It is our pleasure to announce a new Special Issue, "Impacts of COVID-19 on the Sustainability of Engineering Industries and National Economies", in the journal Sustainability.
COVID-19 has significantly affected the global economy, generating radical changes in the industrial configuration and the way different national economies participate in the global value chains. According to the World Economic Forum (2020), COVID-19's effect on the global economy has been both more rapid and more severe than other past health and economic crises.
United Nations Conference Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (2020) reports that COVID-19 has pushed a step back for the global economy as realizing the vulnerabilities of global supply chains, firms have started to pursue localization and regionalization strategies to minimize the disruptions to their production processes and at the same time countries have started to strengthen their protectionism policies to safeguard their local industries.
As a result, many engineering-led industries have been set back in their natural progression of growth; for instance, the construction industry has struggled with labour supply as well as a shortage of capital goods. In contrast, COVID-19-led disruptions have opened doors for many other industries; for instance, the fields of information and communication technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence have grown tremendously since remote working became the new norm in all walks of life, and work automation has seen significant development due to the shortage of workers. While these new technological solutions formed the basis of industry 4.0 even before COVID-19 shocked the world, their adoption was somewhat slow and limited, a process which COVID-19 has since expedited.
In this context, this Special Issue aims to understand how COVID-19 has reshaped different engineering industries, national economies, industrial configuration, and global value chains, how different industries have evolved to cope with this unprecedented pandemic, and how governments have reacted in terms of policy formulations to help economic actors adapt.
Original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following questions. These are provided to guide scholarly submissions.
- What are the recent advancements in predicting the spread of COVID-19 and its impact in a given industrial population?
- How does the impact of COVID-19 differ across industries and how have industry 4.0 technologies helped firms to cope with COVID-19-related disruptions?
- How has COVID-19 fostered a reorganisation of global value chains (GVCs) involving significant relocation (and reshoring) of productive activities?
- From a lead firm perspective, who is coordinating production activities in a range of countries to benefit from their local advantages, and how is industry 4.0, especially regarding automation, unlocking new labour-saving technologies, which could potentially reduce reliance on low-skill labour in manufacturing and tiherefore reduce the benefits of offshoring?
- Automation localisation and regionalisation of production have become more important processes for firms to minimise the impact of any future disruptions to their supply chains. How are government policies helping firms to re-establish their global supply chains so they can resume benefiting from local resources spread across the globe?
Professor Surender Munjal
PhD, M Phil, M Com, ACA, ACMA, DIM, Fellow of the HEA
Professor of International Business and Management
Treasurer and Founding Secretary, Indian Academy of Management
Convener, Doctoral Colloquium AIB UK&I
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