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Research project identifies supply chain risks

Staff Reporter

Muscat, May 23

A research project funded by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) as part of the Covid-19 research program, investigated the impact of the pandemic on supply chains in Oman.

The project conducted by Dr Ahmed Maher, associate professor, logistics & supply chain management at Muscat University, mainly aimed to conduct a thorough state-of-the-art analysis to define supply chain risk management and supply chain resilience, identify, define and discuss the role of Internal Resilience Capabilities (IRCs) and discuss the role of External Sourcing Resiliency Enablers (ESREs) towards resilient business to build a supply chain network resilient to both supply and demand, and discuss Industry 4.0 applications.

The project recommended a number of actions to be taken to boost supply chain resilience in Oman. These actions include having more response suppliers (ie, local) compared to distant ones, building further collaboration and joint growth via frequent “supplier visits” by the purchasing team that would not be easy for distant ones, enhancing the visibility aspect of supply chain resilience as face-to-face discussion that would improve information sharing, and conducting more frequent supplier audits and checks. Suggested actions include the gradual embedding of Industry 4.0 applications such as sensors and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies throughout the supply chain, giving more interest in supply chain risk management and resilience, which could be via further collaborations between industry and academia. This project also suggested that related governmental bodies should explore possible regulations to enforce resilient supply of critical raw materials, parts and products. “This could be arranged via a series of workshops with the industry to identify those critical items and put regulations (eg, six-month inventory of a particular medical supply), accordingly,” said Dr Maher.

This research project is important because it presents further insights on supply chain risk management, supply chain resilience and the crucial roles of internal dynamism towards resilient business. It also lightens new insights on the impacts of Industry 4.0 application on supply chain risks control.

“Our research project presents the simultaneous integration of internal dynamism (IRCs) and external resiliency (sourcing disruptions and demand collapsing) through a new and emerging conceptualization of IRCs- ESREs in supply chain risk management context,” Dr Ahmed said.

University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), University of Kent (UK), NOVA University of Lisbon (Portugal), ESIC Business and Marketing School (Spain), and University of New York (Dubai) also took part in the project.

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