International Journal of Production Research

Reconfigurable Supply Chain Networks:

Digital Platforms, Epidemics/Pandemics,

and Climate Change

Guest editors


Key dates

Deadline for Manuscript Submission: 30 April 2022[1]
Final Decision Due: 31 August 2022
Tentative Publication Date: 30 November 2022


[1] Papers can be submitted any time prior to the deadline, and will be evaluated and published online on a rolling basis. The Special Issue in print will appear once the review process of all submissions is completed.

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About the special issue

Some shock events have shaped the past few centuries and forced our society to adapt and transform the ways of producing and distributing goods. The peculiarity of the 21st century is the well-established global supply chain and global economy, making it difficult to adapt to new challenges (e.g., pandemics and climate change).  The 21st century has already seen a technological revolution (i.e., Industry 4.0) and a global pandemic (i.e., COVID-19), as well as increasing concerns on climate changes. On the other hand, modern supply chain networks have been designed in the era of lean management and globalization, and are now challenged to adapt under these revolutionary trends. These networks are predominantly static in their structures and lack resilience and adaptability. However, the transformations begin and require a thorough research examination to help shape future supply chain networks.

This Special issue looks at re-thinking and re-inventing of supply chain design and management from the perspective of reconfigurable and viable networks in the context of three particular transformation drivers, i.e., digital platforms, epidemics/pandemics, and climate change. For the last years, supply chains have been experiencing technological transformations on the scale unlike any seen before. Industry 4.0, additive manufacturing, sensors, collaborative robots, and blockchain lead to principally new concepts (such as open manufacturing (Kusiak 2020)) and data utilization opportunities entailing highly flexible and adaptable supply networks with structural variety and multi-functional processes (Ivanov et al. 2020). As such, digital platforms play an increasingly important role in technological transformations of supply chains. Through the digital platforms, supply chains are evolving toward technology-driven networks and digital ecosystems operating with the help of procurement (e.g., SupplyOn), manufacturing (e.g., Siemens MindSphere), sales (e.g., Amazon), and finance (e.g., ChainLink) platforms. Despite an increased interest in the utilization of digital platforms, blockchain and smart contracting in supply chain and operations management (Queiroz et al. 2019, Cai et al. 2020, Lohmer et al. 2020, Roeck et al. 2020), research unlocking the value of digital platforms to manage supply chains is at its infancy. For example, digital manufacturing platforms can facilitate cloud manufacturing (Sokolov et al. 2020). Digital supply chain financing with the use of blockchain-driven platforms such as deep tier financing (DTF) creates an end-to-end supply chain visibility and so offers novel research context for supply chain engineering and management.

While the digital transformation can be considered a controlled process, external threats like epidemics/pandemics and climate change represent a fundamental environmental challenge which may cause severe disruptions and crises in supply chain networks if not coping timely and efficiently. Supply chain disruptions and crises can be divided into micro, meso, and macro perspectives. For example, a fire at an assembly plant represents an instantaneous disruption (i.e., the micro perspective), and can be coped by recovery strategies and firm’s resilience (Hosseini et al. 2019). A pandemic is an example for a long-lasting, super disruption or supply chain crisis (i.e., the meso perspective). The meso disruptions are coped by adaptation and supply chain survivability (Queiroz et al. 2020). A pandemic does not always allows us to bounce back; frequently, the only way to survive is adaptation (Ruel et al. 2021). Literature has proposed viability and viable supply chain model to examine pandemic impacts on supply chains (Ivanov and Dolgui 2020a,b; Ivanov 2020b). The design and management of not only an efficient and resilient but also a viable intertwined supply networks (Ivanov and Dolgui 2020b) capable of operations and demand fulfilment continuity despite severe super disruptions is imperative for firms’ survivability and providing society with essential goods and services during long-term crises.

