The PPE industry in Italy during COVID-19: supply chain disruption and the adoption of digital and social media in B2B firms

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry managed supply chain and business relationships disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the adoption of digital and social media during the period of crisis management. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology used is qualitative based on 14 interviews with 11 PPE firms operating in Italy, the first Western country that implemented a national lockdown during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Findings – Findings suggest that although most PPE companies in Italy have been slow in implementing digital transformation, digital technologies and communication enhanced existing assets and capabilities creating new customer value during the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has increased the relevance of social media as an effective tool in the business-to-business (B2B) context to provide updated information and training, as well as to reinforce and personalize business relationships, weakened by the lack of physical contacts during the lockdown. Moreover, highly interdependent buyer–supplier relations can increase supply chain resilience to disruptions in mutually dependent relationships/partnerships. Research limitations/implications – By analyzing the main issues encountered during the pandemic and the digital strategies adopted by PPE companies, this study seeks to extend B2B literature on supply chain disruption management and digitalization. The limitations refer to the study’s generalizability as a limited number of firms are analyzed. Practical implications – Implications for B2B companies and policymakers are provided with the extent of managing supply chain disruptions during emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when collaboration between different actors involved becomes essential. Originality/value – No previous studies have analyzed how PPE firms used digital and social media in managing disruption in supply chain and business relationships. Therefore, the present study contributes to extend the B2B literature by analyzing the related effects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • B2B
  • COVID-19
  • PPE
  • disruption
  • social media
  • supply chain


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