Survey: Supply chain execs seek change post-COVID-19

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Most supply chain organizations are struggling with the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

More than 80% of 1,000 global supply chain executives surveyed by Capgemini Research Institute reported their supply chains being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with a vast majority struggling across aspects of their operation including shortages of critical parts/materials (74%), delayed shipments and longer lead times (74%), difficulties in adjusting production capacity in response to fluctuating demand (69%), and difficulties planning amid volatile levels of customer demand (68%). 

The survey, “Fast forward: Rethinking supply chain resilience for a post-COVID-19 world,” also reveals that close to eight in 10 (77%) respondents recognize the need for change and are accelerating investments in supply chain sustainability over the next three years. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents state their supply chain strategy will need to change significantly in order to adapt to the new normal. Only 14% expect a return to business-as-usual.

Eighty-four percent of respondents cite improving crisis-preparedness as a post-COVID priority, while 65% are actively investing in localizing or regionalizing their supplier and manufacturing base to reduce risk and be closer to their customers. About two-thirds (65%) are actively investing in localizing or regionalizing their supplier and manufacturing base in order to reduce risk and to be closer to their customers. 

Close to six in 10 (57%) respondents plan to increase their investment in improving supply chain resilience. More than three-quarters (77%) say they are accelerating their investments in supply chain sustainability over the next three years, with logistics and manufacturing the key focus areas. 

Almost half (47%) of respondents are accelerating their investments in automation and 39% in robotics, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) also among the top focus areas. However, Capgemini found that only a small proportion of respondents have the necessary levels of supply chain agility (21%), optimization of end-to-end costs (20%), and visibility (9%). 

Other interesting findings include:
•    68% of respondents said the current crisis has forced them to adapt their business models;
•    62% of respondents cite increasing supply chain resilience post-COVID-19 as a priority; 
•    55% of respondents have taken between three to six months to recover from supply chain disruptions during 2020, while another 13% expect to take six to twelve months to do so; 
•    68% of consumer products and retail consumers prefer locally produced items in the wake of this crisis, and sustainability is influencing the purchase preferences of 79% of customers.

Capgemini surveyed 1,000 supply chain executives at director level or above from an organization reporting revenues of more than $1 billion between August and September of 2020. Organizations were from the U.S., France, Germany, U.K., India, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and China and were across the consumer products, retail, discrete manufacturing and life sciences manufacturing industries.