Emily John – Changing the Channel in 2023

The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and the Russia-Ukraine War have drastically disrupted the global supply chain and caused major upheaval across the world. This has particularly been felt by companies in the technology channel which rely on manufacturers being able to produce their products and services for onward sale to customers. The disruption has had a wide-ranging effect on businesses of all sizes, leading to a slowdown in production, difficulty in sourcing raw materials, as well as interference with shipping and delivery services. 

The most notable challenge in today’s supply chain is the emergence of bottlenecks. This has resulted in a strain on business operations, causing delays in the delivery of products and services. Without a reliable supply of goods, Channel businesses are unable to fulfil customer demand, ultimately leading to a drop in sales.

What’s more, these market challenges have negatively impacted the prices of goods and services, resulting in margin compression for businesses in the Technology Channel. As companies scramble to compete in a crisis-ridden industry, they are forced to reduce costs and offer lower prices to customers. This places added strain on the Channel, as margins thin and profits take a drastic hit. 

On top of all these issues, Channel leaders are struggling with an ongoing lack of visibility within the supply chain. This has led to inaccurate forecasting, leading to pricing and supply difficulties, as well as extended delivery times. 

Channel businesses are also faced with adapting to changing consumer needs. With customers adjusting their behaviour and preferences, organisations have had to accelerate digital transformation to meet the demands of their end-users. Not only does this result in changes in product selection and pricing, but it also requires the introduction of new digital channels from ground zero. All of these changes can be particularly costly for Channel businesses, with added costs in terms of training, research and development, and technology implementation. 

All in all, the disruption to the supply chain has had a drastic effect on the Channel. From supply chain bottlenecks to margin compression, and dealing with a lack of visibility to changing consumer needs, businesses in the Technology Channel are having to grapple with a number of unwieldy issues.

Organisations in the space can mitigate these disruptions by maintaining (and if necessary opening new) lines of communication with customers and the wider market. The use of social media, advertising, direct marketing and simple website news updates, alongside proactive interaction with journalists and influencers will help improve transparency. The most visible will survive, versus those Channel businesses which don’t promote themselves and may well sink without trace.

The future of the Channel remains uncertain, but with the right strategies, the right routes to market and the maintenance of open channels of communication with their markets and customers, businesses in the Technology Channel can overcome the challenges posed by supply chain disruption.