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Investigate the impact of covid 19 pandemic on supply chain vulnerability in UK e commerce sectors case study

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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Introduction and background

This research study briefly explains the Supply chain vulnerability in the UK During the Covid-19 Pandemic on the E-commerce sector of ASOS. During the Covid-19 Pandemic supply chain management was at a minimum level, which is explained adequately in this research. The pre and post-pandemic supply chain management system gives you vast management knowledge. Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has detrimental effects on how well supply chain management functions internationally. This research may give you all the information required regarding how the E-commerce sector is affected by supply chain management. During the Covid-19 pandemic, major problem comes to notice like Difficulties in production, Inventory management, distributional management, or even difficulties in customer demand. This study also shows that there has been an interruption in the global supply chain as a result of these issues. According to Chowdhury et al. (2021), Due to the Covid-19 situation many countries have imposed the lockdown and restricted the boundary in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19. This directly affects the company’s performance, employee performance, and even on the customers. Apart from that, a big threat to any organization could be political instability. During the Covid-19 pandemic situation lots of government was unstable and this affected supply chain management deeply. ASOS, it is founded in 2000 and the main focus area of ASOS is the Fashion and cosmetic brand, which is retailing more than 850 brands. ASOS is a well-known retailer around the UK and at a global level. This research study shows, how the ASOS supply chain was affected by Covid-19. This research also shows innovative ideas and a better management system to improve the affected supply chain in a proper manner. The implementation of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Cloud storage, an advanced inventory management system, and more detailed work has been done in this research study. The use of AI in inventory management aids in a better data processing system and reduces waste while simultaneously enhancing the administration of the warehouse for the personnel and customers are more likely to be satisfied when a supply chain runs smoothly, which is indirectly satisfied the customer service and more likely to go at the same place. In addition, the assessment and evaluation of the factors influencing the effectiveness of supply chain management were the focus of the current study.

1.2 Research aim and objective

The main related with the present study is the investigation and analysis of the influence of Covid-19 pandemic in context to supply chain management process in UK E-commerce. The objective in present study is framed according to the research aim and these are following.

  • To assess and evaluate the Covid-19 pandemic influence on SC(supply chain) vulnerability in context to the E-commerce sectors
  • To assess and determine the reason of SC vulnerability in context to E-commerce in UK during and post pandemic
  • To provide an effective suggestion for UK E-commerce organization in supply chain vulnerability

1.3 Research question

The research questions related with the study are following.

  • What is the Covid-19 pandemic influence on SC(supply chain) vulnerability in context to the E-commerce sectors?
  • What is the reason of SC vulnerability in context to E-commerce in UK during and post pandemic?
  • What is an effective suggestion for UK E-commerce organization in supply chain vulnerability?

1.4 Research rational

The entire nations have witnessed the disruption of the SC of all section and firms have resulted reduction of the performance due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has provoked serious economic and social disruption globally including tight restriction in travel and social distancing has result the reduction of firm supply chain performance. Therefore, it is significant to find out the reason as well as impact of the pandemic related factors(Luckstead et al., 2021). The present study is focused on the assessment and evaluation of the finding main reason and impact of the Covid-19 in supply chain in UK E-commerce sectors and this helps to firm to improve performance in proper ways. Apart from that present study is also focus on offering an effective recommendation which have been implemented by E-commerce firm to cope with unpredictable but unavoidable problem which might emerge in future(Hobbs, 2021). After successfully execution of the study provide better information regarding the influence of the Covid-19on supply chain management performance.

1.5 Problem of the statement

According to Guan et al., (2020), mentioned that world in present situation is in pandemic situation and this negatively impact the supply chain performance of different E-commerce organization including Tesco plc, Sainsbury plc and so on. The inadequacy of significant commodities in retails has reached new high. Customer in present situation also in panic as of the shipment of the products is delays due to disruption of the SC. Vulnerability in a supply chain occurs when it is exposed to potentially catastrophic disruption due to either internal or external threats. The effect of Covid-19 has been felt by this organization's sales, income, and retail sales(Araz et al. 2020). Although there has been a respectable increase in e-commerce in the UK, the Covid-19 outbreak has negatively hampered development and the potential of the industry in terms of supply chain management.

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction to E-commerce and supply chain vulnerability

The modern supply chain is very complicated, with a large number of concurrent movements of both information and physical goods. This is done to guarantee that items are supplied in the appropriate amounts, to the appropriate location, in the most efficient way possible. In point of fact, the term supply networks could be more appropriate than supply chains (Ralston and Blackhurst, 2020). The phrases supply chains and supply networks are used interchangeably throughout this study, although they refer to the same thing. In recent years, there has been a trend toward reducing the size of supply networks, which has resulted in these networks being more susceptible to risk. there is often very little inventory in the system to buffer any disruptions in supply, any disruptions might have a quick effect on the supply network. In particular, there is a tendency for there to be very little inventory in the system.

These disturbances may be caused by a variety of factors, including natural catastrophes terrorist attacks industrial or direct-action accidents operational issues as a result of the intimate interrelationships that exist across many different supply networks, the effects of interruptions of this kind may have far-reaching consequences. Since a long time ago, businesses have been aware of the need for disaster recovery and emergency preparation, especially in fields such as information technology and industrial facilities (Araz et al. 2020). Companies are paying a growing amount of attention to business risk, in particular with respect to the possibility of losing market share as well as the amount of time and money required to re-enter a market after a large interruption to supply. It is feasible to describe supply chain vulnerability as the extent that a supply chain is subject to substantial interruption as a result of supply chain risks. Along with that consequence, the supply chain's capability to properly serve the end customer market is compromised.

