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Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain Management in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Future Challenges and Challenging Futures

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 12803

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: logistics and supply chain management; industrial plants; simulation of industrial process

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: Logistics and supply chain management; analysis and optimization of supply chains; sustainable supply chain; supply chain agility; supply chain performance; RFID technology for logistics and supply chain dynamics; food processing plants; safety/security of industrial plants; Industry 4.0 in logistics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, Parco Area delle Scienze 181/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: RFID technology and its applications in production and logistics; supply chain management and business process reengineering; lab-based education and research; production planning and control systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to draw your attention to the Special Issue of Sustainability (MDPI), jointly proposed by Federico SOLARI, Giovanni ROMAGNOLI, and Eleonora BOTTANI.

This Special Issue explores the new challenges and emerging trends in logistics and supply chain management as a response to new requirements imposed by both the pandemic and the more recent international energy crisis.

The recent pandemic, with the subsequent restrictions that governments have imposed on citizens, has radically changed consumer behaviour, resulting in an increase in consumption and demand variability, which consequently reflects a higher variability for logistics and production. In addition, the energy crisis that has affected Europe in recent months, partly due to the new international equilibrium that is emerging as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the growing attention that citizens, companies, and governments have directed towards climate change, are also deeply affecting the market, resulting in a trend towards a progressive "deglobalization". Some other trends are emerging on a global level, such as new sourcing strategies, an increase in online purchasing and home delivery services, greater digital awareness, and a greater need for digitisation in different areas, ranging from services to logistics and manufacturing. Thus, it is evident how logistics and supply chain management have faced, and are still facing, significant disruptions, as they must adapt to this new context and manage increasing complexities.

This Special Issue aims to provide a forum for scientific contributions and a discussion of these issues, in line with the scope of Sustainability of promoting scientific contributions related to sustainability and sustainable development. In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • The application of R-frameworks (from the 3R: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, to the 9R framework) in supply chain and logistics (SC&L);
  • The application of artificial intelligence and Big Data in SC&L;
  • Carbon footprint reduction in logistics;
  • Circular economy and triple bottom line (profit, people, and planet);
  • Closed-loop supply chain (SC);
  • Digitisation and automation for greener SC&L;
  • Emerging technologies for more sustainable SCs;
  • Enabling technologies for greener SCs;
  • Post-COVID-19 consumers behaviours;
  • Post-COVID-19 strategies;
  • SC&L simulation;
  • SC&L 4.0 and 5.0;
  • Sustainable logistics;
  • Sustainable SC.

We warmly encourage submissions in the aforementioned topics, and we refer you to the Call for Papers for more details.

Prof. Dr. Federico Solari
Prof. Dr. Eleonora Bottani
Prof. Dr. Giovanni Romagnoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • supply chain
  • logistics
  • sustainability
  • circular economy
  • closed-loop SC
  • digitisation
  • green SC
  • post-COVID-19 strategies
  • enabling technologies
  • I4.0 and I5.0

