The Russia–Ukraine war is further disrupting already deteriorated global supply chains. With the high political tensions, service providers need to implement a mix of short- and long-term approaches like reshoring, ally shoring, and partnerships to overcome the crisis. Read on to understand Global Supply Chain Management Strategy and the global supply chain issues and strategies to build greater resiliency in times of disruption.
Global supply chain issues and strategies
The global supply chain has been upset over the past two years, starting with back-to-back global economic setbacks that impacted nearly all goods and services in every industry around the world.
While the supply chain hit on essential goods and medical services from COVID-19 is now plateauing, rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine have only added to the already strained global channels and delivery.
The ripple effects of the Russia-Ukraine war can be seen in rising oil prices, trade restrictions, and financial sanctions. Even though Russia is receiving economic penalties, countries that depend on Russian goods and services have to begin looking for an alternative supply. Similarly, countries depending on Ukraine’s IT outsourcing services are suffering as well.
With these recurring global shocks unsettling global trade dependencies, the changing dynamics of international relations, and the growing uncertainties, governments across the globe are moving to implement policies to make supply chains more resilient.
Impact on service providers
During the pandemic, the Information Technology Sourcing (ITS) industry observed a dramatic 3% fall in overall growth, and the Business Process Sourcing (BPS) industry growth lagged. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is estimated to impact between 70,000 and 100,000 service professionals in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, including highly-qualified workers with digital engineering and IT skills.
The immediate concerns go beyond ITS to Engineering Services (ES) since Ukraine has been a go-to-market with a mature talent pool for both sectors. The full trickle-down effect on BPS is yet to be fully seen. Although BPS’ dependency on Ukraine is minimal, the conflict’s escalation to neighboring countries is expected to more noticeably impact Eastern Europe, which forms the third-largest outsourcing location, following India and the Philippines.
Eastern Europe hosts several service providers across industry verticals, including Banking and Financial Services (BFS). Sixteen major service providers already directly engaged with Everest Group are located in this region, enabling different processes across the BFS vertical, including capital markets, banking operations, and financial crime and compliance. Outsourcing adoption across the payment vertical had been growing as well and could be impacted.
The conflict majorly derails Ukraine’s focus on driving Fintech and tech and banking collaboration that started in 2018 with major FinTechs in Ukraine raising US$7 million in funding. In addition to the growing concerns among service providers, the increasing sanctions have already resulted in volume spillover, and firms are starting to become more vigilant in their strategies to brace for the future.
Global supply chain management strategy to consider
Given the latest scenarios and rising political tensions, countries increasingly are investing in shifting their shoring operations to form leaner and more robust supply chains. This move has been underway since nations began reducing their dependencies on China following the COVID outbreak. Japan has been incentivizing such shifts and encouraging private companies to move operations to countries like India, with friendlier ties than China. Taking a similar approach, the US is now limiting its dependencies on Russia for oil and looking to be self-sustainable in the longer run.
On the financial services front, long before the Russia–Ukraine war, countries have been encouraging citizens to limit dependencies on foreign platforms for their financial transactions. This can be seen by Russia’s MIR and China’s UnionPay advocating for using Rupay for all card payments and lessening its dependence on Visa and Mastercard. Yet, Rupay’s technology operations are partially sourced by an American technology provider. Thus, the question of complete independence, reshoring, or nationalization of financial services is rather difficult.
With rising global tension and the downturn of cyclic economic globalization on the horizon, firms need to consider remediation action for the future. Let’s explore some of the global supply chain management strategies to consider for the near- and long-term.
Five global supply management strategies
Below we have identified popular global supply management strategies and their impact on costs and investments:
| || Strategies ||Impact|
|1.||Friend shoring or ally shoring: This form of outsourcing where countries with friendlier diplomatic ties leverage their connection to ensure business continuity is growing. Post-pandemic, it has been imperative for enterprises to focus on business continuity, especially with growing outsourcing demand across industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, etc., and for a wide range of capabilities, including financial accounting, customer experience management, and human resource management.||Short-term strategy|
Reshoring: While not a new concept, reshoring is increasingly being explored now. In 2010, US firms brought back more than 1 million jobs post the economic downturn. Reshoring helps save costs, strengthens a firm’s supply chain, and can even bridge language and cultural gaps. But reshoring is not possible for everyone if resources are limited.
|Long-term strategy and investment|
Talent upskilling: Given the rising talent shortage, upskilling internal resources should be in the cards to provide better leverage and control over internal resources – even without the current tensions.
Partnerships: Partnerships within existing firms in the country should be explored to bring capabilities and processes nearer to home. In addition, partnering enterprises can leverage existing service provider relationships to fill gaps in capabilities. Firms also can form public-private partnerships with governments and state-funded universities to provide skills training and then hire new talents.
Automation: Given the rise in digital transformation and the adoption of newer technologies, an automation-first strategy is imperative. Automation of high-frequency tasks can speed up processes and decrease human dependency on outsourcing partners.
In today’s volatile environment, service providers need to assess and weigh the options before making shoring decisions to maintain a balance between cost competitiveness and labor shortages.
With the current disruptions, reshoring and friend-shoring strategies should be explored in the short term. Moving forward, when the climate is more stable, cost optimization and efficiency should be prioritized. Understanding the issues and balancing short- and long-term global supply chain management strategies will help firms get through this disruptive period.
For more about the successful mix of approaches the industry has been using across various domains, see our State of the Market reports.
Read more about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and potential impacts to nearshore European countries and the larger global services industry in our blog, Will Ukraine’s Invasion Have a Domino Effect on Other Geopolitical Equations?
To discuss global supply chain issues and strategies, contact us.