This paper asks whether technology supported business processes currently used in supply chain management systems (SCMS) are equipped for maintaining business activity in times of crisis. It considers how SCMS accommodate the attempts of Western governments to introduce initiatives for preserving the food supply during pandemics or any other catastrophic event when there is an actual or potential impact on supply or demand. When such events occur, food manufacture and distribution is interrupted, and demand patterns are suddenly altered to become less stable and less predictable. It finds that SCMS which emphasise low buffer stock, enabled by better information sharing among parties in the supply chain through the use of IT, pose serious problems for the maintenance of the food supply at critical times. This raises the question of how supply chain processes and technologies currently employed by the food and grocery industry accommodate the supply of essential goods at times of crisis. To address this question, this research in-progress intends to model the current systems to find out what processes and technologies are most appropriate for finding an equilibrium point between the commercial interests of industry in managing inventory efficiently and government objectives in maintaining the food supply.
Lederman, Reeva; Kurnia, Shera; and Lederman, Joseph, "Designing Supply Chain Systems to Cope with Catastrophes" (2009). PACIS 2009 Proceedings. 92.