Business leaders focus on omnichannel, diversification & employees to build back better from pandemic

PETALING JAYA: 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 TMX industry report “Building Back Better from the Pandemic: A Look into Supply Chains in the New Normal”.

The report revealed that 40% of business leaders have already invested in omnichannel strategies as a way to future-proof their businesses. Nearly half or 46% of businesses in the region have also earmarked a comprehensive omnichannel strategy as a key business priority in the next three to five years.

According to TMX, an Asia Pacific business transformation consultancy, 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. Having an omnichannel approach thus allows businesses to ensure a consistent presence and a seamless customer journey.

The report highlighted that businesses today recognise the key in helping them chart the way forward post-pandemic is the diversification of any part of the value chain, whether it be third-party logistics providers, vendors, or shipping routes.

As such, 52% of these businesses have started to diversify their supplier base, with another 35% of businesses actively assessing their reliance on third-party vendors.

TMX Asia president James Christopher said the insights showcase how business challenges as a result of the pandemic 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.

“Business leaders have been able to identify the 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,“ he said in a statement yesterday.

Beyond operational and supply chain needs, businesses are also focused on ensuring the well-being of their employees and that they are kept engaged through upskilling. The latter, in particular, is a key priority given the tightening labour and skills market that the industry is facing.

“Businesses are feeling the talent pinch, especially now that the skills set needed by the industry is different. No longer are businesses in the industry just looking for talent that can introduce new digital technologies and solutions in supply chains.

“They are also looking for those who take the initiative and possess the leadership and critical thinking skills that are crucial in navigating the businesses through periods of disruptions and uncertainties,“ he said.

Meanwhile, sustainability is set to move up on the agendas of business leaders, as they acknowledge environmental, social and governance commitments are now a necessity to establish their social license in the business landscape.

TMX carried out in-depth interviews with six supply chain industry experts across the region from the logistics, fast-moving consumers goods, e-commerce, and property industries. The online representative survey of 250 business decision-makers in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia was conducted in October.