How do apparel SMEs from New Zealand achieve resilience during the COVID global supply chain disruption?
COVID-19 has created severe and unprecedented disruptions that have obstructed the functionality of global supply chains. As supply chain members become overwhelmed by the financial, logistical, and social challenges, the security of the chain is placed in jeopardy. Therefore, organisations around the globe are investigating methods for developing resilience against these disruptions. However, the majority of extant literature neglects how SMEs with limited resources or capabilities can and have developed resilience. Thus, the purpose of this study is to identify and understand factors that drive SMEs to achieve resilience in their international supply chains. This study utilises a multiple case studies approach consisting of 5 firms in the apparel industry and a hermeneutical method of analysis to derive insights. The findings show two different methods by which firms can develop resilience, buffering, bridging, or a combination of both. This study has found multiple suppliers unpinned by information sharing and collaboration is the most significant strategy that firms have employed to develop resilience. This study contributes to the existing literature by providing structure to resilience capabilities, as collaboration has been shown to be an antecedent to visibility, which in turn, facilitates flexibility and velocity. Additionally, through a multi theory perspective, this study provides insights into how social exchange, resource dependence, and transaction cost factors influence the implementation of resilience strategies.