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The role of digital platforms in e-commerce food supply chain resilience under exogenous disruptions

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Suali, AS 
Srai, JS 
Tsolakis, N 


jats:sec<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title> jats:pOperational risks can cause considerable, atypical disturbances and impact food supply chain (SC) resilience. Indicatively, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruptions in the UK food services as nationwide stockouts led to unprecedented discrepancies between retail and home-delivery supply capacity and demand. To this effect, this study aims to examine the emergence of digital platforms as an innovative instrument for food SC resilience in severe market disruptions.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title> jats:pAn interpretive multiple case-study approach was used to unravel how different generations of e-commerce food service providers, i.e. established and emergent, responded to the need for more resilient operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title> jats:pSC disruption management for high-impact low-frequency events requires analysing four research elements: platformisation, structural variety, process flexibility and system resource efficiency. Established e-commerce food operators use partner onboarding and local waste valorisation to enhance resilience. Instead, emergent e-commerce food providers leverage localised rapid upscaling and product personalisation.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Practical implications</jats:title> jats:pDigital food platforms offer a highly customisable, multisided digital marketplace wherein platform members may aggregate product offerings and customers, thus sharing value throughout the network. Platform-induced disintermediation allows bidirectional flows of data and information among SC partners, ensuring compliance and safety in the food retail sector.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title> jats:pThe study contributes to the SC configuration and resilience literature by investigating the interrelationship among platformisation, structural variety, process flexibility and system resource efficiency for safe and resilient food provision within exogenously disrupted environments.</jats:p> </jats:sec>



3509 Transportation, Logistics and Supply Chains, 35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, Coronaviruses, Generic health relevance, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 2 Zero Hunger

Journal Title

Supply Chain Management

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Economic and Social Research Council (2279270)
BBSRC (BB/V004832/1)
ESRC (ES/P000738/1)