Climate change represents one of the major challenges for the humanity in the 21st century, and so the supply chain viability is tightly related to the climatic changes on the earth. Numerous studies forecast radical changes in climate by 2050 and 2100 which will directly and explicitly influence the supply chains (Ghadge et al. 2020).  Because of the climate change, many supply chain activities in manufacturing and logistics could be restricted or even impossible for long periods of time at many locations worldwide due to increase in severity and duration of extremal weather conditions. In this settings, global supply chain management would not be focused on efficient production only, but rather need to ensure the existence of production and logistics as such providing society with goods and services through dynamic reconfigurable supply chain networks (Dolgui et al. 2020). Besides, climate change is distinctively different from other types of supply chain risks since it is probably the most long-term disruption the supply chains will confront with. Climate change takes the macro perspective of supply chain viability that is coped by adaptation and multi-structural network transformations, e.g., using reconfigurable supplier, manufacturing, and logistics bases and so forming a structurally reconfigurable supply chain (Dolgui et al. 2020).

While each of the three challenges to supply chains of future (i.e., digital platforms, epidemics/pandemics, and climate change) are distinct in their nature, supply chain transformations to cope with these challenges have a set of common elements. Most centrally, coping strategies for all three challenges imply understanding of SCs as dynamic and reconfigurable supply networks with a situational reallocation of manufacturing and logistics resources and associated multi-structural dynamics (Ivanov 2018). Moreover, supply chain transformations in each of the three areas can have synergetic effects. For example, supply chains can mediate the severe impacts of the climate change by developing sustainable practices and so contributing to reducing emissions and waste of natural resources. Energy-efficient manufacturing, sustainable logistics, and flexible, dynamically reconfigurable supply chain designs with situational networking of distributed supplier, manufacturing and logistics bases can be seen as directions to match resilience, viability, and sustainability across micro, meso and macro perspectives. Supply chain visibility can help improving resilience and mediating the ripple effect (Ivanov et al. 2019, Dubey et al. 2021). In case of climate change, if some regions are affected by severe weather disruptions, it is likely that all suppliers in this region will be disrupted. As such, to maintain supply chain continuity, a backup supplier base (i.e., a set of suppliers) somewhere else in the world will be needed in order to situationally reconfigure the supply chain flows to this backup supplier base. Smooth and efficient adaptations will be possible using both preparedness plans and digital technology.

One interesting lens to improve supply chain viability and resilience in an efficient manner without building excessive and expensive redundancies is blockchain DTF technology. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many suppliers were missing liquidity increasing the risk of bankruptcies and the ripple effects in supply chains. Participation in a DTF ecosystem would offer them ways to fast credits at low interest rates by proving their credibility through establishing records of supplying to large buying companies. Besides, with the help of DTF, one can identify "hidden" suppliers with a high-risk exposure or increase the credit status of financially weak suppliers to avoid their bankruptcy and associated ripple effect (Dolgui and Ivanov 2021, Li et al. 2020). To this end, blockchain and deep tier financing can help in the ripple effect traceability and building realistic scenario for analysis of future ripple effects and design of proactive mitigation strategies and recovery plans. The value of blockchain and DTF for SC viability and resilience is worth of further investigation.


Topics of interest

​The special issue aims to address the following, but not limited to, potential topics: 

  • SC network design modeling from perspectives of reconfigurability, viability, adaptability, and intertwined networks with novel multi-objective settings which explicitly account for one of three major topics of this Special Issue (i.e., digital platforms, epidemics/pandemics, and climate change);

  • Manufacturing, inventory and logistics modelling and optimization from perspectives of reconfigurability, viability, adaptation, and intertwined supply networks

  • Supply chain finance and blockchain-driven contractual mechanisms in supply networks to utilize digital platforms and cope with epidemics/pandemics and climate change

  • Viability, resilience and Ripple effect management by using digital platforms

  • Policy-level innovations that encourage the paradigm switch of supply chain designs to adapt to epidemics/pandemics and climate change

This Special Issue aims to collate the recent and original research dealing with designing and managing the reconfigurable supply chain networks in the context of digital technology and platforms, or epidemics/pandemics, or climate change, or their synergetic effects (e.g., digital platforms to manage supply chains under pandemic conditions). We stress that submissions purely looking at digital technologies, risks and resilience without consideration of reconfigurable or viable supply chain networks are out of scope of this Special Issue. The submissions should clearly show an evidence to progress state-of-the-art leading to innovative and practical results and articulating associated theoretical and managerial implications on production and supply chain research. We especially welcome papers induced by industrial context and practical applications highlighting industrial response to the adoption of digital platforms, COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change in different manufacturing and service sectors. We welcome submissions dealing with an exploration of several crucial research domains using different operations research and industrial engineering methodologies.


