Supply chain disruption tempers sector’s optimism

An optimistic sector with record levels of respondents (98%) seeing demand either maintained or increasing was an encouraging finding from The Winter Report 2021/22, which is undertaken by independent research house IX Consulting and commissioned by BCS, (Business Critical Solutions) the specialist services provider to the digital infrastructure industry. It captures the views of over 3000 senior datacentre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users.

However, despite these findings – the highest levels of confidence since the survey began 14 years ago - there are real concerns within the industry about how to deliver this capacity against a backdrop of a shortage of key skills and the ongoing disruption in the supply chain. In fact 91% of respondents had experienced some issues over the past 12 months. Disruptions were felt the hardest amongst our build professionals, with 69% of developer/investor respondents and 62% of design engineering and construction respondents reporting that in 2021 they had experienced significant supply chain volatility.

James Hart, CEO at BCS, said: “These well documented supply problems have led to delayed deliveries and higher prices. They are widespread and there is a general reduction in the supply and the reliability of supply visible in our sectors. There are massive dislocations in the container market, shipping routes, ports, air cargo, trucking lines, railways and even warehouses. The result is shortages of key manufacturing components, order backlogs, delivery delays and a spike in transportation costs and consumer prices.

“Covid 19 has not only exacerbated these issues but has also brought about a shift in how we look at current supply chains. Certainly, more companies and governments are reviewing their supply chains for critical items, with a mind towards security of supply as well as cost. Our expectation and recent experience is that supply chains are already shortening as a response to Covid, either via reshoring, or as companies try to diversify their sources of supply. We at BCS are helping clients through this process and have mapped supply chains associated with the deployment of data centres.”

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