Supply Chains Under Stress

Will COVID-19 trigger a great unravelling?

An Oxford Analytica Conference Call

October 21, 2020, 15.00 UK / 10:00 EDT

Supply chains were evolving in the face of multiple pressures before the COVID-19 pandemic, but a number of high-profile disruptions caused by factory closures and government action this year have strained them greatly -- and put the issue high on the agenda of governments and companies.

In the quest for greater resilience, several options exist. Supply chains could become more regional, rather than global. Supply sourcing could widen, or redundancy could be added through replication of supply chains. Reshoring is an option too. For some sectors, certain options are not affordable. In aggregate, the choices made will determine the extent to which foreign direct investment and value-added economic activity is redistributed globally. Yet amid the competing pressures brought on by COVID-19, environmental imperatives, technological developments and trade conflicts, as well as deindustrialisation, it is not always clear which problem a company or government aims to solve by changing supply-chain arrangements.

Our panel will analyse the choices and challenges ahead and consider the following questions:

  • Which sectors have been most impacted by COVID-19 disruption, and will it be the same or different sectors that see the most substantial changes to their business models, patterns of demand, and supply chains after the pandemic?
  • Does the concern over rising tariffs and export bans overshadow a potentially bigger problem, namely growing divergence in national regulatory frameworks?

  • How are robust supply chains established; how will investment in technology and sustainability considerations alter supply chain decisions and in which sectors will these considerations be most likely to result in changes?

  • To what extent will greater stockpiling and a shift from just-in-time to just-in-case lessen the need to alter supply chains?

  • At the company level, how will a push for greater resilience relate to the existing agenda for advances on ESG within the supply chain?


James Zahn, Director of Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD, Lead, World Investment Report & World Investment Forum & UN SSE

Chris Rogers, Research Analyst, Global Supply Chains, S&P Global Market Intelligence

Kate Vitasek, Lead Researcher, Global Supply Chain Institute, University of Tennessee

Join Oxford Analytica’s experts for this discussion and share your questions and perspectives in our client conference call on global supply chain trends at 15.00 BST / 10:00 EDT on October 21 2020.

Join us to put your questions to our experts.

Chair: Dr Nicholas Redman, Director of Analysis

More details coming soon