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Navigating COVID-19: unraveling supply chain disruptions through best-worst method and fuzzy TOPSIS

Irfan Ali (Department of Statistics and Operations Research, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India)
Vincent Charles (School of Management, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK)
Umar Muhammad Modibbo (Department of Operations Research, Modibbo Adama University, Yola, Nigeria)
Tatiana Gherman (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK)
Srikant Gupta (Department of Operations and Decision Sciences, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Jaipur, India)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 19 July 2023

Issue publication date: 21 May 2024




The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions to global supply chains (SCs), affecting the production, distribution, and transportation of goods and services. To mitigate these disruptions, it is essential to identify the barriers that have impeded the seamless operation of SCs. This study identifies these barriers and assesses their impact on supply chain network (SCN).


To determine the relative importance of different barriers and rank the affected industries, a hybrid approach was employed, combining the best-worst method (BWM) and the technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS). To accommodate the inherent uncertainties associated with the pandemic, a triangular fuzzy TOPSIS was used to represent the linguistic variable ratings provided by decision-makers.


The study found that the airlines and hospitality industry was the most affected by the barriers, accounting for 46% of the total, followed by the healthcare industry (23%), the manufacturing industry (19%), and finally the consumer and retail industry (17%).

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to the four critical industries and nine identified barriers. Other industries and barriers may have different weights and rankings. Nevertheless, the findings offer valuable insights for decision-makers in SC management, aiding them in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on their operations and enhancing their resilience against future disruptions.


This study enhances understanding of COVID-19’s impact on SCN and provides a framework for assessing disruptions using multi-criteria decision-making processes. The hybrid approach of BWM and TOPSIS in a fuzzy environment is unique and offers potential applicability in various evaluation contexts.



The authors would like to thank the Editor-in-Chief, the Associate Editor, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback on the previous version of this manuscript.


Ali, I., Charles, V., Modibbo, U.M., Gherman, T. and Gupta, S. (2024), "Navigating COVID-19: unraveling supply chain disruptions through best-worst method and fuzzy TOPSIS", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 1548-1589.



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