Supply chain resilience: the whole is not the sum of the parts

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate how resilience at different nodes in the supply chain influences overall supply chain resilience (SCRES) during an extreme weather event. Design/methodology/approach – Based on 41 in-depth interviews, this qualitative study examines two Brazilian agri-food supply chains (AFSC). The interviews explored the impacts, preparedness, response and adaptation strategies adopted by farmers, processors and manufacturers during Brazil’s extreme drought of 2014–2015. Findings – SCRES does not depend on all organizations in the supply chain but rather on the company able to reconfigure the resources to control for the disruption. In a supply chain with low interdependence among players, individual firm resilience elements might be preferable to interorganizational ones. Research limitations/implications – This study is based on the context of AFSCs with low interdependence among players and during the experience of a climatic event. The results might not be generalizable to other sectors and phenomena. Practical implications – Firms must evaluate their positions in supply chains and their interfirm relationships to determine which resilience strategy to invest in and rely on. Moreover, to leverage resilience at the supply chain level, firms must intensify information sharing and improve proactive resilience strategies upstream as well as downstream in the supply chain. Originality/value – This study presents a broader perspective of resilience by comparing resilience elements at both the node and supply chain levels and by discussing their interactions and trade-offs.

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