Reimagining Post-Pandemic Enterprise Information Management and Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

The COVID-19 viral infection is a threat to society, economy, and the environment; and in the last six months it has affected businesses globally. COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic on 11th March 2020 after it spread quickly to many countries (WHO news). 

Countries have taken different measures to slow down the spread of this viral infection especially given that vaccine development is still ongoing. The resulting situation has included disruption to supply chains given that manufacturers are connected along a global supply chain network (Derevyankina and Yankovskaya, 2020). Initially businesses faced significant challenges, they have recently learned to acclimate to a new-normal (Handfield, et al., 2020; Trautrims et al., 2020). 

Emerging research has been addressing risk management and resilient supply chain related issues for coping during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ivanov and Das (2020) analysed the speed by which the pandemic spread globally and its effect on market disruption and consumer demand. They pointed out that creation of flexible and dynamic virtual local supply and demand structures are key to resilience. It is important to transform existing supply chain models to viable pandemic-era supply chain models to avoid perishing in the short-run (Gurbuz and Ozkan, 2020). Studies by Ivanov (2020), Ivanov and Dolgui (2020ab), and Remko (2020) provide insights into supply chain risk management and supply chain resilience research. Ishida (2020) has provided some fresh perspectives to supply chain management in a pandemic and the post-COVID-19 era to aid supply chain managers in making decisions.
Kartskhiya et al., 2020 argued that digital technologies can play an important role in managing supply chains. New strategies are needed in this new environment (Paul and Chowdhury, 2020). Research at strategic levels of analysis seems to garner most interest. However, more attention is required for tactical and operational level problems faced by organisations. Supply chain and organization sustainability issues in relation to communities and countries are also a concern during this time and require attention. More specifically there has been limited focus on achieving sustainable development goals (SDG) during and after COVID-19 pandemic; although relationships to sustainability concerns have arisen.

COVID-19, given the rapid and unprecedented social and political responses, represents an historic opportunity to focus on rethinking and developing radical solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges—many as part of the SDGs. The world remains in the grip of a global pandemic. Millions confirmed cases and over 1,000,000 people have died. Billions of people have been in lockdown for months; and their lives and livelihoods greatly hampered. In this uncertain world many are ready and prepared for potentially radical change (WHO news). 

This change can be targeted towards the SDGs—a series of ambitious objectives and targets set by the United Nations to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, gender equality, and tackle climate change, by 2030. Given the revolutionary and radical social and political actions from COVID-19; people realize that changes can be made quickly on a larger scale. People realize that radical transformation for good is possible in a post COVID-19. It seems more possible that we can create healthier lives, better education, environmental protection and green jobs very effectively (Fantazy and Tipu, 2019). 

One possible vehicle to transform to a sustainable society is through reimaging information systems and sustainable supply chain management (de Camargo Fiorini and Jabbour, 2017). Future transformation can be supported and advanced using data driven sustainability approaches and sustainability based performance measurement (Bai et al., 2012; Contador et al., 2020). How this may be done and the necessary capabilities, tools, resources, and relationships need investigation. It is why we offer this special issue.
Questions for future research and investigation include:

•    What can we learn from the pandemic and response to address societal and environmental challenges in a post-pandemic era? 
•    How will and should society and the environment recover post pandemic? 
•    What actions are required jointly by businesses, government and local community to expedite the recovery process? 
•    How can the transformative activities be aligned with the sustainable development goals?
•    Which practices are relevant for the implementation of sustainable development goals?
•    Can digitization and information management contribute directly to addressing the previous questions in addition to supporting SDG targets?

To acquire original research relating to theory development through case studies, empirical studies with relevant practical and/or managerial implications. These studies can include management notes, commentaries, and perspective to assist supply chain and business managers working under challenging conditions to develop viable supply chain capabilities including information technology and digital solutions to advance socio-environmental and SDG related goals; while thriving competitively.

Proposed Special Issue Outcome
In view of these broad questions, the potential topics for the special issue include (but are not limited to):
•    Information management for a sustainable recovery agenda in organizations.
•    Big data to unlock a truly sustainable economy post-pandemic.
•    Link organisational theories to empirical research in enterprise risk management and sustainable development post-pandemic.
•    Tackling economic, societal and environmental challenges in a post-pandemic environment. 
•    Manage problems at the tactical and operational level in enterprises
•    Planning and scheduling of deliveries -vehicle routing problems
•    Manage contracts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
•    Supplier development and relationships to support SDG goals
•    Communication and coordination in this new-normal age 
•    Tracking and monitoring shipments using digital technologies
•    Use of digital technologies to increase demand and supply visibility
•    Development of resilient and robust supply chains in this new-normal age
•    Circular economic principles supported by technological capacities to address the SDGs
•    Inclusive, equitable, and supportive technology given the digital divide in a post-pandemic environment
•    Supporting the world’s most vulnerable populations through information technological solutions in a post-pandemic environment

•    ScholarOne open for submissions: November 30, 2020 
•    Final date for initial submissions on ScholarOne: March 30, 2021
•    Editors’ final decision: September 30, 2021
•    Expected publication: early 2022

Submission Information
Manuscripts are to be submitted via the Journal of Enterprise Information Management ScholarOne portal Potential authors are encourage to consult the author guidelines found here. Select ‘Sustainable Development Goals Post-Pandemic’ from the menu. For any questions regarding this special issue, please contact the guest editors.

Managing Guest Editor: Dr. Shivam Gupta
Department of Information Systems, Supply Chain & Decision Making,
NEOMA Business School, France

Guest Editor: Dr. Surajit Bag 
Department of Transport and Supply Chain Management, 
School of Management, College of Business and Economics, 
University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Guest Editor: Professor Charbel Chiappetta Jabbour
Lincoln International Business School
University of Lincoln, United Kingdom

Guest Editor: Professor Joseph Sarkis
School of Business
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States 

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de Camargo Fiorini, P., & Jabbour, C. J. C. (2017). Information systems and sustainable supply chain management towards a more sustainable society: Where we are and where we are going. International Journal of Information Management, 37(4), 241-249.
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Remko, V. H. (2020), “Research opportunities for a more resilient post-COVID-19 supply chain–closing the gap between research findings and industry practice”, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 341-355.
Timeline to WHOs’ response to COVID-19,
Trautrims, A., Schleper, M. C., Cakir, M. S. and Gold, S. (2020), “Survival at the expense of the weakest? Managing modern slavery risks in supply chains during COVID-19”, Journal of Risk Research, pp. 1-6.