Assessing Economies and Economic Growth

By Sue Doerfler

Inflation, cost and global and national economies have been hot topics for supply managers and their companies, as prices for inputs and shipping increase amid continuing supply impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Such disruptions make cost optimization the prime issue for chief supply chain officers (CSCOs), according to a survey by Gartner, the Stamford, Connecticut-based global business research and advisory firm. Among the 199 CEO and senior business executive respondents to 2021 CEO Survey, 17 percent ranked cost optimization as the No. 1 issue, followed by supply chain resilience at 16 percent.

“CEOs are tasking their CSCOs to focus on navigating through the ongoing disruption and ensure business continuity,” Thomas O’Connor, senior director analyst with Gartner’s supply chain practice, said in a press release. “This includes dealing with pandemic-related lockdowns in key markets, supply chain shortages — as seen in the semiconductor industry — and challenges with the global flow of goods and increasing distribution costs.”

The pandemic is expected to have a continuing impact and influence on businesses — and more than 66 percent of survey participants plan to use this as a catalyst to redesign their organizations. There has been a push for social responsibility and sustainability goals, O’Connor said, calling this “a huge integration challenge for supply chain leaders that manage global networks.”

Executives also must begin to plan for growth, centering around both supply and demand as nations begin to recover from pandemic impacts. Although recovery rate differs according to locale, O’Connor said, six in 10 CEOs surveyed expect an economic boom to start prior by the end of 2022.

Likewise, views on how economies are faring varies internationally. A recent report by Pew Research Center found that despite signs of improvement in the global economy, there is a disparity in how the public perceives their national economies. Spring 2021 Global Attitudes, Quarter 1, a survey of 18,850 adults in 17 advanced economies conducted in the spring, found that in those in some countries — including the U.S., Japan, France and South Korea — perceive the economic situation as bad. Among U.S. respondents, for example, 71 perceived the national economy as bleak, while 29 perceived it as good. However, others — including Australia and United Kingdom — feel more positive. The median for all countries surveyed was 52 percent bad and 48 percent good.

Nevertheless, how national economies overall are viewed in 2021 is generally more positive than in 2020, the report states. It also notes that many respondents are concerned that their children will be financially worse off than they have been.

About the Author

Sue Doerfler

About the Author

As Senior Writer for Inside Supply Management® magazine, I cover topics, trends and issues relating to supply chain management.