Firms prioritise tech in post-pandemic recovery

Firms are investing in technology such as data, automation and AI as part of their post-pandemic recovery, a report has found.

A study by commercial data and analytics provider Dun & Bradstreet reveals that Brexit disruption and Covid-19 are the biggest concerns for the supply chains professionals in UK organisations this year.

The scale and complexity of globalisation (68%) was organisations’ top concern when considering business recovery, with two-thirds (66%) citing Covid-19 as the next biggest issue.

As a result, procurement and supply chain leaders are prioritising investment in data, automation and AI as part of a long road to recovery post-pandemic.

Of the more than 500 UK supply chain professionals surveyed, almost three-quarters (72%) expected Covid-19-related economic disruption to impact their procurement operations this year, while 97% of UK businesses have already been disrupted, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

Covid-19 was cited as the biggest threat to businesses (23%), while nearly one in five viewed international trade disputes (18%) and deglobalisation (18%), including Brexit, as two of the top three external factors to pose a threat.

Two-fifths (40%) of those surveyed said the ability to maintain useful and timely supplier profiles across multiple systems was their primary challenge this year. This meant improving operational efficiency (37%), better monitoring of supplier performance (34%) and having better visibility into supplier spend (34%).

Next was more extensive use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), to achieve supply chain insights (33%) and mitigating or decreasing third-party risk (32%).

In terms of managing supplier data in procurement and supply chains, the ability to maintain useful and timely supplier profiles across multiple systems (40%) was key, along with sharing data across the organisation (39%) and obtaining actionable insights from stored and collected data (36%).

Chris Laws, head of strategy and product at Dun & Bradstreet said that one year on from the pandemic start, organisations were still reeling from the disruption, but they were investing in technology and a data-driven approach to effectively manage supply chains.

“Procurement and compliance teams are under pressure to deal with third-party risk, and with data they can make informed decisions on the suppliers they work with, the places they outsource to and potential nefarious actors that may damage a business’ infrastructure. Only by developing this holistic view of potential suppliers and accruing a greater depth of information on known suppliers can organisations build for a future post-Covid-19.”

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