One in five firms see demand rise due to Covid-19

One in five firms saw increased demand for their products and services as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to a report. 

The report, by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and software firm Resilience360, said IT and telecommunications were among those that saw a rise in demand as businesses turned to home working.  

Pharmaceutical organisations and those in transport and logistics also saw increased demand, particularly due to the need to transport medical supplies around the globe. 

A survey of 353 executives across 77 countries found nearly three-quarters (73%) of firms reported there had been a “detrimental effect” on supply as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, while almost two-thirds (65%) said the same about demand. 

As a result, some organisations launched new services geared to catering for customer needs during the pandemic or repurposed their facilities to produce products such as personal protective equipment or hand sanitiser. 

The pandemic has also pushed firms to consider where they are sourcing from, with more than half (57%) of respondents looking to diversify their supplier base. Just under a third (29.9%) said they would aim to reduce their reliance on countries in the Far East, and 13% would specifically look to source less from China. 

Two-thirds (66%) said they planned to source goods more locally and over a fifth (21%) expected to move a considerable number of suppliers more locally. 

Firms have also taken steps to centralise resources, the report said. While 63% had a cross-functional risk team prior to the pandemic, 16% created the function during the outbreak and a further 11% intended to do so. 

By implementing a risk team, firms hoped to receive the support required to quickly take decisions on supply chain-related issues. Others created centralised teams to help to bring spending into a centralised category and “effectively stop different departments competing against each other to access supplies”, the report said. 

Rachael Elliott, head of thought leadership at the BCE, said: “Whilst the pandemic continues to wreak havoc with supply chains globally, it has also brought opportunity: many organisations are already actively investing in new technologies to help with activities such as supply chain mapping, whilst others have developed cross functional teams – which they plan to keep post-Covid – to work together to help combat supply chain issues in a more organisationally cohesive way.”

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