An integrated sustainable medical supply chain network during COVID-19

Eng Appl Artif Intell. 2021 Apr;100:104188. doi: 10.1016/j.engappai.2021.104188. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Nowadays, in the pharmaceutical industry, a growing concern with sustainability has become a strict consideration during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lack of good mathematical models in the field. In this research, a production-distribution-inventory-allocation-location problem in the sustainable medical supply chain network is designed to fill this gap. Also, the distribution of medicines related to COVID-19 patients and the periods of production and delivery of medicine according to the perishability of some medicines are considered. In the model, a multi-objective, multi-level, multi-product, and multi-period problem for a sustainable medical supply chain network is designed. Three hybrid meta-heuristic algorithms, namely, ant colony optimization, fish swarm algorithm, and firefly algorithm are suggested, hybridized with variable neighborhood search to solve the sustainable medical supply chain network model. Response surface method is used to tune the parameters since meta-heuristic algorithms are sensitive to input parameters. Six assessment metrics were used to assess the quality of the obtained Pareto frontier by the meta-heuristic algorithms on the considered problems. A real case study is used and empirical results indicate the superiority of the hybrid fish swarm algorithm with variable neighborhood search.

Keywords: COVID-19; Hybrid meta-heuristic; Network design; Simulation–optimization model; Sustainability.