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What should the company's supply chain strategy do in the post-epidemic period?

   After the 2008 financial crisis, the world economy is already very fragile, especially the uncertainty brought by the Sino-US trade friction and Brexit to the world economy. The rise of protectionism and unilateralism have led to increasing trade barriers. The 2020 new crown pneumonia epidemic has completely exposed the long-term structural contradictions of the world economy and caused a huge negative impact on the global value chain. At present, the global production, circulation, consumption, and distribution methods are undergoing major changes.

  As a hub, China is at the core node of the global supply chain network, and it has a cross-influence on the global supply chain with multiple global radiators. Developed countries represented by the United States have begun to promote the restructuring of the global supply chain that takes into account safety, efficiency, and decentralization. The repeated epidemics, supply chain disruptions, and the macro background of the de-globalization of developed countries led by the United States will affect the supply chain of enterprises? This article will discuss how to adjust the company's supply chain strategy to cope with the drastic changes of the times under the new situation.

Enterprise supply chain has turned from expansion to contraction


  The economic downturn combined with the instability of the epidemic has made the global industrial chain supply chain pay more attention to safety and stability, from expansion to contraction. Since the 2008 international economic and financial crisis, the expansion momentum of the global value chain has undergone a significant reversal. The author's calculations using WIOD data show that the domestic value added rate (DVAR) of global exports showed a rapid downward trend from 2000 to 2008, and the global division of labor has become increasingly refined. However, after the global financial crisis in 2008, DVAR rose rapidly, and then two years later. There was a rapid decline again. After 2012, DVAR is almost at a stable stage, the global division of labor has almost stagnated, and the global industrial chain has been restructured. The McKinsey Global Institute found that since the outbreak of the financial crisis, 16 of the 17 large-scale industry global value chains it studied have been in a state of contraction. Uncertainty in the international environment, Sino-US trade frictions, epidemics and other external shocks may cause the interruption of the global industrial chain, affect the safety of the industrial chain, and reshape the global industrial chain.

  The crisis has made multinational companies realize that although a globalized supply chain can reduce commodity prices, it will also bring greater risks due to the huge span of time and space and the complexity of management. Therefore, near-shore procurement, which corresponds to global procurement, is becoming a new choice for more and more multinational companies. Protectionism urges the existing global value chain to return to the country or transfer to a new location, and the trend of regionalization and localization of the global value chain is obvious.

  The negative impact of the epidemic on the supply chain of domestic export-oriented, import-dependent, and import-export complex enterprises cannot be ignored. It is mainly reflected in the impact of supply chain interruption, and the difficulties in resuming work, labor shortages, logistics obstructions, capital shortages, and exchange rates. Issues such as large volatility and the need to increase the level of digitization. On the one hand, the continuous and significant increase in costs poses a challenge to SMEs. First, the price of raw materials has risen sharply, making it difficult for SMEs to hedge through price increases; second, the exchange rate fluctuates widely, and SMEs generally lack hedging means. On the other hand, it is the dual pressure of high freight rates and "difficult to find one cabinet". Most Chinese enterprises still rent overseas warehouses set up by foreign institutions, facing practical problems such as high storage costs, inconvenience of cross-border payments, and poor controllability. Currently, more than 90% of overseas warehouses are located in developed countries, and the layout in emerging markets is obviously insufficient. For small and medium-sized enterprises, the cost problems of self-building, joint building or renting are all more prominent. These comprehensive factors seriously affect corporate profitability and willingness to accept orders.

The pandemic has led to a decline in global trade and investment


  The hindrance of the process of economic globalization, the increasing uncertainty of the international economy, and the deteriorating epidemic situation abroad have led to a decline in global trade and investment. First of all, according to the UNCTAD report, the global trade in goods in 2020 will fall by 5.6% year-on-year, which is the largest year-on-year decline in goods trade since the 2008 international financial crisis. Second, compared to trade in goods, trade in services has been hit harder by the epidemic. In 2020, the value of trade in services fell by 15.4% year-on-year, the largest drop since 1990. Fields such as tourism, competitive sports, conventions and exhibitions, and scientific and technological services based on the cross-border movement of people will be greatly affected. The relatively labor-intensive fields, such as service outsourcing and processing services, will also be affected in the short term. Service industry investment promotion, bilateral or multilateral cooperation promotion is restricted, international business development is hindered, service trade is the lubricant for the stable operation of the industrial chain and supply chain, and the ability of domestic service companies to resist risks against the epidemic and trade friction needs to be improved. Among them, digital service trade has shown strong resilience in the face of the epidemic. In 2020, although the growth rate of global digital service trade decreased by 1.9% year-on-year, the growth rate was still higher than that of service trade (down 20.0% year-on-year) and goods trade (down 7.5% year-on-year). On the one hand, the impact of the epidemic on trade in services that has been delivered through digital means is very limited. On the other hand, the epidemic has accelerated the digital transformation of traditional service trade and the development of emerging digital service industries. Third, trade in goods pales in comparison with cross-border e-commerce and e-commerce. According to China Customs statistics, the overall growth rate of 1.9% of China's trade in goods in 2020 is much lower than the 31.1% year-on-year growth of cross-border e-commerce imports and exports in the same period. According to estimates by the UNCTAD report, due to the flow restrictions caused by the epidemic, the rapid growth of e-commerce has increased the share of online retail sales in global retail sales from 16% in 2019 to 19% in 2020.