2.2 Current e commerce growth in UK

The United Kingdom is the most significant market in all of Europe with regard to the purchase of goods and services over the internet. In 2021, the staggering value of the internet retail sector in the United Kingdom was estimated to be 173 billion dollars (Coppola, 2022). This represents an increase of approximately 15 percent from the predicted total of 112.7 billion British pounds in 2020 and is more than three times as much money as was made from online sales in the UK in 2015. Additionally, this represents an increase of more than three times as much money as was made from online sales in the UK in 2015.

Figure 2.2.1: E-commerce revenue in the UK 2015-2021

(Source: Coppola, 2022)

As lockdowns became more widespread, a growing number of businesses and people went digital, meaning they began providing and purchasing a greater percentage of their goods and services online. During the month of March 2020, particularly, almost forty percent of customers in the United Kingdom reported making more purchases over the internet than they had before the outbreak of the coronavirus (Tighe, 2021). This circumstances show the behaviour and demand change of the customer and with a advancement of information technologies, which can able to save customer time and customer can have more varieties than before. These are the considerable thing, which can change the customer behaviour.

Figure 2.2.2: Buying behaviour change of customers COVID-19 2020-2021

(Source: Tighe, 2021)

Hence, during the covid 19 pandemic overall buying behaviour of people changed and they are now preferring to buy products from online rather than shop from offline store. Therefore, it can be easily said that ecommerce market of UK will grow more inf future. The United Kingdom (UK) is projected to have registered 141 billion British pounds worth of retail sales via e-commerce in the year 2021. Over seventy percent of this value came from sales to first-party customers, while the remaining thirty percent came from sales to third-party customers. In the United kingdom, it was anticipated that online sales of both types of businesses would continue to expand over the course of the next few years (Coppola, 2022).

Figure 2.2.3: E-Retail sales performance for period of 2021-2026

(Source: Coppola, 2022)

2.3 Covid-19 influence on SC vulnerability in UK Ecommerce sectors

The manufacturing function of the supply chain is primarily represented by the product sourcing process. During the covid 19 pandemic, it may become challenging to obtain merchandise for online retailers' eCommerce shops (Petkovi? et al. 2020). The process of controlling all of the items that a seller wants to sell in the near or far future is referred to as inventory management. Maintaining the inventory and keeping it in line with the orders that are coming in may be a difficult and time-consuming task. In addition, companies need to have excellent inventory management in order to reduce the amount of money spent on sourcing. The inventory is now the most valuable asset; nevertheless, if it is not handled well, it will quickly become the most significant problem.

Many retailers were unable to accurately predict the demand for their product, so they either buy far more than is necessary or significantly less during the covid pandemic. Market demand could not be predicted in a correct way during the covid pandemic therefore, lots of sellers faced huge number of losses. Shipping and logistics are the next and most significant obstacle for those in charge of managing the supply chain for eCommerce. Due to the lockdown ecommerce companies were facing challenges to deliver the order. A significant amount of delay acquired during the covid pandemic time.

Figure 2.3: Challenges of exporting in wholesale and retail in UK

(Source: Sabanoglu, 2022)

Nearly half of UK wholesale and retail enterprises blamed the pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the end of the transition period in the European Union for the problems in exporting products. The poll confirmed this to be true. However, just 3.6% of businesses polled blamed the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for any problems they encountered with exports during the four weeks commencing on December 13, 2021, and ending on January 9, 2022 (Sabanoglu, 2022). Hence, it indicates that covid 19 also developed multiple challenges in Ecommerce’s supply chain management process.

2.4 Pre and Post Covid-19 changes in supply chain

It is now widely acknowledged that the Covid-19 outbreak is the most challenging and deadly situation in the globe. Covid-19 has impacted the supply chain because of various norms regulated by the government such as lockdown, social distancing, and others. Because of this, the economy of the whole globe has slowed down, and significant corporations and enterprises have been impacted. The influence of Covid-19 has impacted transportation facilities and the supply chain of e-commerce. travel restrictions, the shutting down of borders and businesses, and in certain areas, a total lockdown of the area destroyed contact between suppliers and business. Market capitalization of ASOS has been stated as $3.22 billion in 2021 that was $6.51 billionin 2022 (Statista, 2022). As a result, the precarious state of the supply chain has been laid bare impacting growth of the business.

Figure 4: Market capitalization of ASOS

(Source: Statista, 2022)

Post pandemic business opted for finding alternative suppliers to maintain the operation of the firm however that was more challenging. The primary responsibilities of supply chain management have been changed after Covid-19 that are the maintenance of low-cost supplies and a small inventory (Fonseca and Azevedo, 2020). Companies develop a mindset of investing into supply chains leading to transformation of the business and achieving reliability. The most successful distributors have been observed to be increasingly factoring in the cost of network risk and planning to spend more on supply networks that are robust. The power of recuperation continues to increase after a pandemic that has developed new ways of doing business and operating in the UK. 

It has been observed that after pandemic stakeholders’ requirements have changed. Changed preferences demands innovation and involvement of technology in the supply chain to prevent any issues that have been faced during pandemic. Current E-commerce requires a flexible supply chain that can reduce costs, enhance cash flow, and accelerate inventory turn. This will respectively increase the number of times the inventory is sold. When the pandemic is over and normal economic activity resumes around the world, many people still believe that they need to continue to manage their global supply networks in the same manner. However, e-commerce that focused on supply chain development has been observed to be a Better and growing position. Focusing on the supply chain at the lowest possible cost while maintaining the smallest possible inventory levels is the target of e-commerce after the pandemic (Milovanovi? et al. 2021). This strategy will be successful because of the global economic stability that has been affected by Covid-19 fir two years. The presumptions on the management of supply chains have been revised that has highlighted new risks that need to be handled by Organizations. In order to lessen their reliance on foreign-made products and supplies, domestic companies E-commerce is focusing on establishing their own local sourcing units and formulating alternative business strategies. A major cause for alarm is the recent trends of decelerating growth and falling consumption. This has placed an emphasis on reducing costs as much as possible and making "just in time" delivery.