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1720 KiB  
Article
Environmental Impact Assessment of Organic Wheat Cracker Value Chains with and without Nettle Powder as a Natural Additive: A Case of Sweden
by Techane Bosona
Sustainability 2024, 16(7), 3092; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16073092 - 08 Apr 2024
Viewed by 368
Abstract
Due to the growing global population and consequent increased demand for food, the global production of cereal crops has increased. Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world, as its products, e.g., bread and crackers, have served as important [...] Read more.
Due to the growing global population and consequent increased demand for food, the global production of cereal crops has increased. Wheat is one of the most important food crops in the world, as its products, e.g., bread and crackers, have served as important sources of nutrition for many years. However, the environmental impacts of wheat-derived food products are not frequently explored. This study presents an environmental impact assessment of organic wheat crackers within the context of Swedish winter wheat production using both primary and literature-based data. A cradle-to-consumer gate life cycle analysis (LCA) approach using the functional unit (FU) of 1 kg of crackers was applied while considering two cracker value chains: (i) without additives and (ii) using nettle powder as a natural additive. Four environmental impact categories—cumulative energy demand (CED), climate change impact (GWP), acidification, and eutrophication—were explored, with a particular focus on CED and GWP. The analysis results indicated that the total CED values were about 13 MJ/FU and 14 MJ/FU for crackers without and with the additive, respectively. Similarly, the total GWP values were 379 g CO2 eq/FU and 464 g CO2 eq/FU, respectively. The post-harvest processing and handling stage was an environmental hot spot in both cases. The introduction of the nettle additive has increased the quantified values of all four of the investigated impact categories. These insights will enable food processors and policy makers to communicate the environmental impacts and make informed decisions to improve the sustainability of wheat crackers. This paper contributes to a database of the environmental impacts of wheat products, specifically LCA data of organic wheat crackers and the LCA method for further LCA studies of snacks and other wheat products with plant-based functional additives. Full article
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36 pages, 7359 KiB  
Article
Tri-Objective Vehicle Routing Problem to Optimize the Distribution Process of Sustainable Local E-Commerce Platforms
by Francesco Pilati and Riccardo Tronconi
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16051810 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 570
Abstract
The dramatic growth of online shopping worldwide in the last few years generated negative consequences for local small retailers who do not adopt information technologies. Furthermore, the e-commerce sector is considered a good opportunity to develop sustainable logistic processes. To reach this goal, [...] Read more.
The dramatic growth of online shopping worldwide in the last few years generated negative consequences for local small retailers who do not adopt information technologies. Furthermore, the e-commerce sector is considered a good opportunity to develop sustainable logistic processes. To reach this goal, the proposed paper presents a mathematical model and a metaheuristic algorithm to solve a multi-objective capacitated vehicle routing problem (CVRP) distinguished by economic, green, and ethical objective functions. The proposed algorithm is a multi-objective simulated annealing (MOSA) that is implemented in a software architecture and validated with real-world instances that differ for the product type delivered and the geographic distribution of customers. The main result of each test is a tri-dimensional Pareto front, i.e., a decision-support system for practitioners in selecting the best solution according to their needs. From these fronts, it can be observed that if the economic and environmental performances slightly deteriorate by 1.6% and 4.5%, respectively, the social one improves by 19.4%. Furthermore, the developed MOSA shows that the environmental and social objective functions depend on the product dimensions and the geographic distribution of customers. Regarding the former aspect, this paper reports that, counter-intuitively, the metabolic energy consumption per driver decreases with bigger products because the number of necessary vehicles (and drivers) increases, and, thus, the workload is divided among more employees. Regarding the geographic distribution, this manuscript illustrates that, despite similar traveled distances, highly variable altitudes cause more carbon emissions compared to flat distributions. Finally, this contribution shows that delivering small goods decreases the distance that vehicles travel empty by 59%, with a consequent cost reduction of 16%. Full article
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19 pages, 6687 KiB  
Article
Impacts of COVID-19 and the Russian–Ukrainian Conflict on Food Supply Chain: A Case Study from Bread Supply Chain in Egypt
by Noha A. Mostafa, Abdelwahab A. Hussein, Mohab Elsheeta and Giovanni Romagnoli
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16030994 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1236
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian–Ukrainian war have significantly impacted global supply chains, including the food supply chain, in numerous countries. As one of the leading wheat importers, Egypt has been adversely affected by the simultaneous occurrence of these two events. Baladi bread [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian–Ukrainian war have significantly impacted global supply chains, including the food supply chain, in numerous countries. As one of the leading wheat importers, Egypt has been adversely affected by the simultaneous occurrence of these two events. Baladi bread is an integral part of the daily diet in Egypt, so any disruption affecting its availability can have a severe impact on the country’s food security. This study aims to simulate the causes and effects of potential disruptions that could occur, such as increased transportation time, unavailability of sourcing, and surge in demand due to lockdowns and panic buying. The East Cairo region was chosen as a case study to model the Baladi bread supply chain. A discrete-event simulation model was developed using anyLogistix software (version 2.15.1) for this study. Five key performance indicators were selected to evaluate, analyze, and compare the outcomes of each scenario in terms of the performance and operation of the food supply chain: service level by product, lead time, demand backlog, average daily available inventory in the mills, and on-hand inventory of wheat in the silos. The results indicate that the supply chain has been significantly impacted by the disruptions caused by these two events, leading to decreased availability of Baladi bread, unmet demand, extended lead times, and high backlogs. By utilizing the research findings, proactive strategies can be developed to minimize the impact of such disruptions in the future and maximize food security and supply chain resilience. Full article
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13 pages, 1591 KiB  
Article
Impacts of COVID-19 on Logistics Service Providers’ Operations: An Italian Empirical Study
by Giovanni Zenezini, Anna Corinna Cagliano, Giulio Mangano and Carlo Rafele
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010208 - 26 Dec 2023
Viewed by 731
Abstract
The lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021 resulted in a substantial increase in e-commerce purchases, with the consequent growth of logistics services. Thus, this paper is aimed at studying the effects of the pandemic on the operational processes of [...] Read more.
The lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021 resulted in a substantial increase in e-commerce purchases, with the consequent growth of logistics services. Thus, this paper is aimed at studying the effects of the pandemic on the operational processes of logistics service providers. To this end, a survey questionnaire was developed and administered to a sample of identified respondents. The collected data were quantitatively analyzed via the Kruskal–Wallis test. The outcomes point out that logistics operators faced an increase in the distances traveled to carry out pick-up and delivery activities, and larger companies added more light vehicles to their fleets, proving that the company size was a relevant aspect of ensuring a quick response to the pandemic. These results show an increased business-to-consumer market share that is leading to a redesign toward more sustainable operational strategies. Full article
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21 pages, 6572 KiB  
Article
Modeling Techno-Economic Wood Procurement from Renewable Forests for the Sustainable Energy Supply of a CHP Plant
by Teijo Palander
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010170 - 23 Dec 2023
Viewed by 853
Abstract
The importance of the national security of supply has been emphasized in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in operating environments. Thanks to autonomy and resiliency in fuel procurement, organizations with decentralized energy plants may be able to quickly adapt [...] Read more.
The importance of the national security of supply has been emphasized in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in operating environments. Thanks to autonomy and resiliency in fuel procurement, organizations with decentralized energy plants may be able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of society. The main aim of this study was to increase the sustainability of these CHP plants’ wood procurement by modeling it and determining the company’s profitable wood procurement region while keeping the forests renewable. The environmental sustainability of wood procurement was assessed by considering the additional costs caused through the EEAP mechanism if the carbon sink of the forest worsened due to wood procurement in the area. The supply chains were compared so that the CHP plant managers could adopt the best energy wood value chains. The results showed that updating the procurement strategy would be necessary. The CHP plant managers should purchase energy wood from a larger procurement area than the current one and focus on roadside purchases of wood. The Techno-Economic Wood Payment Ability Model was a useful part of the DSS in guiding wood buyers toward sustainable wood procurement by increasing the share of renewable forests. Full article
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32 pages, 477 KiB  
Article
The Medical Right to Repair: Intellectual Property, the Maker Movement, and COVID-19
by Matthew Rimmer
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 14839; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152014839 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 5139
Abstract
This article considers the strengths and limitations of the use of 3D printing and additive manufacturing for the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 public health crisis. It explores the role of the Maker Movement in addressing the shortfall in [...] Read more.
This article considers the strengths and limitations of the use of 3D printing and additive manufacturing for the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 public health crisis. It explores the role of the Maker Movement in addressing the shortfall in medical equipment during the public health pandemic. Taking a comparative approach, this article evaluates the responses of both the commercial and amateur sides of the 3D printing community to the COVID-19 public health crisis. In the EU, the Fab Lab Network sought to overcome a breakdown in supply chains. In the US, Dale Dougherty of Make Magazine promoted Plan C, in which volunteers have worked together to produce PPE. In Australia, 3D printing has been used to augment supplies of PPE. In this context, a key issue across jurisdictions has been the tension between intellectual property rights and the right to repair—particularly when 3D printing has been applied to deal with shortages in PPE. Senator Ron Wyden put forward the Critical Medical Infrastructure Right-to-Repair Act of 2020 (US) to try to resolve these tensions. Open licensing has proven to be a helpful mechanism to enable open collaboration and sharing of 3D printing designs for the purposes of health care. Nonetheless, it is argued that there should be stronger recognition of the right to repair—particularly in the context of health-care and medical devices. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted that there needs to be a broader array of intellectual property flexibilities to deal with public health emergencies—including in respect of the right to repair. As such, this article supports a broad vision of a TRIPS Waiver which includes the right to repair. The recognition of a right to repair will help promote the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and a COVID-19 recovery. The topic of the medical right to repair has larger implications for sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in respect of responsible production and consumption (SDG 12), as well as good health and well-being (SDG 3), innovation (SDG 9), and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). Full article
21 pages, 1849 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Capabilities Influence on the Operational Performance of Hotel Food Supply Chains: A Mediation-Moderation Model
by Mahmoud Abou Kamar, Omaima Munawar Albadry, Samar Sheikhelsouk, Mohammed Hasan Ali Al-Abyadh and Omar Alsetoohy
Sustainability 2023, 15(18), 13562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151813562 - 11 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1336
Abstract
This study develops and tests an integrated model based on the Dynamic Capabilities View (DCV) to empirically examine how dynamic capabilities influence the operational performance of hotel food supply chains through the mediating role of supply chain resilience and the moderating influences of [...] Read more.
This study develops and tests an integrated model based on the Dynamic Capabilities View (DCV) to empirically examine how dynamic capabilities influence the operational performance of hotel food supply chains through the mediating role of supply chain resilience and the moderating influences of environmental uncertainty and disruption orientation. The model is tested using survey data from 160 five- and four-star hotel managers in Egypt and the findings of structural equation modeling. The findings support the proposed model and reveal a positive effect of total dynamic capabilities and the four dynamic capabilities (i.e., collaboration, integration, agility, and reconfiguration) on the operational performance of hotel food supply chains through the mediating role of supply chain resilience. The results affirm that supply chain resilience mediates the relationship between dynamic capabilities (in total) and operational performance. Furthermore, the results show that environmental uncertainty moderates the above linkage, whereas disruption orientation does not do that. With the extension of DCV, our findings contribute to deepening our understanding of the dynamic capabilities contributing to the development of hotel food supply chain performance. These findings hold crucial implications for academics, managers, and policymakers. They also provide valuable insights on how to effectively control operational performance during disruptions. Full article
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Review

