40% of companies say their supply chains failed them at the height of the pandemic

Major re-evaluation of supply chain risk occurring due to fallout from COVID-19

New research from Orange Business Services found that 40% of the 320 enterprises they questioned were unable to cope with the crisis of the pandemic.

Eighty-three percent of respondents, however, said they are far more aware of supply chain risks, such as raw material shortages, manufacturing shutdowns, and transport blockages, than they were a year ago.

This has resulted in businesses reinforcing their supply chains, with almost 80% of companies saying they have accelerated their digital supply chain strategies.

On top of this, almost 50% of the companies surveyed are looking to overhaul procurement and risk management strategies within the next two years, and 42% of enterprises are now using automation to manage risks, with this looking to double over the next two years.

The report authors suggest that there are many opportunities to future-proof the supply chain, but the success of this will be dependent on real-time data insights, agility and digitalisation. Orange expects technological enablers, including artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, 5G and big data analytics, to play important roles in strengthening supply chains through enhanced planning and execution. Collecting and sharing real-time data will improve efficiencies and visibility across the entire supply chain, while supporting relationships between suppliers and manufacturers for smart decision making.

Fifty-nine percent of the survey respondents said that not running an ethical and sustainable business was a significant business risk, and 85% of respondents said their business is investing to become more sustainable. This includes new data collection technologies to give better insight into sustainability metrics and managing and controlling factors such as energy usage.

“The pandemic will stop, somehow. But climate change, sustainability – those trends and risks are here for the next few decades,” explains Erwin Verstraelen, CDO and CIO at the Port of Antwerp.

“The global health emergency has made organizations accept the fragility of their ecosystems. Critical gaps must be plugged to ensure end-to-end visibility on a global scale and minimize the risk to the business. Digital technologies and capabilities are the key in allowing enterprises and their partners to reimagine their supply chain securely,” said Kristof Symons, executive vice president, International, Orange Business Services. “Digitalization and data collection will also be primary enablers to become more sustainable and save costs as well as the planet,” added Symons.

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