2.5 Challenges for supply chain after Covid-19

It is now widely acknowledged that the Covid-19 outbreak is the most challenging and deadly situation in the globe. Because of this, the economy of the whole globe has slowed down, and significant corporations and enterprises have been impacted. The influence of Covid-19 has had a very odd and unusual effect, despite the fact that it has been so destructive. The several countries had imposed a lockdown, including travel restrictions, the shutting down of borders and businesses, and in certain areas, a total lockdown of the area. As a result, the precarious state of the supply chain has been laid bare before our own eyes by this outbreak.

Finding alternative suppliers to maintain the operation of the firm is getting more challenging. The primary responsibilities of supply chain management have been, for a significant amount of time now, the maintenance of low-cost supplies and a small inventory. By making an investment in the system of the supply chain, one may transform its vulnerable state into a resilient one (Paul et al. 2021). The most successful distributors are increasingly factoring in the cost of network risk and planning to spend more in supply networks that are robust. The power of recuperation continues to increase.

To match the customer's requirement, e-commerce has suddenly moved involving sustainability in the supply chain. There is a need for a flexible supply chain that can reduce costs, enhance cash flow, and accelerate inventory turn, all while increasing the amount of times the inventory is sold. Whenever the pandemic is over and normal economic activity resumes around the world, many people will likely believe that they should continue to manage their global supply networks in the same manner that they have in the past, focusing on finding the supply at the lowest possible cost while maintaining the smallest possible inventory levels. This strategy was successful when the global economy was more stable; nevertheless, it now poses a greater danger (Ivanov et al. 2022). The presumptions on the management of supply chains have been revised. In order to lessen their reliance on foreign-made products and supplies, domestic companies now need to establish their very own local sourcing units and formulate alternative business strategies. A major cause for alarm is the recent trends of decelerating growth and falling consumption in E-commerce retail sector. This has placed an emphasis on reducing costs as much as possible and making "just in time" delivery.

2.6 Recommendation to improve E-commerce supply chain

Improve the effectiveness of the incoming supply chain.

In an omnichannel shop or a firm that focuses only on online sales, it has been recommended to set delivery time for materials. Ensuring incoming items and materials delivered on time and in accordance with orders will result in gaining trust of the customers (E-Fatima et al. 2022). goal should be to get the product in order for it to either be stored away or cross-docked so that it may be used to complete orders. It has been recommended to Analyse the difficulties that are occurring as well as the expenditures that are incurred in revising receipts.

E-commerce has been recommended to figure out suppliers that are responsible for the bulk of the delays and cost overruns. Through the use of electronic data interchange (EDI), business may implement more robust computer systems between the firm and its suppliers.

Implement vendor compliance processes

E-commerce has been recommended to find out inbound and fulfilment tasks, such as ticketing and final inspection, that can be performed more quickly and at a lower cost. Apart from this e-commerce need to find a way to alleviate the congestion at the receiving port and the truck yard.

Reduced transportation expenses and quicker delivery times

ASOS needs to be more attentive to their customers' needs by fulfilling their purchases in a more expedient manner and charging them less for delivery. Investigating multi-distribution centre operations will improve decision making of the business (Khan et al. 2022). E-commerce after a pandemic need to plan and ensure that the expenses of setting up the business in terms of new buildings, people, and administration. Adopting EV will help to reduce the transportation cost.

Expand the storage space available in the current warehouse

It has been recommended to know about warehouse requirements in respect to the flow of goods. No matter how large a distribution centre is, if it is not properly laid up and designed, business will have problems with capacity, lower productivity, and inadequate storage space. Along with that Ecommerce companies must adopt storage system in warehouses to get maximum benefit.

Implementing advance automation and digital technologies in supply chain management process

Implementation of bar code technology is often considered to be one of the cornerstone technologies for warehouse automation and systems. E-commerce will be able to have all the information about the goods and locate them with the help of barcodes (Ishfaq et al. 2022). Barcoding should be one of the initial initiatives since it will pay benefits not just now but also in the future. E-commerce can use barcode technology in processes such as receiving, putting away, restocking, picking, packing, shipping/manifesting, returns, cycle counts, value-adding functions, and tracking labour. Implementation of these technologies can play an effective role in reducing cycle time of supply chain management. Nin addition, labour and operational cost are also reduced by automation. Weakness of supply chain management has been highlighted during outbreak of Covid-19. Supply chain tracking, automated guided vehicles, autonomous mobile robots, and other technique should be used to maintain development of SCM during covid-19 outbreak.

Apart from this warehouse has been recommended Automation (AI, robots) for managing warehouse, inventory etc along with Electric vehicle for import and export. According to a poll conducted in October 2020 by 2020, seventy percent of e-commerce decision makers in North America and Europe anticipated that AI would assist their company with customization in 2021 (Chevalier, 2021). In addition, 54% of the executives questioned expressed anticipation that AI will be able to assist them with their site search. Only four percent of respondents were not convinced that AI will be beneficial to their firm.

