The ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic have been deep and vast. People have lost their jobs, businesses have closed down, and a new set of social distancing rules have completely altered the way we live our lives.
For business leaders, there have been multiple issues to contend with. First and foremost, in many instances they have had to manage the transition to remote working while ensuring the physical and mental health of their staff is protected (more about how One World Express tackled this challenge here).
But businesses have also had to deal with significant supply chain disruption – as companies closed down, either temporarily or permanently, the domino effect has meant that businesses have lost suppliers, partners and clients.
To bring this issue into focus, One World Express recently commissioned an independent survey among more than 500 decision-makers within UK businesses. You might have seen the research featured heavily in the national media this week, including stories in Wales Online, My London and Yorkshire Examiner, among more than half a dozen others.
We found that over a third (36%) of business leaders have seen other companies in their supply chain close down as a result of COVID-19. An even greater number (42%) have been forced to find new suppliers or vendors over recent months due to the disruption caused to their existing partners.
However, amidst the pains caused by the pandemic, British businesses have managed to seize hold of some positives.
For example, by being forced to find new suppliers to work with, 41% of the decision-makers we surveyed said that their business had found superior alternatives to the ones they were using at the start of 2020. What’s more, 35% of UK companies have reduced costs in their supply chain after having to source new businesses to work with.
Evidently, the disruption has forced companies to re-evaluate the products and services they are using, not to mention who they are procuring them from. In doing so, companies have taken the impetus to find better or cheaper alternatives to the ones they had previously relied on.
Tellingly, 57% of respondents said COVID-19 has provided the incentive they needed to make positive changes to their business model. What’s more, 52% are confident that their business’ turnover will grow in the second half of 2020 compared to the first.
Among the devastating effects of the pandemic – on both a social and economic level – there are reasons for optimism in the months ahead. Business leaders are demonstrating resilience in the way they are responding to this crisis, and clearly in some cases it has given companies the freedom to take action that they would not otherwise have taken.