Almost a third of businesses in the Midlands and the North of England are at high risk of collapse due to COVID-19 impacting on their supply chain, according to a recent report from Durham University Business School.

The report reviewed over 1.7 million businesses in these geographical areas, spread across 99 different sectors, and found that 29% of these are at high risk due to how their supply chains operate. The report also shows that around 35% of the firms are either at low or medium risk due to the potential impact of Covid19.

This report, ‘Covid19 and Supply Chains in the United Kingdom: Impact & Mitigation’, was co-authored by Professor Kiran Fernandes and Drs Atanu Chaudhuri and Manish Shukla alongside other professors from the business school’s Centre for Technology and Innovation Management (CITM).

The researchers analysed data of over 1,739,669 companies in 28 different regions across the Midlands and North of England to calculate the potential impact of the COVID-19 on the supply chains. While, many of these companies operate through global supply chains, the impact of such an external shock is felt at a local level. This was due to a number of factors like, complexity of supply chains in the region, supply chain configuration, internal and external resilience characteristics of companies, agility in managerial decision-making capability and the adoption and use of technologies.

This study reports findings on the potential impact of COVID-19 to supply chains in the North of England and mitigation and resilience strategies that can be adopted by companies to overcome impact of COVID19.

The report also provides insight into the specific sectors that are most likely to be impacted on due to COVID-19. The researchers found that industries that were at the highest risk included, real estate, food & beverage, personal services and the construction sector. Whilst companies who were less likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic included, computer programming companies, management consulting, architectural and parts of the retail food sector (e.g. production and distribution of baked produce).

Professor Kiran Fernandes, Professor of Operations Management at Durham University Business School , says, “Most companies in our region had never experienced such an external shock and therefore were not prepared with mitigation strategies for their complex global supply chains. Analysing a large number of companies using a big data approach has allowed us to better understand supply chain configurations and more importantly allowed us to identify and suggest mitigation strategies that can be adopted by supply chains across all a large number of sectors”.

Experts from the business school also reviewed a number of supply chain mitigation and resilience strategies that companies could utilise to overcome this negative impact too. In the report, six separate mitigation strategies were reviewed by professors who then identified and assigned a specific, tailored strategy for each of the 99 different sectors, in order to provide advice on how managers and business owners can navigate their company in this time of crisis.

Durham University Business School are now offering free or charge consultations for businesses with key international experts from the business school’s Centre for Technology and Innovation Management (CITM). These experts all have vast, global experience in consulting organisations in the area of operations, innovation and supply chain management.

Professor Kiran Fernandes also says, “The Durham University Business School is part of our region’s ecosystem. It is critical and timely that we work with our regional businesses and ecosystems to ensure that our expertise can be used to make them develop both short term and long term resilience strategies that can help them not only survive but compete in the post Covid19 environment.”

The full ‘Covid19 and Supply Chains in the United Kingdom: Impact & Mitigation’, is available to download on request.

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