Figure 2.6: Implementing advance automation and digital technologies in supply chain management proces2021

(Source: Chevalier, 2021)

2.7 Theoretical Underpinning

The models are meant to serve as representations of the two principles that Fred Davis first developed, namely the perceived utility and the perceived ease of use (Oyman et al. 2022). The degree to which users anticipate that the technology will simplify their daily lives is a good predictor of how valuable they believe it will be. Productivity gains motivate a rise in the number of employees willing to embrace new technologies. The technology, both in look and in its function, ought to be plain and easy to understand.

2.7.1 Technology acceptance model

Implementation of technology acceptance model ca increase growth and development of supply chain management during outbreak of Covid-19. There is various aspect in this technology acceptance model such as maintaining external variable, justifying attitude towards using, behavioural intention and others. Ease of access of supply chain management has been highlighted potentially through this technological advancement process. simplification of process is also maintained due to successful implementation of technology.

Figure 2.7.1: Technology acceptance model

(Source: Oyman et al. 2022)

Hence, implementing new technologies will ecommerce to minimise the supply chain management cost and enhance the service quality more (Fussell and Truong, 2022). Human error will minimise more and AI, automation technologies will make the import and export process easier.

2.7.2 SCOR model

The Supply Chain Operations Reference Model (SCOR) is a management tool that allows for better supply chain management decisions to be made and communicated inside enterprises, between businesses, with their suppliers, and with their customers (Rodríguez Mañay et al. 2022). By adhering to the procedures indicated in the model, it is possible to fulfil the requirements of a client. In addition to this, it provides a basis for improving processes all the way through the supply chain by better understanding those processes.

Figure 2.7.2: SCOR model

(Source: Jain et al. 2022)

Planning for demand and supply and managing both are part of this first stage. Elements include determining the most effective means of communication across the board and creating a balance between available resources and requirements (Jain et al. 2022). The plan also includes settling on the best business principles with which to improve and evaluate supply chain performance. Some of the areas that fall within the purview of these corporate guidelines include stock control, shipping procedures, asset management, and even rules and regulations. The plan also integrates the business' supply chain strategy with its financial projections. Securing necessary facilities and components is described here. It explains how to keep track of stock, coordinate with suppliers, negotiate contracts, and evaluate suppliers' output. Timelines for product receipt, verification, and transfer from suppliers are outlined.

At this stage, creation and manufacturing are the main concerns. Everything from manufacturing through final inspections to packing to product staging and finally, distribution is part of the "make" phase. In addition, this entails taking charge of the manufacturing system itself, along with all of the machinery, tools, and vehicles used. The delivery process consists of three stages: order processing, storage, and transportation. Additionally, this entails taking orders from consumers and billing them after they have received their products. At this stage, the company will be in charge of seeing to things like completed goods stock, assets, transportation, product life cycles, and export and import needs. Businesses should have a system in place for customers to return empty packing, damaged goods, or unused products. Organizing the return requires knowledge of company policies, the return's inventory and assets, shipping methods, and any applicable laws or regulations.

The SCOR method may assist a business in analysing its supply chain at varying degrees of process detail. It enables businesses to gauge the maturity of their supply chains (He and Zhu, 2022). The method teaches businesses to recognise the five stages of interaction that occur repeatedly among their supply chain, their organisation, and their customers. To effectively transport a product from one level to the next, each link in the supply chain must function properly. Companies who use the SCOR model to pinpoint supply chain issues have positive results. Capital investments can be fully leveraged using this approach, a supply chain roadmap can be developed. Hence, in order to overcome the supply chain vulnerability issues the firm must follow this step. In this way ecommerce companies can make their supply chain management process more effective.

2.8 Conceptual Framework

Figure 2.8: Conceptual Framework

(Source: Self-created)

Chapter three: Research methodology

3.1 Overview of the Chapter

Research methodology can help to make a decision to select appropriate tools and techniques for the research study. Even though it helps to conduct the study in an appropriate manner with efficiency. Research methodology gives an idea to the audience how the information has been collected in a proper manner, which could be an important part of the study and it is explained step-by-step. In this research, researchers have used various data collection methods to carry forward the research topic. Here, it is stated the proper direction of research has been successfully proposed using authentic research methodology. The Saunders research onion methodology chart clarifies the step-by-step process of data collection and the data analysis method researcher has implemented. This chart will clarify the way research is conducted for the audience ( Melnikovas, 2018 ).

Figure 3.1: Saunders research onion

(Source: melnikovas, 2018)

3.2 Research Philosophy

Research Philosophy is all about the assumption, gathering of the data, and data analysis in order to achieve the target. It helps them develop knowledge in a specific way. The research philosophy help to understand the assumption or specific knowledge we have developed in this research study. There are different philosophies are used according to the research we have done. According to Mohajan (2018), A appropriate philosophy leads to the succession of the research study. According to this research a Positivism philosophy has been chosen for this study. According to peffers, tuunanen, Rothenberger, and Chatterjee (2007) show the main concerns are sources of knowledge, nature, and growth. To add that, assumptions and beliefs are more important to the study's success. In simple term, research philosophy is the process of gathering, analyzing, and using the facts and information appropriately, which connect the process. Choosing the philosophy of positivism helps to gather the data of the UK E-commerce retailer ASOS. Even though, it helps to analyze the challenges to overcome and could stable the supply chain of the retailer. The philosophy of positivism is concentrated on taking into account the social reality that is intended to benefit and be viewed objectively. Apart from that, the idea that the social world should be produced in subjective ways is known as interpretivism. The people's view on social interaction is a key area of interpretivism. Other than this, the idea predicted on assumption is realism research philosophy.

