After the grand reopening of the economy, growth momentum softened over the summer amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. But with greater vaccination coverage allowing for lighter restrictions, we still expect global growth to remain strong in 2021 and 2022, even if the recovery will be uneven. As companies prime their supply chains and prepare to seize new trading opportunities, it’s important to note that the pandemic has transformed many of the conventional ways of doing business, forever.

Here we highlight five ways in which companies are adjusting their business models in order to thrive post-pandemic.

For more than a decade, companies have evolved long and increasingly lean supply chains in a bid to drive value. The pandemic has revealed weaknesses in extended value chains. Long supply chains have pushed up prices and created bottlenecks, preventing companies from restocking their inventories and meeting increasing customer demand.

This challenging trading environment has the potential to trigger supplier late delivery or default, and further threaten cash flow. Companies with the agility to shorten, diversify and add extra capacity to their supply chains in the short term will have a unique advantage over their less agile competitors.


Percentage of companies that say they cover themselves against a sharply increasing risk in the supply chain by shortening the chain, increasing stocks and taking out credit insurance.

Increased ecommerce adoption is one of the business megatrends emerging from the pandemic. Faced with shuttered premises, suppliers of goods and services across every sector have been forced to grow their digital sales channels, and this trend is set to continue long after Covid-19 infection rates dwindle.

New research by McKinsey & Company suggests that more than three-quarters of B2B buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-service and remote human engagement rather than face-to-face interactions. Only 20% of buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in areas where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products.

The pandemic has hastened a global rise in remote working for knowledge-based organisations. The switch from office to ‘work from anywhere’ brings significant benefits, including the ability to reduce or eliminate real estate costs and improved productivity gains, while workers can benefit from less time spent commuting and geographic flexibility.

Many organisations were already experimenting with remote working prior to the pandemic, but the crisis has accelerated their plans to adopt new working arrangements for all or part of their workforces.

The pandemic has dramatically rewritten the way governments react to global crises. Thanks to additional liquidity from states, relaxed insolvency rules and goodwill between companies, corporate insolvency rates have been below pre-pandemic levels.

This intervention has helped avoid a cliff-edge scenario, but it has led to an ongoing challenge of how best to remove state support without causing adverse withdrawal symptoms. Businesses must therefore prepare themselves for a normalisation in corporate insolvency rates as state support starts to be withdrawn.

Real-time supply chain data not only allows organisations to spot supply issues before they can escalate, but it also enables businesses to identify payment and trading relationship risks, so they can secure cash flow and delivery of goods. The pandemic has clearly shown that in uncertain times, where demand is volatile, and supply is uncertain and capacity is short, real-time visibility across your supply chains is vital.