Business improvement firm BSI (British Standards Institution) has just released its ‘Supply Chain Risk Insights 2020’ study detailing the most salient trends and risks likely to affect global supply chains over the coming year.

The report is essential reading for all practitioners engaged in procurement and supply chain jobs, including supply chain interims.

The following emerge as the most pressing issues.

Tackling COVID-19

The recent outbreak has exposed the precariousness of the global supply chain, demonstrating that the failure of a single link in the chain may result in huge disruptions everywhere else.

Individual governments are expected to respond to the downtime and gradual restart of manufacturing in China with their own efforts to contain the virus, which may in turn result in additional disruptions. 

Of heightened importance to all involved in procurement jobs in the year ahead will be learning from this outbreak how to mitigate the spread of a contagious disease and the impact on manufacturing and worldwide shipping.

Trade disputes and Asian supply chains

The dispute between the US and Chinese governments is prompting other countries in the region, notably Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, to intensify efforts to build more attractive business environments.

Many firms may be drawn to reconsider the corporate responsibility risks still pervasive in China, including forced labour, child labour and unacceptable working conditions.

New, comprehensive plans for reconfiguring supply chains may now be drafted.

Human trafficking and migrant exploitation

BSI data reveals that 88% of all detected stowaway incidents in Europe utilised perilous trucking as the mode of transport and highlighted the probable involvement of corrupt individuals engaged in human trafficking.

Similar attempts at illicit migrant transportation via stowaway operations in supply chain modalities are expected to continue across the southern border of the US.

More effective solutions to both are urgently needed.

Finally, political protests and global ideological shifts in governments and climate change challenges to business continuity constitute the concluding two priorities for supply chain management.

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