Figure 3.2: Types of research philosophy

Justification

The positivism philosophy covers the real-world applicable aspects is the main reason behind choosing this philosophy. It also allows us to observe society and generate well-informed knowledge about the study. For measurable data, processes and statistical techniques are used to analyze the data of the research study. No one was forced to participate in this study, which attach to positivist research philosophy rules, and no finding taking at by the use of human bias. However, the finding of this study prompted the creation of research analyses that support the application of the scientific method that gradually overcomes all forms of human bias and improves the success of the research. The positivism philosophy provides high flexibility to the researcher and it makes a positive impact on the study, which is lead to more succession in investigating the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the supply chain vulnerability in the UK E-commerce sector of ASOS.

3.3 Research Approach

The method and process of conducting the study help the researcher to conduct the research step by step and effectively, which is followed by the research approach. According to Bairagi and Munot (2019), the appropriate Research approach boosts the effectiveness of the research study. In the research approach, there are two main research approaches inductive and deductive and we need to follow the approach we used during the research study. Here we have used a deductive approach for this study. A deductive approach is considerable for investigating the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the supply chain vulnerability in the UK E-commerce sector of ASOS.

Justification

From the various reason, The major reason to choose the deductive approach is, it helps the researcher to create a new theory or model from the research data. According to Newman and Gough, (2020), The development of new hypotheses helps the succession of the study. As mentioned before, it provides high flexibility and reliability to the researcher. Here, in this study by deductive approach researchers have investigated the Covis-19 pandemic supply chain vulnerability of the UK E-commerce sector.

Figure 3.3: Research approach

3.4 Research Design

Research design has four types of methods, which is descriptive, Explanatory, Experimental, and correlation. These four types of research design methods are generally used by any researcher to conduct effective research. Here, for this research study, researchers have used the correlation design method to investigate the covid-19 pandemic supply chain vulnerability in UK E-commerce retailers.

Justification

Correlation research design method followed the two types of data collection methods, which help the researcher conduct the study more effectively. Apart from that, the correlation design method gives a better decision-making process during the variable method or data. Due to the, better decision-making process this has been selected by the researcher to conduct the study of Investigating the Covid-19 supply chain vulnerability of the UK E-commerce retail sector.

3.5 Research Strategy.

The Research strategy gives a proper way to conduct the study and consider vital element and method for the research study. This research strategy factor to the present study is selected the quantitative approach, which helps to provide data and information in proper ways (Al-Zabaneh 2020). Even though the research strategy followed the process step-by-step the researcher may conduct the study in a proper manner. In The research strategy from three methods, one of them has been selected for this research study. Mono method, Mixed method, and multi-method are the types of research strategies ( Melnikovas, 2018). Here, for this research paper researcher has selected the mixed method.

Justification

In this research strategy, A survey process has been used to maintain effective quantitative data. The mixed research strategy ensured the growth and effectiveness of the research study. The research strategy maintained the effectiveness of data collection and data analysis in the research study. Apart from that, the implementation of the research strategy maintained the scheduling of the research. Due to this reason, a mixed-method research strategy has been used to make a more effective research study.

3.6 Data Collection

According to Zhou et al. (2018), to make more accurate or effective research, the data collection method is preferable. Due to this reason, the data collection method is preferable for the researcher. The data collection method has two types, which are known as primary data collection and secondary data collection. Here, the primary data collection method provides an accurate result or accurate data, which is fresh information and not easily available in the market. Apart from that, secondary data can be collected from articles, newspapers or journals, or any various public sources, which could be old data or general data. Here, in this study researcher has used both data collection processes to collect and analyze the Covid-19 pandemic supply chain management vulnerability in the UK E-commerce sector specifically for ASOS company. As in the primary data collection method, the researcher has used the survey and other resource data has been collected. Apart from that, as in the Secondary data collection method researcher have used various public sources to collect data. The implementation of both data collection methods gives the researcher more informative data and more accurate data, which could give more success in this research study.

Justification

According to (Mohajan 2018) the implementation of a secondary data collection method gives researchers more benefits as this method is less time and less money-consuming. However, the implementation of the primary data collection method gives the researcher accurate and numerical data, which gives efficiency in the research study. Due to this reason, researchers have implemented both data collection methods in the study.

3.7 Data Analysis

According to Ørngreen and Levinsen (2017), the implementation of effective data analysis is important for the researcher to collect information. Here, there are two types of data analysis techniques have been used by the researcher to conduct the study. The collection of primary data was analyzed by the quantitative data analysis method. The theoretically based analysis was done by the qualitative data analysis method. The use of both qualitative and quantitative analysis method gives more success in the research study and due to this reason, both analysis method has been used by the researcher to conduct the study.

Justification

The implementation of quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods keeps study research more effective. the quantitative method may reduce the cost and time of your research study, which could be more accurate and fresh data than others. Apart from that, qualitative analysis is used to analyze innovative ideas to improve supply chain vulnerability more effectively for the future scope.

3.8 Sampling

The researcher has used both primary and secondary data to conduct the study. Here, by The random sample technique, primary data has been collected and 80 participants have been selected from the UK E-commerce retailers to conduct the study (Etikan and Bala, 2017). However, from various public sources or from journals secondary data has been collected. The implementation of these methods is used to investigate the Covid-19 pandemic supply chain vulnerability more effectively.

3.9 Ethical Consideration

Here, to conduct the research study, the researcher needs to avoid any legal and ethical issues. However, this research study does not put any negative impact on society and also does not harm any individuals. In addition, the participants are not forced to participate in the study. However, the researcher collected the data after taking permission from the owner, which prevent any ethical and legal issues. Even, though the researcher has maintained the privacy of the participants effectively and the researcher has also destroyed the data after the successful implementation of data in the research study. The researcher can get effective outcomes by preventing these legal or ethical issues. The maintaining this legal issue researcher can get more success in the research.