  In addition, according to a UNCTAD report, global foreign direct investment (FDI) has plummeted in 2020, from 1.5 trillion US dollars in 2019 to 859 billion US dollars, a 42% decline. It is more than 30% lower than the trough after the global financial crisis in 2009, and has fallen back to the level of the 1990s. The report shows that the decline is mainly concentrated in developed countries, with foreign direct investment flows falling by 69%, estimated at 229 billion U.S. dollars. Investment inflows into Europe was less than capital outflows by US$4 billion, including huge negative inflows in many countries. The United States also experienced a sharp drop of 49%, with inflows dropping to $134 billion.

The epidemic has exacerbated the long-term migration risk of the company's supply chain


  The supply chain of the enterprise industry chain faces the risk of overseas migration, and the external migration affects China's status as a major manufacturing country. Foreign production capacity continued to recover, and some orders were diverted overseas. Affected by the Sino-US trade friction and the new crown pneumonia epidemic, some industries have begun to move their production bases out of China. Countries that move out of destinations such as Eastern Europe, India, Vietnam, and Israel have benefited a lot, and the risk of hollowing out my country's industry has increased. On the one hand, European and American countries have implemented a "re-industrialization" strategy to further strengthen state intervention in the industrial chain for the sake of diversifying risks and maintaining national security. For example, the United States and Japan provide financial support for companies that have moved out of China; Germany has tightened foreign acquisition policies; Britain and France have regained the "nationalization" procedures to intervene in protecting large enterprises and important assets. On the other hand, developing countries have strengthened their supply capacity and expanded their markets to seize opportunities for industrial chain restructuring. For example, India will launch a national infrastructure plan to increase manufacturing productivity, provide financial support for advanced battery manufacturers, and undertake manufacturing transfers and The development of export trade boosts the economy; Vietnam is actively fighting the epidemic to attract foreign investment, playing the role of a haven and bridgehead for Asian exports to the United States, and accelerating the transfer of global labor-intensive industries to Vietnam.


  However, recently a new round of the global epidemic has spread, and countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand have become the hardest hit areas. Southeast Asian countries have tightened their epidemic prevention measures due to the rise of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. ASEAN is China's second largest trading partner. After the outbreak of Sino-US trade friction, Southeast Asian countries, led by Vietnam, took over some orders and exported them to the United States. The epidemic in Vietnam continues to worsen, involving the obstruction of Vietnam's industrial and production chains. Foreign investors are more concerned about potential risks when it is used as a sales market or production base, resulting in a decline in orders for supporting companies. Southeast Asia occupies about 27% of the global semiconductor supply market share, of which Malaysia occupies 13.8% of the market share. Most of the Malaysian semiconductor companies are multinational companies, and there are currently more than 50 companies, including Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Intel, and NXP. The Malaysian epidemic has intensified the global core shortage, which has affected the electronic information-related industry chain of Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu and other major integrated circuit demand provinces. However, due to its small size, my country is currently not affected by the core shortage. At the same time, due to the intensification of epidemics in other parts of Southeast Asia, my country has made good achievements in epidemic prevention and control and economic recovery, providing a window of opportunity for my country to win the initiative in the restructuring of the global value chain.

  The epidemic has slowed down the migration of my country's labor-intensive manufacturing industries to Southeast Asia to a certain extent, and has also increased obstacles to the relocation of industrial chains in developed countries. We should seize the opportunity for my country to take the lead in controlling the epidemic and realizing economic recovery, give full play to the advantages of large-scale markets and the advantages of the new nationwide system, increase key technological research, accelerate the improvement of the core competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, and prevent the manufacturing industry from relocating. It is necessary to seize the window period of "supply vacuum" caused by the epidemic in developing countries, consolidate the advantages of traditional product exports, support enterprises to explore international markets, and undertake the transfer of foreign orders.

