Over half of businesses rate supply chains their top concern over next six months

Over half of businesses rate supply chains their top concern over next six months

  • Continued supply chain chaos could be on the horizon as a quarter of mid-sized firms are unable to source the goods and materials they need due to post-Brexit customs delays and rising Covid-19 cases in China  

  • With access to labour the second greatest challenge facing businesses in the next six months, 32% are investing in upskilling or retraining to tackle workforce shortages 

Global and domestic supply chain pressures outrank access to labour, rising interest rates and mounting costs as the top concern facing over half (54%) of mid-sized businesses over the next six months, according to latest research from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO. 

The bi-monthly survey – which looks at the challenges and opportunities facing mid-sized businesses – reveals the significant disruption UK businesses must confront, with a third (34%) experiencing delays due to complex customs regulations as a direct result of Brexit. The same number (34%) have seen the cost of goods sourced from the EU increase, while nearly a quarter (24%) have stopped sales to the EU completely. A rising number of COVID-19 cases and recent lockdowns in China have also caused delays for almost two in five businesses (37%). 

While supply chain disruption is the biggest challenge facing firms, increasing costs are also a cause for concern. One in three (34%) report that raw materials and goods have become more expensive. The cost of importing or transporting materials and goods has also climbed for 31% of mid-sized businesses, rising to 40% in the property and construction industries. Most alarmingly, a quarter (25%) of firms are unable to source the goods and materials they need. 

Faced with acute supply chain pressures and rising costs, businesses are taking action. Almost a quarter (23%) are onshoring their supply chain as they seek to reduce their dependence on importing goods or working with overseas suppliers. Even more (28%) are passing on rising costs to customers by increasing prices, with the same number planning to downsize their business to cut costs. With access to labour ranked the second greatest challenge facing mid-sized businesses, skills and remuneration have become a top priority. One in three (32%) are investing in upskilling or retraining staff to tackle the skills gap and workforce shortages. 29% are introducing more flexible working and 33% will increase pay this year, with 8% doing so in line with or above inflation. Meanwhile, 12% are providing separate or one-off payments aimed at supporting employees through the cost-of-living crisis. 

In the face of these challenges, businesses remain determined to drive growth. 36% are seeking new direct investment or equity financing for this reason, while nearly 39% expect to launch new products or services this year.  

Ed Dwan, Partner at BDO said: 

“Medium-sized businesses are battling rising costs, supply chain problems and difficulty accessing labour amid a nationwide skills shortage. Whilst they are striving to remain resilient, existing resources can only go so far to help drive growth or investment in skills and innovation. 

“These businesses are the engine of the UK’s economy and they should not be overlooked. Without the right support to help manage lingering labour and productivity challenges, they could see a knock-on impact on plans for improving productivity in the months ahead.” 


Note to editors 

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world.  

The organisations we work with are Britain’s economic engine –entrepreneurially-spirited, high-growth businesses that fuel the economy.   

We understand the ambitions and entrepreneurial mindset of those we work with and have the global reach, integrity and expertise to help people and businesses succeed.   

BDO LLP operates in 17 offices across the UK, employing 7000 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO international network. 

BDO’s global network 
The BDO global network provides business advisory services in 164 countries and territories, with 111,300 people working out of 1,803 offices worldwide. It has revenues of US$12.8bn. 


Ella Hatfield 
Email: ehatfield@headlandconsultancy.com 
Tel: +44 (0)77 9868 7042 

Verriin Kaur 
Email: vkaur@headlandconsultancy.com 
Tel: +44 (0)77 8676 7582 

BDO Press Office 
Email: media@bdo.co.uk