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Supply chains show resilience in new COVID-19 impact study 

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A new COVID-19 supply chain impact study revealed that majority of supply chain organisations remain optimistic about recovery, even as many also report that they had experienced a significant reduction in operations during the pandemic.  

Consulting firm Infosys has released a new survey on supply chains where participants were asked to assess how the pandemic has or continues to impact their companies.  

Here’s what they had to say.  

Impact 

The study surveyed 78 supply chain professionals from North America, Europe, India and Asia/Pacific. It found that 85% of supply chains across the globe had experienced a reduction in operations during the pandemic.  

When asked to rate the extent of the pandemic’s impact on their supply chain operations, starting from 0% (no reduction in operations) to 100% (full shutdown), more than half of the participants (57%) said they had experienced an at least 25% reduction. This includes a quarter of respondents who reported more than 50% reduction in operations, and 6% who had completely shut down.  

Source: Infosys Consulting 

Conversely, many companies are optimistic about recovering. The study showed that 60% believe they can recover in less than 6 months, while 10% said they can recover within a year time. Meanwhile, 8% of respondents believed their supply chains may never be able to recover to as much as before the pandemic.  

Despite the upbeat take of most firms, however, it is still unclear how long this recovery would take.  

Crisis Readiness and Preparedness 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly an unanticipated crisis for most supply chains, 77% of Infosys’ respondents said that their firms were already somewhat prepared for any major disruptions before the pandemic.  

Unfortunately, this high rate may be largely attributed to overconfidence with firms’ supply chain preparedness. When asked if they were at least somewhat prepared during the coronavirus crisis, the percentage dropped to only 39% 

Source: Infosys Consulting 

The results reveal that traditional preparedness focused on single events, such as hurricanes, floods, port closure, etc., is no longer sufficient. Due to recent events, it is now more important than ever to use tools and technology that will simulate unexpected disruptions to put better fortified models in the future.     

It also won’t hurt to assess the readiness of other supply chain partners. This pandemic has shown companies all over the world how important it is to create better contingency plans in the event of future disruptions where suppliers may shut down. 

Areas most impacted 

Demand has seen both wild drops and increases during the pandemic. The study notes that although this might be a once in a lifetime event, respondents felt that there is definitely more room for improvement for their forecasting tools.   

According to the survey, the most impacted area of the supply chain has been sourcing and procurementfollowed by warehouse and distribution at 48%, and supplier networks at 43%. 

When asked on the areas that needed strengthening, the survey takers noted that demand forecasting (43%), readiness and continuity planning (39%), and inventory management (39%), should be at the top of the list.  

Over the last few years, the supply chain sector has seen increasing regularity of disruptions, both natural and man-made. Businesses are now forced to look at supply chain preparedness in a new light and build better models, and consider many things, such as possibly looking into alternative sourcing options, or assume that demand will remain unimpeded.  

Source: Infosys Consulting 

 

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