THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC DISRUPTION ON SUPPLY CHAIN PERFORMANCE IN THE ENGINEERING MANUFACTURING SECTOR
ALMAHARMEH, MARIAM YACOUB
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Supply chain disruptions are common during unexpected occurrences, such as pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic caused major supply chain disruption in the engineering manufacturing sector. Therefore, this dissertation aims to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic disruption on supply chain in the engineering manufacturing sector, and subsequent impact on effective process performance, particularly cycle times, production flexibility, and cost efficiency. Current research indicates that disruptions in the supply chain during the pandemic may include aspects such as raw material shortages, labour shortages, demand fluctuations, Communication or communication issues, among others, which in turn impact process outcomes in organizations. Additionally, literature advocates for the adoption of novel technologies, such as Industry 4.0, AI, and additive manufacturing to help ease the impact on firms. This study employed a quantitative research design, whereby a standardized questionnaire was distributed electronically to approximately 700 employees, affiliated to the firm being studied, in conformance to the current COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. 500 respondent questionnaires were selected, cleaned, entered, and analysed using IBM SPSS v.23. Pearson correlations were run between the study’s dependent variables (Cycle Times, Production Flexibility, and Cost Efficiency) and the independent variables (Raw Material Shortages and Communication). The correlation results highlighted both negative and positive coefficients for the three primary variables, indicative of positive/constructive and inverse relationships. The study concluded that the effectiveness of management processes linked with these primary variables were significantly affected by the assessed supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 period, which conforms with multiple research studies. This study further recommends the adoption of strategies that minimize such disruptions and bolster resilience during disaster periods, alongside revamped implementation of industry 4.0 technologies to fill in the gaps caused by supply chain disruptions during pandemics.