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Customer Prioritization for Medical Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic

Iram Mushtaq1, Muhammad Umer1, Muhammad Imran2, Inzamam Mashood Nasir3, Ghulam Muhammad4,*, Mohammad Shorfuzzaman5

1 Department of Management Sciences, Sir Syed CASE Institute of Technology, 45230, Islamabad, Pakistan
2 Department of Operation & Supply Chain Management, NUST Business School, National University of Sciences & Technology, 45200, Islamabad, Pakistan
3 Department of Computer Science, HITEC University Taxila, Taxila, Pakistan
4 Department of Computer Engineering, College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of Computer Science, College of Computers and Information Technology, Taif University, Taif, 21944, Saudi Arabia

* Corresponding Author: Ghulam Muhammad. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Recent Advances in Deep Learning for Medical Image Analysis)

Computers, Materials & Continua 2022, 70(1), 59-72.


During COVID-19, the escalated demand for various pharmaceutical products with the existing production capacity of pharmaceutical companies has stirred the need to prioritize its customers in order to fulfill their demand. This study considers a two-echelon pharmaceutical supply chain considering various pharma-distributors as its suppliers and hospitals, pharmacies, and retail stores as its customers. Previous studies have generally considered a balanced situation in terms of supply and demand whereas this study considers a special situation of COVID-19 pandemic where demand exceeds supply Various criteria have been identified from the literature that influences the selection of customers. A questionnaire has been developed to collect primary data from pharmaceutical suppliers pertaining to customer-selection criteria. These criteria have been prioritized with respect to eigenvalues obtained from Principal Component Analysis and also validated with the experts’ domain-related knowledge using Analytical Hierarchy Process. Profit potential appeared to be the most important criteria of customer selection followed by trust and service convenience brand loyalty, commitment, brand awareness, brand image, sustainable behavior, and risk. Subsequently, Multi Criteria Decision Analysis has been performed to prioritize the customer-selection criteria and customers with respect to selection criteria. Three experts with seven and three and ten years of experience have participated in the study. Findings of the study suggest large hospitals, large pharmacies, and small retail stores are the highly preferred customers. Moreover, findings of prioritization of customer-selection criteria from both Principal Component Analysis and Analytical Hierarchy Process are consistent. Furthermore, this study considers the experience of three experts to calculate an aggregate score of priorities to reach an effective decision. Unlike traditional supply chain problems of supplier selection, this study considers a selection of customers and is useful for procurement and supply chain managers to prioritize customers while considering multiple selection criteria.


Cite This Article

I. Mushtaq, M. Umer, M. Imran, I. Mashood Nasir, G. Muhammad et al., "Customer prioritization for medical supply chain during covid-19 pandemic," Computers, Materials & Continua, vol. 70, no.1, pp. 59–72, 2022.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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