Industry 4.0 report - What are companies focusing on now?

Key finding 10: Inventory management strategies are shifting towards ensuring availability

Due to the corona crisis, the view on inventory management is shifting towards a focus on availability, meaning that 22% of the companies are holding more stock to be less dependent on delays in the supply chain. Nearly half of the companies are considering to readjust their supply chain strategy.

Impact of pandemic on inventory strategy management

The corona crisis rapidly exposed the vulnerability of our companies when it comes to importing goods and components. In no time, international supply of goods faltered and production processes faced major delays.  As a result, these supply chain disruptions have significantly impacted the inventory strategy and supply chain management. While before the corona crisis 38% of the companies focused on cost optimisation by having a minimal stock and only 16% focused on availability by having a strategic stock, that image has completely shifted today. Now, 35% are focusing on a strategic stock and only 16% are still trying to reduce costs by having a minimal stock. The number of companies that try to find a balance between the two has slightly increased from 28% to 32%.

Also, 50% of the companies are planning to adjust their supply chain strategy when it comes to the origin of their components. 20% are searching for more European suppliers to replace global suppliers, while 17% are looking for a more diversified package of suppliers to be less dependent on their current suppliers. Only 8% of the companies are considering to focus more on suppliers located in Belgium to become less dependent on international sourcing. 5.5% has other plans.

Supply chain strategy adjustments after pandemic

Scarcity of electronic chips

The components that are currently causing most issues in the supply chain in terms of delivery times are electronic chips. It is widely known that, due to the corona pandemic, a lot of tech companies have to deal with a scarcity of electronic chips. When asking for the true level of impact, 23% say this has become a real issue that has a big impact on their operations, while 25% say it only has a minor impact. Only 13% of these companies do not expect any issues at all, while another 10% expect that it will become a problem in the future. 20% of the companies have no need for electronic chips at all.

Issues due to scarcity of electronic chips

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