50% of UK manufacturers investing in sustainability for growth

Companies are increasingly prioritising sustainability efforts, ‘green’ power sources and positive social impacts across their supply chain in order to drive business growth and promote ethical sourcing.

Increasing market volatility is leading growing numbers of industrial businesses to invest in sustainable supply chains, according to Epicor’s 2020 Global Growth Index.

The research explores the growth trajectory of companies around the world and provides insight on how business leaders are using technology to support and drive growth initiatives.

A challenge faced by many UK businesses is the lack of visibility into suppliers and customers when needing to change, scale up, or scale down operations. Without visibility and knowledge of external influences, businesses felt unable to react quickly and appropriately to market changes.

However, the research found that organisations in the UK did see the correlation between improving visibility and creating sustainable supply chains with business growth.

Almost half (49%) of companies surveyed said that they are directly investing in sustainability efforts in order to drive business growth and promote ethical sourcing.

Meanwhile, just under a third (32%) are turning to ‘green’ power sources for their operations, and 35% are focusing on making sure they have a positive social impact across the supply chain.

In addition, more than a third (36%) of the UK businesses surveyed recognised that better visibility would help them overcome their business growth challenges in the next 12 months.

With sustainability being front of mind for conscious consumers, UK organisations recognise the need to meet this requirement in their supply chains to be successful, with more than a third (39%) believing that customer trust is key to increasing competitiveness.

Andy Coussins, SVP and Head of International at Epicor, commented: “What we expect to see is demand for more agile and flexible supply chains in the UK.

“We anticipate artificial intelligence and machine learning to start to make an impact in the same way we have seen analytics and big data making a difference. Data-driven operations allow companies to understand their supply chain, their relationships with customers, partners and suppliers, in a way which they have never before.

“With these new in-depth insights, they can plan to optimise all along the chain to reach sustainability goals and react much quicker to external factors.”

When asked about key technology trends that businesses could see emerging over the next 12-18 months, 5G (36%) and AI/ML (27%) were said to have the largest direct impact on future growth in their industry.

On what played the greatest role in creating a positive influence for business growth over the past 12 months, technology and IT infrastructure (33.9%) was the highlight for those surveyed.