Thursday, January 6, 2022

Not a Lot of Good News as Predicted Rising Prices Causes Concerns

Supply Chain Data Assumes More Importance in the Wake of Covid
Shipping News Feature

UK – A survey released by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has revealed that, whilst 45% of firms reported increased domestic sales in Q4, compared to 47% in Q3, 27% of companies were worried about rising interest rates, as concerns over rate hikes among manufacturers reach record highs.

What is most worrying is of course that the analysis also shows that 58% of firms expect their prices to increase in the next three months, the highest on record. 66% of businesses cited inflation as a concern, also a record high, all factors which can be placed firmly at the door of the pandemic.

The BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES), which is the UK’s largest independent survey of business sentiment, found that the 5,500 business respondents also worried about the rise in the interest rate. 69% of transport and distribution firms, the highest on record, said they expected to see an increase in costs.

Amongst the first to comment on the worrying statistics was Josh Brazil, SVP Global Supply Chain Insights at project44 who unsurprisingly given the nature of his business, eulogised on how data visibility can help companies to better prepare for and respond to supply chain disruption and reduce the risk of further price inflations. He said:

“Five years ago, supply chain management wasn’t an issue that would’ve sparked much interest or debate beyond those involved directly in its delivery. Now, it’s a different story. The issue has grown from affecting availability of goods, to now directly impacting the customer’s wallet.

”As expected, supply chain issues have continued into 2022, as such, companies must be proactive in preparing for ongoing disruption and minimising the risk of further price inflation. Ultimately, you cannot fix what you cannot predict or measure. Therefore, supply chain visibility will be an essential facet for adapting to an environment where change is inevitable.

”Supply chain leaders must utilise the high-quality data that’s available today in order to urgently respond to delays and prepare for ongoing disruption. Information sharing between parties in the supply chain is crucial, but high-quality, reliable data will be the foundation of frictionless trading, even more so in times of crisis across the supply chain.”

There is of course sense in this, the last year or so has shone a spotlight on the logistics industry like never before and demonstrated both the strengths, and the weaknesses, of the global supply chain. What is certain is, that in the UK at least, prices will rise as the pandemic hopefully recedes. If it doesn’t then we can assume they will rise even further, and for many companies good analytical data may prove a crystal ball to at least minimise future foreseeable financial risks.