More than a third of East's firms struggling with supply issues

A large HGV travels across country to deliver or collect goods for the next business location. Pictu

Supply chain issues are affecting more than a third of businesses in East Anglia. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than a third of companies in East Anglia say they are unable to operate at normal levels due to supply chain issues.

According to a survey of 500 mid-sized businesses by accountancy and business advice firm BDO,  unexpected delays are affecting 39% of companies in the region in the day-to-day running of their companies — with the same number citing low stock levels and more than a quarter blaming staff shortages.

Firms also see a lack of overseas workers as one of their biggest issues when recruiting staff.

All respondents to BDO's survey, called Rethinking the Economy, said they would reduce their product lines or services to counter staff shortages — 32% of the firms said they would have to do so within the next month. 

However, many of the businesses said these changes were likely to only be temporary.

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Phil Hall, BDO partner in East Anglia, said: "Much has been made of the desperate need for HGV drivers and the domino effect this is having downstream throughout the supply chain.

"However, the issue of staff shortages is not unique to the logistics sector. Many industries across the region are struggling to meet recruitment demands at the moment, with little sign of the problem abating in the short-term.

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“Covid-19 and Brexit are two of the biggest contributors and the lack of available talent and skills within the region is a real cause for concern.

"As such, businesses are having to think creatively in order to circumnavigate this growing issue – whether that’s through increasing salaries, offering permanent remote or hybrid working, or introducing referral bonuses.

"Despite the considerable challenges being posed throughout the supply chain, East Anglia businesses clearly have one eye on the future.

"Their confident and forward-looking approach makes them more open to growth, with the vast majority of regional leaders actively seeking additional capital over the next 12 to 18 months – 49% of which will be used to fund mergers and acquisitions.

"As we head into a difficult winter period, that desire and ambition should hold businesses in good stead to tackle the challenges in front of them.”

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