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25 pages, 2096 KiB  
Review
Sustainability across the Medical Device Lifecycle: A Scoping Review
by Luis Montesinos, Pedro Checa Rifá, Mireya Rifá Fabregat, Javier Maldonado-Romo, Stefano Capacci, Alessia Maccaro and Davide Piaggio
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041433 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1328
Abstract
Medical devices are instrumental in servicing the healthcare sector and promoting well-being in modern societies. However, their production and use contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, thus causing indirect harm to global health. With a share of approximately 4.4% of global emissions, the [...] Read more.
Medical devices are instrumental in servicing the healthcare sector and promoting well-being in modern societies. However, their production and use contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, thus causing indirect harm to global health. With a share of approximately 4.4% of global emissions, the healthcare sector exhales CO2 throughout its value chain; sources of this range from direct electricity consumption and water heating in healthcare facilities to the supply chains delivering healthcare services and products. Within this context, the environmental impact of medical devices is present across their production, distribution, usage, and eventual disposal. Each step in the lifecycle of medical devices consumes energy and natural resources, and the end product, after its often single use, is discarded, generating plastic or electronic waste. This study aims to present the key findings from a scoping review of academic research on the topic, which focuses on reducing the environmental impact of medical devices and equipment. The review, conducted according to the PRISMA checklist for scoping reviews, examined 41 studies and categorised them based on the lifecycle stages of medical devices (design and development, manufacturing, usage, and end of life) and the sustainability aspects (economic, environmental, and social) discussed by the authors. The findings suggest that while efforts have been made to enhance economic and environmental sustainability throughout the design, development, and usage of medical devices, there is still room for improvement in mitigating their ecological impact at the end of their lifecycle and maximising their social impact by design. Full article
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