3.10 Summary of the chapter

This part of the research study gives direction to the researcher. Also, by maintain the ethical issues give research more success in the study. The outcome of the research study depends on the method that has been used to collect and analyze the data. the effective outcomes depend on the research method that has been used to conduct the study. Apart from that, the implementation of the inductive approach help researcher to develop an advanced model for the future scope or future challenges. The implementation of the research method step-by-step decrease the time and complexity of the study and helps to increase the success ratio effectively. 

Chapter 4 Finding and analysis

Questionnaires

Q1 What is your age group?

Table 1What is your age group

Finding and analysis: The demographic analysis shows that 13% of the respondents are above the age group of 42 and they participated in the survey, the largest percentage of the respondents are belonging to the age group of 34-42 years that comprises 38%, quite similar to this number, 31% of the age group of the respondents are 26-34 years and remaining 19% of the respondents belongs to the age group of 18 to 26 years. The analysis displays that most of the respondents are middle age group people age between 16 to 42 years.

Figure 1What is your age group

Q2 What is your gender?

Table 2What is your gender

In this survey both male and female have participated, and the percentage of the male respondents is 62% and female respondents are 38%. There is a significant gap between male and female respondents’ numbers.

Figure 2What is your gender

Q3 What is your experience in your organization?

Table 3What is your experience in your organization

Analyzing the work experience is one of the vital aspects of this study, in this context, the work experience has been segregated into three different category including 0-2 years, 2-4 years and more than 4 years. The percentage of the respondents who have work experience of 0-2 years is 75%, the percentage of the respondents who have work experience of 2 to 4 years includes 19% and the percentage of the respondents who have work experience of above 4 years includes 6%. The analysis shows that most of the respondents are fresher or having less than 2 years of work experience on the other hand, only 6% have more than 4 years of experience. This status shows that there is high turnover in the organization.

Figure 3What is your experience in your organization

Q4, do you agree that supply chain management is the key element for E-commerce organization?

Table 4Do you agree that supply chain management is the key element for E-commerce organization

Supply chain is the integral and critical part of the e-Commerce organization. In this regard, the asked to the respondents if they considered supply chain management is the vital element for E-Commerce organization. The largest number of respondents that comprises 44% considers supply chain management as most important element of the organization as they are strongly agree to the fact. In the same context, 35% of the respondents are agreeing which means they also think that the role of supply chain is critically important in E-Commerce organization. In this regard, 13% of the respondents remain neutral and they have no opinion regarding the importance of supply chain within an E-Commerce organization. However , there are few respondents who do not think that the supply chain is the vital part of the E-Commerce organization, in this context, 3% of the respondents disagree and 6% are strongly disagree to the fact as they don’t think supply chain is important element for E-Commerce organization.

Figure 4Do you agree that supply chain management is the key element for E-commerce organization

Q5 Does organization ASOS has reduced its expenditure in technology and innovation is supply chain management during Covid-19?

Table 5Does organization ASOS has reduced its expenditure in technology and innovation is supply chain management during Covid-19

This part of analysis is regarding does organization ASOS has reduced its expenditure in technology and innovation is supply chain management at the time of Covid-19. Most of the participants said yes that comprises 88%, as they think that ASOS has reduced its expenditure in innovation in supply chain at the time of Covid-19. In this context, 4 % of the respondents said ASOS has no role in reducing the expenditure in technology and innovation in supply chain management during the time of Covid-19. And 9% of the respondents have no ideas or they cannot say any things regarding ASOS. The analysis shows that a large section of respondents overwhelmingly in favor of ASOS indicates the importance of ASOS in supply chain management for reducing the cost in innovation and technology.

Figure 5Does organization ASOS has reduced its expenditure in technology and innovation is supply chain management during Covid-19

Q6, do you agree that higher supply chain visibility, resilience and efficiency are the top priorities for ASOS?

Table 6Do you agree that higher supply chain visibility, resilience and efficiency are the top priorities for ASOS

There is importance of supply chain visibility in supply chain facility to enhance visibility, efficiency and resilience that enhance the priorities for ASOS. In this context, a close ended question asked to the respondents in form of yes, no or may be. Most of the respondents answer in ‘Yes’ as they think that higher supply chain visibility, resilience and efficiency are among topmost priorities for ASOS. The analysis also shows that only few as 6% of the respondents considers there is no importance of higher supply chain visibility , efficiency, and resilience for ASOS and 13% of the respondent’s respondent as ‘May Be’ as they are no sure about the visibility, resilience, and efficiency as top priorities for ASOS. The overall analysis shows that most of the respondents overwhelmingly support the concept of visibility of supply chain, resilience, and efficiency. The analysis also shows that there is no doubt that higher supply chain visibility; efficiency and resilience are the top priorities for ASOS.

Figure 6Do you agree that higher supply chain visibility, resilience and efficiency are the top priorities for ASOS

Q7 How Covid-19 pandemic has impacted organization export product order demand?

Table 7How Covid-19 pandemic has impacted organization export product order demand

The next analysis is about the covid-19 pandemic which has impacted the organization export product order demand. The impact of covid-19 has several adverse impacts, 55 out of 80 respondents mentioned that export product order is cancelled , 25% of the respondents mentioned that export product order is scaled down during the time of covid-19 and remaining 6% of the respondents mentioned that export product order function as per usual. The overall analysis shows that most of the respondents mentioned that during the pandemic the business suffered including cancelling of export, minimizing the product order export and export product order function as per usual.

