How are companies managing supply chains through Covid?

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Responding to these challenges is easier said than done. In a study carried out last year by a team led by Dr Trevor Cadden, senior lecturer in operations management at Ulster University, 90 per cent of companies knew the identity of their immediate suppliers but did not know details beyond that. “They knew A but not B,” says Cadden. “They didn’t know if the downstream supplier had a very high carbon footprint or was a sweatshop in China. They might think they are sourcing from a supplier in Donegal but don’t know if that supplier is sourcing the products from the UK. They don’t know how to map their supply chain.”

For those companies that do know where their supplies are coming from the response is varied. “Some companies are saying let’s change suppliers to other countries where practical,” says Cadden. “Others are vertically integrating by buying other companies to secure their supply chains. Others still are looking at different sourcing strategies but lots of them are tied into two or three year contracts so that makes things difficult.”

Period20 Nov 2020

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