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Research highlights supply chain plight

Published:  01 December, 2020

Covid has caused supply chain difficulties for more than nine in 10 hospitality businesses since they reopened in July, according to new CGA and Prestige Purchasing research released today.  

It showed that just 8% of operators have escaped supply challenges since the end of the first national lockdown, while only 9% said they had not encountered any delays. 

Nearly three quarters (73%) think service levels have decreased since July, with only 5% thinking they have improved. 

The survey, however, also showed how suppliers have been working hard to mitigate the worst of the difficulties for hospitality businesses. Only a quarter (26%) of respondents said supply challenges have been worse than they expected, and nearly two-thirds (63%) said most supplies have arrived on time. 

Although the vast majority (95%) of deliveries had been missing products, well over half (60%) said these have been at (47%) or below (13%) the level they expected.

The figures showed the “massive impact” of the pandemic and lockdowns across the hospitality supply chain, said Fiona Speakman, CGA client director food and retail. 

“Suppliers are working in exceptionally difficult circumstances, and many operators have been grateful for their support and hard work in responding to issues that are completely beyond their control. As we enter the crucial Christmas trading period, suppliers and operators alike will be hoping for a strong end to a very tough year. But with the end of the UK’s transition from the EU rapidly approaching, another daunting round of supply challenges may now be looming,” she said. 

David Read, founder and chairman of Prestige Purchasing, added: “We should not view these problems as a failure within our supply community. They simply highlight the enormous challenges that the pandemic has brought to the whole value chain. The frequent and sudden changes to social restrictions and the complexity of regionality have reduced demand planning to educated guesswork. Social distancing and partial closures have dramatically reduced drop-size, disrupting route planning and making deliveries less economic.”

The research also indicated that one in five (20%) respondents saw prices rise over the summer, although it found that beverage categories had “remained more stable” thank other categories, including fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood and dairy. 

The survey from CGA and Prestige Purchasing, a specialist in procurement and supply chain management for the hospitality, catering, leisure, retail and private healthcare sectors, was conducted in October 2020. 

In October, the WSTA reiterated its concerns for the “overlooked” supply chain following Boris Johnson’s initial announcement of a three-tier lockdown system.