Supply chain issues improving

Supply chain problems and price increases caused by the pandemic have impacted most of our daily lives. We’re feeling the effects in many areas, but especially in the cost of our groceries and fuel.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to discover that three-quarters of the companies surveyed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in February reported increases in their own business costs.

And more than one-third of these businesses (37%) said they experienced supply chain disruption in February.

But that’s a major improvement from the previous month. Almost half of Australia’s companies (47%) said they were having trouble in January.

Here are some key numbers in the latest ABS Business Conditions and Sentiments survey:

  • 88% reported increased time to receive products from suppliers
  • 80% said existing suppliers were unable to provide products
  • 75% had to pay increased prices (e.g. transport costs)
  • 50% were unable to source or substitute alternate suppliers for products

The Head of Industry Statistics at the ABS, John Shepherd, said while supply issues had eased they “still remain at elevated levels”.

Positively, the survey says the pain of COVID-related absenteeism has eased. Only 15% of companies said they had staff fall sick with the virus, compared with 22% in January.  

Mr Shepherd said: “Large businesses were more than four times as likely to report these absences (58%) compared with small businesses (14%).”

A total 35% of small businesses said they couldn’t cover for sick staff compared with 15% of large businesses.