Small and middle-market companies faced widespread supply chain challenges during the pandemic, and most say they expect those issues to continue in 2021, according to a survey from Portland, Oregon-based Umpqua Bank, released Thursday.
The company’s 2021 Business Barometer surveyed 1,200 business leaders from small and mid-market companies across the United States. The study found that most businesses are poised for growth amid continued disruptions lingering from the pandemic, and that supply chain challenges top their list of key concerns moving forward.
“In addition to reporting transformational shifts in operations and strategy over the last year, middle market companies, in particular, are embracing the expectation of continued challenges and the need for ongoing adaptation,” according to the survey. “And while growth is expected among both small and middle market companies, intense disruptions related to supply chains and competition for workplace talent pose considerable challenges.”
The study found that 88% of small and mid-sized businesses have experienced at least some type of supply chain difficulty over the past 12 months. The most common difficulties include: Being unable to purchase the goods they need to run their business in a timely manner (24%); facing longer delays receiving goods (59%); and experiencing an increase in the price of goods (76%). In addition, at least four in 10 small businesses and 55% of middle market respondents said they’re having trouble finding qualified employees, which could be further contributing to global supply chain challenges, the authors said.
The survey also found that most companies made “major strategic adjustments” in response to the pandemic; the majority of businesses expect economic conditions to improve and revenue to increase post-pandemic; and most business leaders are embracing a “continuous change” mindset, with roughly three-quarters of businesses saying they expect to continue making “significant changes” to products and services.