SEA business leaders to focus on omnichannel and supply chain diversification

January 20, 2022 | 10:54
Business leaders in Southeast Asia are set to build back better by investing in a robust omnichannel approach, diversifying their supply chains, and focusing on employees and business continuity, according to a new industry report released today.
SEA business leaders to focus on omnichannel and supply chain diversification
New business models have emerged in Vietnam as a result of the pandemic

The Building Back Better from the Pandemic: A Look into Supply Chains in the New Normal report by TMX, Asia-Pacific’s leading business transformation consultancy, shows that 68 per cent of participating business leaders in Vietnam (40 per cent regional) have already invested in omnichannel strategies as a way to future-proof their businesses.

On the other hand, 76 per cent of Vietnamese businesses (46 per cent in the region) have also earmarked a comprehensive omnichannel strategy as a key business priority in the next 3-5 years.

This is in line with the expectation that, while e-commerce is expected to stay, consumers will also start to get back to traditional brick-and-mortar shopping as social restrictions begin to ease. An omnichannel approach thus allows businesses to ensure a consistent presence and a seamless customer journey.

The report analysed the current sentiment of over 250 businesses and senior executives in the fast-moving consumer goods, logistics, e-commerce, retail, and manufacturing industries across Southeast Asian countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, with 50 participants being from Vietnam.

James Christopher, president for Asia at TMX, said that the insights showcase how business challenges over the last two years have provided valuable learnings for business leaders to improve their supply chains and operations moving forward.

“It is no longer news that the pandemic has brought about seismic shifts to the industry. Across the region, we have seen supply chains being pushed to new limits amid a backdrop of fast-changing consumer demands and behaviours. However, insights from the report show that there are silver linings to what we have experienced," Christopher said.

Business leaders have been able to identify areas in which improvements and investments are needed for their businesses and supply chains to become more resilient.

"Even with the new Omicron variant today, businesses are better prepared to overcome potential disruptions. We expect that the next few years will be marked by further digitalisation in supply chains, diversification, and growth in the industry,” said Christopher.

Insights from the report also highlighted that businesses recognise that the diversification of any part of the value chain is key in helping them chart the way forward.

Particularly in Vietnam, new business models have emerged as a result of the pandemic. According to the Vietnam Logistics Research and Development Institute (VLI), one of the main strategies that have been taken by companies is to diversify their providers. At the very least, they will have backup providers that can support the business when there are disruptions.

“A trend we are seeing is that brands and businesses are investing in micro-fulfilment centres in different districts around the country so that they do not need to depend on only one centre to get deliveries out,” said Ho Thi Thu Hoa, director of VLI.

Looking ahead, insights from the report also revealed that business leaders are expected to build on the wave of digitalisation with synchronised physical and digital supply chains that provide full end-to-end operational visibility.

According to the TMX survey, 80 per cent of the region’s decision-makers (60 per cent in Vietnam) are confident that there will be more application of digital tools and technologies in the industry. For 82 per cent of these regional leaders (58 per cent in Vietnam), immediately applying the latest digital solutions in their business operations would be a key priority if they had no barriers like costs.

By Bich Thuy

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