Bolstering the Supply Chain

Keeping Supplies Robust During Complex Global Events

Masks. Hand sanitizer. Ventilators. Testing kits. Drugs to keep fevers down and secondary infections at bay. The distribution of all these items has been imperiled by COVID-19. As global supply chains bow under the weight of the disease because of factory closures in major manufacturing countries like China, the effects of supply chain disruptions may spread as quickly as the disease itself.

However, Northeastern is home to recognized experts in resilient supply chain structures who can help advise best practices for keeping chains robust even during times of economic and workforce-related upheaval. They have expertise in forecasting, predictive analytics, risk management, and supply chain management. They can advise on reconfiguration of supplies to meet evolving needs and how to manage seamless transitions between the natural and virtual worlds. And they can work with medical facilities in developing nations, helping them to treat patients in respiratory distress with inexpensive tools and lightly trained staff.

Further, supply chain issues go beyond products to encompass labor force implications for workers, such as the people that will buoy the healthcare system and treat patients during the pandemic. To boost the supply chain of healthcare providers, Northeastern experts can conceive strategies such as bringing back retired professionals to assist with management of situations and lead younger providers.

The current pandemic is, and will be, long-lasting. But with philanthropic funding, faculty researchers at Northeastern are studying and disseminating in real time what makes supply chains agile and what makes them fragile. Additional resources to spur their discovery can uncover the precise features of resilient supply chain structures that can be used as lessons for rebuilding the future.

Faculty Experts:

Kwong Chan, Associate Academic Specialist, Marketing; Executive Director, DATA Initiative

Ozlem Ergun, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; Affiliated Faculty, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Affiliated Faculty, Global Resilience Institute

Lee Makowski, Professor and Chair, Bioengineering; Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology; Affiliated Faculty, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics; Associate Director, Dukakis Center

Janet Rico, Assistant Dean, Nursing Graduate Programs, Faculty, School of Nursing

Nada Sanders, Distinguished Professor, Supply Chain Management

Maria van Pelt, Dean & Associate Clinical Professor, School of Nursing & Associate Dean, Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Faculty, School of Nursing

How you can get involved

If you’re looking to support our faculty experts in their quest to solve supply chain issues, connect with Paul Zernicke, Associate Vice President of Individual Giving at