New Normal?

Supply chains adapted, but companies have yet to decide whether the economics of resiliency stacks up

Despite facing a once-in-a-century disruption, businesses — including supply chains — managed to forge a new way to work. That’s no small feat.

Necessity, that terrible mother of invention, drove the change many had resisted.

And as weeks turned into months, employees got used to shuffling into the home office to start the day rather than commute for work and meeting with customers virtually rather than hop on a plane for a similar conversation. After the initial headaches wore off, many companies came to appreciate the new efficiencies and increased resiliency that had emerged.

Now, these same businesses, in pockets that have relaxed restrictions across the globe, are approaching big decisions — both internal and external: Will they go back to the old familiar, or will a new normal take permanent root? One thing seems likely. Digital options for working will play an increasingly important role.

Key findings

Perspectives

Digital must become the default for supply chains

Volatility still remains in global supply chains, says Rob van Ipenburg, managing director of Quyntess. In our conversation, van Ipenburg suggests that long periods of stability that supply chains have enjoyed in years past may be less common in the future. Find out why a new normal might be about embracing digital.

Read more

About the Tradeshift Index of Global Trade Health

Purpose

Many of the world’s largest buyers and their suppliers use Tradeshift’s trade technology network to exchange digitized purchasing and invoicing information. The data these transactions yield provide us with a unique awareness of trading activity between businesses.

Tradeshift’s Index of Global Trade Health analyzes anonymized data flowing across our platform to reveal a timely perspective of how external events are impacting business-to-business commerce around the world.

Methodology

The Q2 Index shows business-to-business transaction volumes (orders processed from buyers and invoices processed from suppliers) across the Tradeshift network during the period of April 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021. We’ve also provided retrospective analysis of data for the previous 12 months

We looked at quarter on quarter measurements for total transactions on our platform to provide a sense of how different regions are performing against the patterns we’re seeing globally.

The pandemic has been a key part of the narrative for our Index. To help visualise this we looked at cumulative growth in transactions to understand the degree to which different regions have been successful in addressing the shortfall in transactions caused by lockdown restrictions.

We acknowledge that there are limits to how accurately our view of what is happening on our network can reflect how complex global supply chains are reacting to a variety of external factors. What our data does provide is a useful snapshot that provides clues as to what might be happening to the global economy. The patterns we see in our data become more valuable as we combine them with other third-party data and expert insight, something which you will see us draw on throughout this report.

To supplement our findings we also conducted a survey where we asked suppliers for their perspectives on a range of issues. The results of our survey are derived from responses from 150 US-based suppliers. The research was conducted in March 2021.

Download the full report

Past Reports



Q3 2020 trade report

Q3 2020

After seeing trade activity slump to record lows as a result of the lockdown in early second quarter, signs of a recovery began to emerge in May and June as economies in the West began to reopen.

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Q2 2020 trade report

Q2 2020

Ever since reports of the virus first emerged in January, we've followed the impact of the pandemic on business-to-business trade and the health of global supply chains. It’s been an extraordinary few months.

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