New research from Orange Business Services found that the supply chains in 40% of multinational corporations surveyed were overwhelmed by the pandemic. In the survey of 320 enterprises, roughly 83% said they are now more aware of supply chain risks, such as raw material shortages or transport blockages, than they were 12 months ago.
While the report didn't mention last year's U.S./China tariff wars, vendors, such as Cisco, felt an impact on their supply chains even before the Covid-19 pandemic took off in March.
In addition to accelerating their digital transformations, the pandemic has caused enterprises to re-think their supply chain strategies. According to Orange's survey, nearly eight in 10 said they have accelerated their digital supply chain strategies while close to 50% said they are now looking at overhauling their risk procurement and risk management strategies over the next two years.
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While 42% of the respondents are currently tapping into automation to manage risks, Orange Business Services said that number would double over the next two years. Two out of five respondents to the survey said their supply chains couldn't cope with issues at the height of the pandemic.
Going forward, technological enablers, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cloud, 5G and big data analytics will play larger roles in strengthening supply chains through better planning and execution.
Orange Business Services said collecting and sharing real-time data would improve efficiencies and visibility across the entire supply chain, while also supporting relationships between suppliers and manufacturers for better decision making.
Going forward, 85% of respondents said their business was investing to become more sustainable. Those investments include new data collection technologies to give better insight into sustainability metrics and managing and controlling factors such as energy usage.
"The global health emergency has made organizations accept the fragility of their ecosystems," said Orange Business Services' Kristof Symons, executive vice president, international, in a statement. "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 re-imagine their supply-chain securely.
“Digitalization and data collection will also be primary enablers to become more sustainable and save costs as well as the planet."
The report surveyed 320 senior executives from multinationals across 18 countries between August and October of last year.