The epidemic has led to an increase in overall corporate costs and increased operating risks


  First, companies are facing problems such as labor shortage, labor difficulty, recruitment difficulty, and general increase in labor costs (Figure 1). As a large manufacturing country, China's labor-intensive manufacturing enterprises rely heavily on human support for their production and operation. The uncertainty of the epidemic, the decline of the demographic dividend, coupled with the dispersion of corporate personnel in various provinces, cities and countries, and the cumbersome international round-trip process for business personnel, time-consuming and greatly increased costs, have greatly increased the management difficulty of resuming work and production. Operating costs. On the one hand, staff cannot go to overseas sites to perform operations, which has a greater impact on project development. On the other hand, the lack of personnel caused the machinery and equipment to fail to operate normally, and the production line was shut down. The resulting supply chain rupture has caused problems such as difficulty in coordination of production, difficulty in balancing the production chain, shutdown of production lines, reduced product inventory buffers, and delays in the delivery of original products, raising the risk of retaliatory capacity growth in the post-epidemic era. This problem is more prominent in fields such as automobiles, heavy machinery, and semiconductors.

  Second, the circulation and transportation of domestic and foreign products are all negatively affected to varying degrees (Figure 2). On the one hand, international logistics is affected by outages, suspensions, tariff increases, and customs restrictions. The tight supply of goods, insufficient air and shipping capacity, and transportation restrictions have led to rising global procurement costs and operating costs for companies. In particular, the supply of key materials and parts such as core components in high-risk areas such as the United States, Europe and Japan is cut off, and it is difficult to transport them to the country in a short time. On the other hand, domestic logistics is affected by traffic control, personnel flow control, and blocked information exchange, which adversely affects business negotiations and exchanges between companies, parts transportation efficiency, upstream raw material supply, corporate influence and brand power, and industrial supply chain prices. , Enterprise logistics costs and operating costs have increased significantly. Companies whose core material supplier lists are too concentrated have exposed great vulnerabilities and extremely low risk resistance capabilities in this epidemic. In contrast, small and medium-sized enterprises are facing greater difficulties. The main reason is that the international shipping market is monopolized by a small number of large shipping companies. Shipping companies mainly sign long-term contracts with large companies, and give priority to ensuring the needs of large companies, such as Maersk long-term contracts. It accounts for 60% to 70%. Small and medium-sized enterprises mostly use short-term contracts or book space through freight forwarding companies. The bargaining power is obviously weak. They can only accept multi-level agency companies to increase prices. Some popular routes even set new highs.

Figure 1 The scale and growth rate of migrant workers in China from 2015 to 2019



  The third is the decline in the operating capacity of domestic ports and wharfs, and the phenomenon of operating at a loss. Under the impact of the epidemic, the efficiency of global port terminals is low, the seafarer gap is expanding, and the port's epidemic prevention and control capabilities need to be improved. It is foreseeable that freight rates will continue to operate at a high level. Some ports are affected by the new round of the epidemic, and the level of epidemic prevention and control is relatively high. The "N+7+7" operation mode is implemented, that is, the operators are divided into small shifts, and they will continue to work at the terminal for 21 days and then be isolated for 7 days and home isolation 7 days. The capacity for small shifts in production capacity has dropped significantly compared to before the epidemic. In the context of strict requirements for epidemic prevention and control measures, the global demand for air and sea transportation is still high, which has caused some routes to operate at a loss and decline in terminal operating capacity.

  Fourth, the cash flow and capital flow are broken, and the company's supply chain is constrained to a certain extent. Suspension of work and production caused by the epidemic, employees’ paid leave and isolation, shop and equipment rental expenses, failure to deliver on time, resulting in breach of contract and being compensated by customers and facing high liquidated damages, etc., which caused small and medium-sized suppliers to face pressure on cash flow and social capital. Debt servicing pressure increased sharply. Most companies have blocked the flow of personnel, restricted logistics and transportation, and reduced product sales channels, resulting in a sharp drop in corporate product demand, a serious backlog of inventory, and difficulty in obtaining operating income. This has seriously affected the speed of capital turnover, and even risked bankruptcy. Most labor-intensive manufacturing industries have high financing thresholds and it is difficult to apply for loans in a timely manner, leading to impaired corporate health operations, unstable profitability, dragging down cash flow, and fragile capital chains.

