Special Issue "Digital Sustainability and Customer-Centric Project and Operations Management in Support of the People, Planet, and Profit"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Khaled Medini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, 158 Cours Fauriel, 42023 Saint-Étienne, France
Interests: Project management; Ramp-up management; Sustainability; Information Systems; Operations Management; Sustainable Customer Centric Systems; Industry 4.0
Prof. Dr. David Romero
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Advanced Manufacturing Research Group, Center for Innovation in Design and Technology, Tecnológico de Monterrey, 64849 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
Interests: circular manufacturing; digital lean manufacturing; smart manufacturing; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wuest
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
Interests: smart manufacturing; Industry 4.0; Artificial Intelligence; machine learning; hybrid analytics; closed-loop product lifecycle management; digital supply networks
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

“Unleashing the Synergies of Digital Sustainability and Customer-Centric Project and Operations Management in Support of the People, Planet, and Profit”

Dear Colleagues,

Global environmental, social, and technological trends have changed customers’ values and expectations from the ground up and altered the way they perceive value in their products and services. On one hand, the growing demand of environmental and social values in B2C, B2B, and C2C markets has created new types of economic thinking, namely the Circular Economy and the Sharing Economy, according to which products and services should have multiple life cycles and be shared, borrowed or leased rather than owned. On the other hand, technological advances have created new ways to serve customers’ needs, wants, and desires, increasing their expectations beyond the delivery of products and services, demanding memorable experiences when they purchase or use them, giving rise to the Experience Economy. As a result, customers today expect instant gratification (also known as the Amazon effect) and increasingly personalized products and services—two developments that are difficult to satisfy in a sustainable way. Hence, customers are expecting companies to become more environmental and socially responsible in their design, production, and logistics practices.

Furthermore, the black swan event around the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated the already multidimensional problem, adding to the triple bottom line challenge the need to innovate and tailor current value propositions and business and operating models to the new normal while meeting customer expectations and keeping everyone as safe as possible.

Ensuring agile and customer-centric operations and project management has become a prerequisite to address the uncertainty in upstream and downstream supply chains in crisis contexts such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, well-thought ramp-up and ramp-down management of the production support the alignment of local and global supply networks with customers’ demands. At this point, beyond the common triple bottom line, risk analysis is at the heart of a sustainable customer-centric operations and project management.        

In this context, this Special Issue aims to explore in a synergistic way the practices of Digital Sustainability—as the corporate and supply network initiatives that seek to advance the sustainable development goals of businesses and consumers through the creative deployment of digital technologies for value creation, delivery and capture, and of Customer-centric Projects and Operations—as an approach to doing business focused on the consumer by providing a positive customer experience at the point of sale and after the sale to drive profit and gain a competitive advantage in the renovated Digitalized Experience Economy.

In this Special Issue, we invite scientific contributions addressing this challenge from various perspectives and providing innovative answers to this multidimensional problem. Guest Editors specifically welcome interdisciplinary work and encourage the submission of real-world case studies to provide empirical evidence.

Topics :

  • Sustainable production ramp-up/ramp-down management
  • Sustainable project management
  • Customer-centric project and operations management
  • Customers role in sustainable operations
  • Digital sustainability concepts, drivers, and frameworks
  • Information systems for sustainable operations and customer-centricity
  • Quality management for sustainable operations
  • Resilient (digital) supply networks
  • Sustainable mass-customization and personalization

Khaled Medini
David Romero
Thorsten Wuest
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 papers will be 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 1900 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.


  • Customer-centricity
  • Digitalization/digital transformation
  • Digital sustainability
  • Operations management
  • Project and risk management
  • Quality management
  • Sustainability management
  • Ramp-up management

Published Papers (1 paper)

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A Methodological Framework to Support the Sustainable Innovation Development Process: A Collaborative Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9054; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169054 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 557
The notion of sustainable innovation (SI) emerged recently in the academic literature and evokes deep changes in organizations’ products, processes, and practices to favour the creation of social and environmental value in addition to economic returns. The development of SI implies a collaborative [...] Read more.
The notion of sustainable innovation (SI) emerged recently in the academic literature and evokes deep changes in organizations’ products, processes, and practices to favour the creation of social and environmental value in addition to economic returns. The development of SI implies a collaborative process that requires the orchestration of several actors and streams of knowledge to be successful. Indeed, companies adopting the SI path need structured methodologies to guide the collaboration process with internal and external actors and support the decision process. Nevertheless, the literature has focused on the analysis of determinants and drivers of sustainable innovation development, while the process perspective has been discussed less. Through an in-depth case study in a large-sized company in France, this article proposes a methodological framework to guide the collaborative process in the early phases of sustainable innovation development. The framework relies on a combination of qualitative research and a multicriteria decision aiding method (AHP). The contributions of this work address two main aspects: (i) the conceptualization of sustainable innovation (SI) and (ii) the collaborative process between internal and external actors to develop SI. Firstly, our study leads to two additional dimensions to complete the concept of SI, traditionally based on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social), by adding the functional and relational dimensions. Secondly, concerning the collaborative process to develop SI, our framework proposes a structured methodology following five steps: definition of the project scope, setting actors’ motivations, defining satisfaction criteria, proposing SI solutions, and performing a decision-aiding process to define the preference profiles of the key actors. Full article
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