the staff, but for controlling the environments and risks outside the company or supply chain,
more actions may be needed, such as possibly creating a risk-assessment team within the

All of the companies agreed that, in a 6S project, one outcome was often that the variation
was decreased and controlled; consequently, the risk had been decreased and controlled.
Figure 2 shows a contextual view of the relationship between logistics processes and quality
strategies, and the resulting influence on variation. Some companies’ strategy is to have a
Lean strategy, which is often vulnerable, or to have an agile strategy that often increases
variation and some risks. After realizing that companies are trying to decrease risk by
creating more flexible or agile processes, some risk will be increased, but variation may
increase in some cases following risks. If 6S is used, the variation may be decreased and
controlled, and consequently, the risk will also be decreased and controlled.

Six Sigma
management of



6S tools are crucial in controlling for and minimizing associated uncertainties. These tools
and methods are thus essential in developing supply-chain risk-management strategies, as
well as in daily risk control.

If companies have control over their processes and are using statistical process control for
monitoring, they are capable of reacting to unpredictable events. It may be necessary,
however, to have a risk-management strategy for the whole supply chain.

The above results are summarized in Table 2 (below), which demonstrates that the most
important results are 1, 2, 7 and 8, which show that there is a tendency to improve risk
management. Furthermore, 6S led to increased risk awareness while simultaneously
decreasing and controlling variation and, consequently, risk. Result 4 also has some
significance in demonstrating how L6S philosophy can generate a supply-chain risk-
management culture.

It has been indicated that the best way is to use the 6S training, values and roadmap as a
foundation for better collaboration.

In order to do that, first of all, staff, managers and project members should be informed
about the 6S framework so that they can understand why project members need to intervene
in the production process. This could mean having a day of introduction for project members,
staff on the shop floor and managers so they can understand one another. The technical
project and the ordinary business relationships should be kept apart.

Case companies

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1 Risk awareness has increased X X X X X X X
2 Risk management has improved X X X X X X X
3 The joint use of L6S tools supports risk analysis in the supply chain X X
4 The joint use of L6S tools supports risk prevention and mitigation in the

supply chain

5 6S project implemented to deal with risk in the supply chain X
6 Lean thinking is a viable approach to risk readiness X
7 6S creates risk awareness and risk culture for staff X X X X X X X
8 With a 6S project, the variation is decreased and controlled, and the risk

is also decreased and controlled

Figure 2.
Relationship between
logistics processes and
quality methods, and
the resulting influence
on variation

Table 2.
Main results by case



Second, 6S provides standardized training courses, ranging from comprehensive courses for
Master black-belts to basic courses for White-belts, as well as management courses and
individual courses for the design for Six Sigma. A Green–belt course lasts a few months, and
training takes place between five to ten days. It is suitable for many different professions,
such as managers, engineers, supervisors, operators and front-line staff, as well as for staff
with a special interest in improvement work. The White–belt course provides a basic
introduction to 6S for operators and front-line staff; the normal training time is one or two
days. A project team could be formed, consisting of quality and process development
personnel from different companies. Moreover, shop-floor staff could be regularly involved in
the project. The project leader might be from the company that has an L6S philosophy

Third, ordinary business relationships should be kept apart, and a session of honest and
animated discussion between companies on how to share costs and savings should be
organized (Figure 3).

4.2 Discussions
According to Gaudenzi and Christopher (2016), many companies today need to develop
hybrid supply chains that are both “lean” and “agile,” or a supply chain that is “leagile.”
Furthermore, in this case, it is beneficial to use a project management-oriented approach, for
which, the authors suggest the use of the L6S approach. In 6S and Lean it is fundamental to do
improvements or develop processes thought project management. In order to balance the
different needs for both “lean” and “agile” in different functions and supply chain, the use of a
combined L6S philosophy might be necessary.

The next step for the companies, if they intend to become more risk-oriented, will be to
involve suppliers and customers more in their processes, and to design products and
processes together. To that end, they can use the 6S training structure and encourage
participation from different companies and customers. But first, more risk tools, methods and
strategies must be developed to analyzing, monitoring and preventing risks in the supply
chain. Qazi et al. (2018) have suggested approaches for managing supply-chain risks; they
state: “there is a limited focus on introducing holistic frameworks that not only integrate all
stages of the risk management process but also capture the cascading effects of common risk
triggers and the risk appetite of a decision maker.” To develop more tools and methods that fit
SCRM could be a future research project.

During the last decades, some 6S companies have developed a structured way of new
product and process development, to become better, faster and more flexible. Design for Six
Sigma has become rather popular among some companies (Ericsson and Andersson, 2010). It
has also been proved that 6S projects function as drivers of innovation and financial
performance at organizational and operational levels. There is also an indication that longer
6S projects that involve more people are those that produce the best financial results (Oprime,
2019). Including more people from supply-chain partners in 6S projects should not be viewed

Figure 3.
How 6S can be

transferred to other
companies in the

supply chain so that
risk awareness is

improved and there
will be a less risky

supply chain

Six Sigma
management of



as a financial hinder; it should be seen as a tool for increased competitiveness in a turbulent

In order to manage risks and reduce supply-chain risks, QM advocates that first the order
of business should internally be to the own company, and second, within the supply chain
(Andersson, 2009). Important areas are communication, collaboration, and integration among
the members of the supply chain. This is in line with the findings of this paper. This study
also finds that, in accordance with previous literature, integration of processes, both
downstream and upstream, appears to impact quality performance and reduce risk in the
supply chain. Both QM and SCM offer unique frameworks to integrate and create
partnerships, including participation from all internal functions in collaboration with
external partners (Vanichchincha and Igel, 2009).

5. Conclusions
The case study indicates that a combined L6S philosophy improves companies’ ability to
handle variability and risk management, but they must involve and collaborate with
companies in the entire supply chain.

The study has also indicated that L6S values, methods and tools can be quite effective in
companies’ efforts to control and manage risks, in some cases resulting in documented,
substantial savings. However, in order to manage risks and being more innovative in the
entire supply chain, the focal companies must involve suppliers and other stakeholders more
in the logistics and supply-chain processes and use a L6S strategy together. All the
companies agree and realize that if they extend their L6S work outside the focal company the
results to handle variability and risk management will be even better. Representatives from
different parts of the supply chain may cooperate with one another in the 6S training, thus
performing projects together and crossing boundaries. It had also been indicated in the
literature that if involve more people in 6S projects, the financial results will be better, and
innovation of processes will increase.

For several of the companies, 6S projects have been successful in identifying, controlling
and mitigating risks in their supply chain.

The next step for the companies, if they intend to become more risk-oriented, will be to
involve suppliers and customers more in their processes, and to design products and
processes together. To that end, they can use the 6S training structure and encourage
participation from different companies and customers, but they need to include more risk
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Corresponding author
Roy Andersson can be contacted at: [email protected]

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Six Sigma
management of



  • The Six Sigma framework improves the awareness and management of supply-chain risk
    • Introduction
    • Literature review
      • Supply-chain risk management
      • Quality management philosophies in risk management
      • Lean Six Sigma values, methods and tools
      • Collaboration on supply-chain management
    • Research method
      • Case selection
      • Unit of analysis
      • Data-collection method
    • Results and discussions
      • Results
      • Discussions
    • Conclusions
    • References
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