Despite supply chain disruptions, Dutch companies continue to go their own way


IT service provider links interest rate of financing to sustainability ambitions, Dutch supply chain

  • 83% of Dutch companies experience supply chain disruptions
  • 88% are confident in their company's resilience
  • 69% are convinced that by implementing a reliable system they can overcome problems
  • 90% of companies see supplier diversification as a core strategy
  • 84% are switching to local suppliers and 80% to cheaper suppliers
  • Companies worry about price increases on critical components (61%), inflation (52%) and recession (52%)

Amsterdam, Nov. 6, 2023 - Parts shortages and supply chain chaos have long been part of daily life in Dutch manufacturing. Hopes that markets and supply chains will soon ease up are greatly diminished. Supply chain disruptions still keep 83 percent of Dutch industrial companies in suspense. For the third year in a row, 250 Dutch decision makers from various industrial sectors were surveyed for the Supply Chain report commissioned by reichelt elektronik.

We remain positive
Almost half (45%) of decision-makers in Dutch industry believe that the situation will improve in the future. This is less than in previous years, in 2021 more than two-thirds were still positive about the future and the year before this was 48 percent. However, survey respondents do have confidence in their own company's resilience (88 percent), although the majority (52 percent) agree that their company has suffered significant losses over the past three years. Also, 59% fear the economic risk their company faces when major shortages of certain components occur. By implementing a reliable system, they believe they can overcome supply chain problems (69%).

Measures are bearing fruit
Supplies of materials are becoming scarce, deliveries are being delayed or cancelled altogether. As a result, production in the Netherlands often comes to a standstill. Nevertheless, the results of this year's survey show an improvement over previous years: while there was an average of 38 days of production downtime in 2021 and an average of 47 days in 2022, in 2023 companies were only able to avoid production for 30 days. Even 19 percent of those surveyed did not have to stop work at all despite the obstacles. This result impressively demonstrates the success of the measures taken in the past 12 months.

Dutch entrepreneur spreads the odds and goes local and cheap
A new and popular trend to overcome supply chain bottlenecks and build or maintain resilience was highlighted in reichelt elektronik's Supply Chain report this year. A majority of companies (90%) see supplier diversification as a core strategy. More and more companies are working with multiple suppliers for certain components and raw materials. Also onshoring, i.e. working with local suppliers, is an important strategy (84%) to become independent from global trade and political turmoil. Switching to cheaper suppliers is also high on the list (80%).

Combining just-in-time with stock replenishment
Increasing inventories remains a popular countermeasure taken to combat supply bottlenecks. In 2021, 49 percent of companies followed this strategy, up from 64 percent in 2022. This year, some 39 percent are still doing so by increasing inventories of critical components. Another 42 percent plan to increase this further in the next 12 months. In detail, this includes hardware component and electronic component manufacturing, construction, automotive and utilities, where about a third of companies rely on this measure.

Over a third of those surveyed have returned to the just-in-time concept in the past 12 months. Yet they also continue to stock their warehouses with key components. In particular, the automotive, electronics, hardware, and utilities industries rely on this combination. The return to just-in-time confirms the results of the 2022 reichelt survey, in which 70% of companies could envision themselves relying on this strategy again.

Companies fear price increases, continued inflation and the recession
Despite the continued unstable supply chain, sourcing of components and materials has improved significantly over the past two years, with only 36 percent still struggling to obtain certain components or materials. In early 2022, 80 percent said they had faced this the previous year. Price increases for critical components in the future are especially feared and have risen sharply, from 30 percent of companies in 2022 to 61 percent this year. Concerns about inflation (53%) are strong, and general recession (52%) is also seen as a risk factor.

Global events impact supply chain
While in 2021 there was still hope for the light at the end of the tunnel - at that time the end of the corona pandemic - the economic and political situation in the Netherlands and worldwide has come to a head: conflicts in the East and Middle East, general recession and inflation, as well as increased workloads due to environmental regulations and the new supply chain law, pose a major potential threat to Dutch industrial companies. In particular, 52 percent of respondents from Dutch industry attribute a major impact on world trade to the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Desire for independence
The desire for independence is pervasive in 2023, with the majority of companies (78 percent) hoping for more official political support for Dutch research projects such as the production of semiconductors or other essential components to remain competitive and become more self-sufficient. In 2022, only 36 percent favored it and in 2021 it was only 27 percent. 69 percent would like to specialize more in new technology branches in the future because they see better opportunities to expand technology leadership there, for example in quantum technology (60 percent).

About the survey
The survey was conducted by the independent institute OnePoll among 250 participants from the Netherlands. The survey was conducted in October 2023. Respondents were technical decision makers from the manufacturing sector, including aerospace, automotive, textile, hardware components, manufacturing and fabrication, electronic components, transportation and shipping, utility suppliers and mechanical engineering.

©Infographic: reichelt elektronik

About reichelt elektronik
reichelt elektronik GmbH is one of Europe's largest online distributors for electronics and IT technology with more than 130,000 products. Even for small orders, reichelt elektronik offers customers around the world excellent value for money, optimal stock and short delivery times. Both private and business customers will find a wide range of building elements, development boards such as single-board computers, household and safety technology, and workshop supplies in the webshop. In addition, the range includes elements for lighting and measurement technology, PC and network technology, and power supply.

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