Cai, Y., T.M. Choi, J. Zhang (2020) Platform supported supply chain operations in the blockchain era: Supply contracting and moral hazards. Decision Sciences,

Dolgui, A., Ivanov, D., Sokolov, B. (2020) Reconfigurable supply chain: The X-Network. International Journal of Production Research, 58(13), 4138-4163.

Dolgui, A., Ivanov D. (2021). Ripple Effect and Supply Chain Disruption Management: New Trends and Research Directions. International Journal of Production Research, 59(1).

Dubey R., Gunasekaran A., Childe, S. J. Wamba S.F., Roubaud D., Foropon C. (2021). Empirical Investigation of Data Analytics Capability and Organizational Flexibility as Complements to Supply Chain Resilience. International Journal of Production Research, 59(1),

Ghadge, A., Wurtmann, H. and Seuring, S. (2020). Managing climate change risks in global supply chains: A review and research agenda. International Journal of Production Research, 58(1), 44-64.

Hosseini S., Ivanov D., Dolgui A. (2019). Review of quantitative methods for supply chain resilience analysis. Transportation Research: Part E, 125, 285-307.

Ivanov D. (2020a) Predicting the impact of epidemic outbreaks on the global supply chains:  A simulation-based analysis on the example of coronavirus (COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2) case. Transportation Research – Part E, 136, 101922.

Ivanov D. (2020b). Viable Supply Chain Model: Integrating agility, resilience and sustainability perspectives – lessons from and thinking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of Operations Research, DOI: 10.1007/s10479-020-03640-6

Ivanov D., Dolgui A. (2020a). OR-methods for coping with the ripple effect in supply chains during COVID-19 pandemic: Managerial insights and research implications. International Journal of Production Economics, 107921.

Ivanov D., Dolgui A. (2020b). Viability of Intertwined Supply Networks: Extending the Supply Chain Resilience Angles towards Survivability. A Position Paper Motivated by COVID-19 Outbreak. International Journal of Production Research, 58(10), 2904-2915.

Ivanov D., Tang C.S., Dolgui A., Battini D., Das A. (2020). Researchers’ Perspectives on Industry 4.0: Multi-Disciplinary Analysis and Opportunities for Operations Management. International Journal of Production Research,

Ivanov, D. (2018). Structural Dynamics and Resilience in Supply Chain Risk Management. Springer, New York.

Ivanov, D., Dolgui, A., Sokolov, B. (2019). The impact of digital technology and Industry 4.0 on the ripple effect and supply chain risk analytics. International Journal of Production Research, 57(3), 829-846.

Kusiak, A. (2020). Open manufacturing: a design-for-resilience approach. International Journal of Production Research, 58(15), 4647-4658.

Li, Y., Chen, K., Collignon, S., Ivanov, D. (2020). Ripple Effect in the Supply Chain Network: Forward and Backward Disruption Propagation, Network Health and Firm Vulnerability. European Journal of Operational Research,

Lohmer J., Bugert N., Lasch R. (2020). Analysis of Resilience Strategies and Ripple Effect in Blockchain-Coordinated Supply Chains: An Agent-based Simulation Study. International Journal of Production Economics, 228, 107882.

Queiroz M.M., Ivanov D., Dolgui A., Fosso Wamba S. (2020). Impacts of Epidemic Outbreaks on Supply Chains: Mapping a Research Agenda Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic through a Structured Literature Review. Annals of Operations Research, DOI: 10.1007/s10479-020-03685-7.

Queiroz, M.M., Telles, R. and Bonilla, S.H. (2019). Blockchain and supply chain management integration: a systematic review of the literature. Supply Chain Management, 25(2), pp. 241-254.

Roeck, D., H. Sternberg & E. Hofmann (2020) Distributed ledger technology in supply chains: a transaction cost perspective. International Journal of Production Research, 58:7, 2124-2141

Ruel, S., El Baz J., Ivanov, D., Das, A. (2021). Supply Chain Viability: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Nomological Validation. Annals of Operations Research, forthcoming.

Sokolov B., Ivanov, D., Dolgui A. (Eds) (2020). Scheduling in Industry 4.0 and Cloud Manufacturing. Springer, New York, ISBN 978-3-030-43176-1.