Figure 7How Covid-19 pandemic has impacted organization export product order demand

Q8 How Covid-19 does have impacted your product demand in UK market?

Table 8How Covid-19 does have impacted your product demand in UK market

The next analysis is about the impact of covid-19 on product demand in UK market, 56% of the respondents said that demand of products has been cancelled in UK market during the covid-19, 31 percent of the respondents said that 31% of the respondents mentioned that some product demands are cancelled and remaining 13% of the respondents mentioned that not product demand are cancelled. The overall respondent mentioned that covid-19 has adverse impact in UK market by reducing or cancellation of the products. there is no doubt that covid-19 has reduce the demand in market. 

Figure 8How Covid-19 does have impacted your product demand in UK market

Q9, do you think that shift consumer buying behavior during Covid-19 is the main caused of supply chain vulnerability?

Table 9Do you think that shift consumer buying behaviour during Covid-19 is the main caused of supply chain vulnerability

The next analysis is about if there is any shift in consumer behaviour after covid-19 . The analysis illustrated that 75% of the respondents completely agree and they think that consumer behaviour buying behaviour during covid-19 is the main cause of supply chain vulnerability. The analysis also shows that 13% of the respondents opted ‘No’ as they do not think that consumer buying behaviour has been shifted during covid-19 that caused vulnerability in supply chain. And 13 % of the respondents are not sure regarding this. The overall analysis shows that there is vulnerability in the supply chain due to shift consumer behaviour.

Figure 9Do you think that shift consumer buying behaviour during Covid-19 is the main caused of supply chain vulnerability

Q10 What strategy firm needs to implement to improve E-commerce supply chain management process?

Thematic analysis

Supply chain disruptions have played a significant role in the current e-commerce retailer challenges, highlighting the importance of pragmatically integrating digitization into supply chain functions to achieve outputs. According to the research objectives the critical themes related to the research have been presented below:

Table 2: Coding of Themes

Analysis

Theme 1: Supply Chain Vulnerability on E-Commerce Stores

E-commerce has suddenly moved toward including sustainability in the supply chain to meet the needs of customers. A flexible supply chain is needed to reduce costs, improve cash flow, and speed up inventory turnover while also increasing the number of times inventory is sold. Many people will likely believe that they should continue to manage their global supply networks in the same way they have in the past, focusing on finding the supply at the lowest possible cost and maintaining the smallest possible inventory levels once the pandemic is over and normal economic activity resumes around the world. When the global economy was more stable, this strategy worked; However, the risk is now even greater. Despite the fact that Covid-19 has been so destructive, it has had a strange and unusual effect. For a significant amount of time, supply chain management has focused primarily on maintaining low-cost supplies and a small inventory. One can change the supply chain system's vulnerable state into a resilient one by investing in it. The most successful distributors are planning to invest more in robust supply networks and increasingly account for the cost of network risk. Recovery's effectiveness continues to rise. Customers will trust you more if you deliver goods and materials on time and in accordance with orders (E-Fatima et al. 2022). The objective ought to be to get the product ready so that it can either be stored or cross-documented so that it can be used to finish orders. It has been suggested that the difficulties that are occurring and the costs that are incurred when revising receipts be examined. It has been suggested that e-commerce be used to locate suppliers who are primarily to blame for delays and overruns in costs. Electronic data interchange, or EDI, can be used to set up more robust computer systems between a company and its suppliers. The nation's response has also been erratic, with travel restrictions, businesses and borders being closed, and a complete lockdown in some areas. Consequently, this outbreak has revealed the precarious state of the supply chain to us directly. The epidemic has occurred multiple times. It is becoming increasingly difficult to locate alternative suppliers to maintain the company's operations. However, the implementation of this setup can improve the chain at advance level.

Theme 2: Influence of the pandemic on supply chain operations

Businesses have known for a long time that disaster recovery and emergency preparation are essential, particularly in industries like information technology. Supply networks have become more vulnerable to risk as a result of a trend toward shrinking in size over the past few years. The estimated revenue of ASOS in 2022 is 3.9 billion GBP. there is much of the time next to no stock in the framework to support any disturbances in supply, any interruptions could rapidly affect the inventory organization. Particularly, there is a tendency for the system to contain very little inventory. In fact, rather than supply chains, the term "supply networks" might be more appropriate. Despite referring to the same thing, the terms "supply chains" and "supply networks" are used interchangeably throughout this pamphlet. These disturbances could be brought on by a number of things, including: Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, accidents caused by direct action, and operational issues are all examples of interruptions that could have far-reaching effects due to the intricate connections between numerous supply networks. The cutting edge store network is extremely convoluted, with countless simultaneous developments of both data and actual products. This is done to ensure that items are delivered in the right quantities, to the right place, and in the most effective manner possible.

Theme 3: Supply Chain Digitisation to Overcome the Pandemic

This study can conclude that inventory management, transportation, the economic climate, and business-related issues all worsened during the Covid-19 outbreak. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a problem for a number of organizations due to a lack of staff and resources. Future explained that the country's political instability and ongoing war are some of the most significant obstacles, including the Covid-19 pandemic. Supply chain and transportation sectors need to embrace technology and innovative inventory measurement in order to properly reduce the problem and address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organizational operations. According to recent findings, supply chain management faces significant challenges during the initial stages of the global Covid-19 outbreak in order to meet the unexpected demand for goods and services. During this pandemic, E-commerce Company's manufacturing and distribution processes face a number of challenges as well. Global supply chain disruption has been observed as a result of this issue, as this study also concludes. according to recent research, various courts have imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This can halt the flow of raw materials and raw materials, resulting in a decrease in manufacturing performance and a negative impact on employee performance. Additionally, it has exacerbated and accelerated the supply chain management issues that were already present.

