Planning for avian flu disruptions – A DMAIC case study


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version


Document Type



Supply Chain Disruption. Avian Flu. Pandemic Logistics.


The author aims to assess the spread of avian flu, its impact on businesses operating in the USA and overseas, and the measures required for corporate preparedness. Six Sigma DMAIC process is used to analyze avian flu's impact and how an epidemic could affect large US business operations worldwide. Wal-Mart and Dell Computers were chosen as one specializes in retail and the other manufacturing. The study identifies avian flu pandemic risks including failure modes on Wal-Mart and Dell Computers global operations. It reveals the factors that reinforce avian-flu pandemic's negative impact on company global supply chains. It also uncovers factors that balance avian-flu pandemic's impact on their global supply chains. Avian flu and its irregularity affect the research outcomes because its spread could fluctuate based on so many factors that could come into play. Further, the potential cost to manufacturers and other supply chain partners is relatively unknown. As a relatively new phenomenon, quantitative data were not available to determine immediate costs. SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS: In this decade, the avian influenza H5N1 virus has killed millions of poultry in Asia, Europe and Africa. This flu strain can infect and kill humans who come into contact with this virus. An avian influenza H5N1 outbreak could lead to a devastating effect on global food supply, business services and business operations. The study provides guidance on what global business operation managers can do to prepare for such events, as well as how avian flu progression to a pandemic can disrupt such operations. This study raises awareness about avian flu's impact on businesses and humans and also highlights the need to create contingency plans for corporate preparedness to avoid incurring losses.





Published in

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

Citation/Other Information

25(3), 197-215.