Resilience in agri-food supply chains: a critical analysis of the literature and synthesis of a novel framework

Research Area:
Sustainable Food Manufacturing


Supply Chain Management: An International Journal

SMART Authors:
Shahin Rahimifard , Jamie Stone

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Resilience in agri-food supply chains (AFSCs) is an area of significant importance due to growing supply chain volatility. While the majority of research exploring supply chain resilience has originated from a supply chain management perspective, many other disciplines (such as environmental systems science and the social sciences) have also explored the topic. As complex social, economic and environmental constructs, the priority of resilience in AFSCs goes far beyond the company specific focus of supply chain management works and would conceivably benefit from including more diverse academic disciplines. However, this is hindered by inconsistencies in terminology and the conceptual components of resilience across different disciplines. The purpose of this study is to use a systematic literature review to identify which multidisciplinary aspects of resilience are applicable to AFSCs and to generate a novel AFSC resilience framework.
This paper uses a structured and multidisciplinary review of 137 articles in the resilience literature followed by critical analysis and synthesis of findings to generate new knowledge in the form of a novel AFSC resilience framework.
Findings indicate that the complexity of AFSCs and subsequent exposure to almost constant external interference means that disruptions cannot be seen as a one-off event; thus, resilience must concern the ability to not only maintain core function but also adapt to changing conditions.
Practical implications
A number of resilience elements can be used to enhance resilience, but their selection and implementation must be carefully matched to relevant phases of disruption and assessed on their broader supply chain impacts. In particular, the focus must be on overall impact on the ability of the supply chain as a whole to provide food security rather than to boost individual company performance.
The research novelty lies in the utilisation of wider understandings of resilience from various research fields to propose a rigorous and food-specific resilience framework with end consumer food security as its main focus.

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