Chapter 5 Discussion and Finding

This research study shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has change the behaviour of supply chain management. Due to this, the inventory or stock management has been disturb, which leads the more storage cost and labor cost. Apart from that, because of Covid-19 pandemic the labor force has been affected, which affect the service and affect the market value. According to Petkovi? et al. (2020), stated that Covid-19 has developed a most serve influence on the supply chain management in E-commerce in recent history and caused biggest disruption of humankind. Also, due to Covid-19 retailer store like ASOS even struggling to maiantain and monitoring the supply chain. Tighe, (2021), identified that firms have facing a problem based upon their locations and geographical condition and varying levels of resilience and preparedness of supply chain. However, before the covid-19 pandemic the problem in UK E-commerce sector was lack of human resources or lack of capacity, which can impact anonymously. The survey from the primary data analysis has indicated 80% of the total participants have stated that supply chain efficiency, visibility and reliance are the topmost priorities for the organization. The finding also indicated that 44% of the total participants strongly agreed and 35% of the participants agreed with the fact that supply chain management is the key element for E-commerce organization. Coppola, (2022), stated that an effective and efficient supply chain management strategy has helped to the firm especially to E-commerce organization to accomplish better satisfaction and meet the customer needs and demand in proper ways. Here, ASOS main focus is to enhance the low cost inventory and productivity to make better supply chain management. This type of retailers in UK already focusing on the system, which consolidate independents hubs of their warehouse. By Implementation of this warehouse system ASOS can improve their supply chain cycle. A major cause for alarm is the recent trends of decelerating growth and falling consumption. Apart from this, by this research study and by the analysis of ASOS retail, it has been seen that ASOS has a excellent relationship with their supplier and Due to that they has excellent product quality. To consider this point it has been identified that ASOS retailer manufacturing cost is too low and main focus is to provide B2C service. Retail businesses like ASOS, according to the study, need to improve their resilience by continuing to take innovative measures like placing an emphasis on the markets for inventory management and ensuring that promotional methods correspond to the movement of projected inventory. This part of discussion cover the first part of research, which includes the influence of supply chain management during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The data from the quantitative study has indicated that 88% of the total participants replied yes about the fact that ASOS has reduced its expenditure in technology and innovation is supply chain management during Covid-19. According to Sabanoglu, (2022), obtained that during Covid-19 organizations have focused on the cost optimization process in supply chain management and this impacted the performance in negatively ways. To added that, the unpredictable demand of consumer before and after covid-19 has created the problem in supply chain management. This leads the overall disturbance in supply chain management. Moreover, Fonseca and Azevedo, (2020), found that Covid-19 has negatively influence the efficiency performance of the supply chain management which creates negative impact on the firm profitability performance. The data obtained from the observation has showed that 69% of the total participants have indicated that due to Covid-19 pandemic organization export product order demand has cancelled whereas 25% of the participants have stated that export order is scaled down significantly. There are few studies Milovanovi? et al. (2021), mainly explain the problem to supply chain management process during Covid-19 pandemic are the constraint in supply chain capacity, reducing product delays and reduce customer satisfaction.

The finding from the data obtained from the survey has indicated that 75% of the total participants replied yes and remaining 13% and 13% has stated that no and maybe about that shift consumer buying behavior during Covid-19 is the main caused of supply chain vulnerability. Paul et al. (2021), the influence of Covid-19 has impacted transportation facilities and the supply chain of e-commerce. Travel restrictions, the shutting down of borders and businesses, and in certain areas, a total lockdown of the area destroyed contact between suppliers and business. The influence of Covid-19 has had a very odd and unusual effect, despite the fact that it has been so destructive. The presumptions on the management of supply chains have been revised (Ivanov et al. 2022). In order to lessen their reliance on foreign-made products and supplies, domestic companies now need to establish their very own local sourcing units and formulate alternative business strategies(Khan et al. 2022). This part of research discussion cover the second part of research question and this paragraph gives a detailed discussion provides the outcome.

Moreover, Hanaysha and Alzoubi, (2022), stated that in context to the present technology innovation big data analytical solution seems one of the vital strategies that the organization especially E-commerce needs to implement for purpose of improving performance. According to Ishfaq et al. (2022), recommended that Apart from this warehouse has been recommended Automation (AI, robots) for managing warehouse, inventory etc along with Electric vehicle for import and export. As stated by Oyman et al. (2022), mentioned that implementation of the AI and IoT technology has helped to the firm to improve fraud prevention, improve decision making process and enhance order management system and delivery system. Even though, as in advancement of technologies ASOS retailer can implement the Stock management software system, Intelligent management practice and implementing the new age technology can improve much better way and can predict the future threat, which can be overcome by the advance system. Chevalier, (2021), explained that training and development also seems one of the vital components in improvement of supply chain management and improves skills and knowledge of worker in proper ways. this research study has developed the conceptual Framework, which elaborate the use of advance techniques to implementation information technologies on supply chain management. Before the Covid-19 pandemic Retailer or businesses has not focused on the advancement of supply chain but this study shown the various factor, which need to be focus and need to improve. This study focus not only on post Covid-19 supply chain, but it is also focused on the various issues or for the future challenges like natural disaster disturbance or any political disturbance or etc. the major challenges has been focused by the researcher in this research and analyse the effective solution to overcome the future challenges. this part of research study fulfil the third part of research question and has been discuss in detailed to understand.

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