Choice of Innovation Strategy of Enterprise Supply Chain under the New Development Pattern


  Global procurement has shifted to regional, decentralized, and localized procurement. The economic crisis combined with the negative impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic has highlighted the fragility of the global supply chain and further triggered the risk of enterprise supply chain rupture. In terms of supply chain layout, Chinese enterprises are required to further improve the complete supply chain of the industrial chain, build a complete industrial system and infrastructure construction, accelerate the centralized procurement of regionalization and proximity, and ensure the safety of global raw material and core parts supply. In terms of raw material procurement and product delivery management, we will further optimize the procurement targets of raw materials and equipment based on consumer product demand and the production direction of the company. Ensure the effectiveness of information, the flexibility of the supply chain, and continue to adapt to the market demand for industry optimization and upgrading. In terms of industrial inventory management optimization, coordinate the cooperation mechanism between raw material suppliers, customers and enterprises, simplify product production and sales processes, and avoid excessive product hoarding.

Figure 2 The trend of China's logistics industry prosperity index LPI (seasonally adjusted) from 2017 to 2020



  Accelerate the transformation of enterprise supply chains to digital supply chains. The new crown pneumonia epidemic has accelerated digital transformation and the development of digital trade, and has become an important engine for the growth of global service trade. At present, the digital supply chain innovation system mechanisms such as data protection capability certification and data circulation backup review are not perfect. It is difficult to establish international data dedicated channels and other cross-departmental communication and coordination, which is not conducive to the dividends brought by the digital trend in the supply chain of enterprises. The supply chain of Chinese enterprises should comply with the requirements of informatization, digitalization and intelligent development, and seize the new opportunities of the new round of information technology revolution and industrial transformation in time. Digitalization of the global industrial chain, digitization of the value chain, platformization of the innovation chain, and intelligence of the supply chain empowers the digital upgrade of enterprise supply chains, emphasizes digital infrastructure connectivity, narrows the digital divide in the enterprise supply chain, and promotes global digital transformation. With the help of the leading digital ecology, my country can provide new business formats including telemedicine, electronic payment, information education and digital tourism, open up innovative service models, and promote them to the world, so as to enhance my country's voice and influence in the enterprise supply chain. From entrepreneurship, acceleration, investment and financing to preparations for listing, my country's innovative enterprises need to consider how to cultivate the industrial chain, make good use of innovative service resources, and serve the high-quality development of China's economy.

  Optimize the supply chain of enterprises with top-level design, system reform and innovation. Establishing the concept of supervision under the supply chain management model, management departments at all levels need to deeply understand that the supply chain of the enterprise industrial chain is an important force in my country's construction of a new development pattern and a domestic and international "dual cycle". Research and establish a scientific and differentiated performance appraisal and development evaluation mechanism that adapts to the development characteristics of the company's supply chain, coordinate and promote the coordination of policies such as supervision, logistics, capital, and talent, and improve the opaque and over-concentrated supply chain. Increase financial support for enterprise industrial chains and supply chains, encourage emerging companies to explore overseas markets, and increase support for the innovative development of cross-border trade and new business formats. Improving the situation of insufficient coverage and insufficient support for enterprise supply chain policies. Encourage and guide various regions to introduce support policies such as supply chain support, innovation independence, and flexible introduction, promote the cultivation and introduction of high-tech talents required by innovation-driven enterprises, and further improve personnel mobility and talent support policies. In terms of logistics management, a professional logistics management organization has been set up to ensure the effectiveness and orderliness of the transportation sector, and promote enterprises to save capital expenditures and reduce industrial costs.

  Consolidate the construction of supporting infrastructure for the innovation and development of the enterprise supply chain. Under the guidance of the government and leading departments at all levels, we will learn the supply chain model of mature international enterprises, learn from the successful experience of domestic advanced regions, and conduct in-depth research and exploration of new enterprise supply chains covering supply chain design, intellectual property services, logistics services, and financial services. Optimize the working mechanism of service trade statistics and monitoring, and improve the quality of data reporting. Improve the digital service trade statistics system, strengthen the statistical analysis of digital service trade, and continuously increase the proportion of digital service trade. Enterprise industrial chain supply chain statistics involve multiple departments and fields. It is necessary to strengthen the top-level design of the statistical system, strengthen cooperation and communication between departments, establish a data sharing and exchange system, and establish and improve the enterprise industrial chain and supply chain statistical network.


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