Gregor van Ackeren

Gregor van Ackeren

Managing Director

Top Trending Topics Q3 2023 – Current developments in mid-sized companies

As part of our quarterly survey of more than 250 entrepreneurs, purchasing managers and SCM managers in SMEs in the DACH region, we have identified the Top Trending Topics for the third quarter of 2023.

ESG requirements continue to dominate the agenda

For Q3 2023, it can be seen that some significant shifts have occurred in the topic complexes. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the extensive administrative tasks associated with the requirements in the ESG environment (environmental, social, governance) continue to make intensive demands on the capacities and resources of companies. Companies are faced with the challenge of meeting the increasing requirements, whether in terms of environmental protection, social responsibility or corporate governance.

With regard to the topic of ESG, we would also like to point out another significant development that is of great relevance to SMEs in particular: the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). This mechanism has a significant impact on the sourcing and administrative reporting process of many companies.

The CBAM was introduced by the European Union as a measure to combat climate change and aims to account for and reduce the carbon footprint of imported products. This means that companies importing products into the EU now have to meet additional requirements in terms of calculating and disclosing their CO2 emissions.

For SMEs, this means that the requirements for transparency and documentation in the sourcing process have increased significantly. Companies not only have to keep an eye on their own emissions, but also ensure that their suppliers in third countries comply with CBAM requirements.

The design and integration of these requirements into the sourcing process, as well as the corresponding administrative reporting, require a thorough review and adaptation of existing processes. This represents an additional challenge that needs to be addressed as part of the ESG effort.

Adconia and Adconterra are aware of these challenges and are happy to assist you in developing customised solutions to meet your needs. We help you integrate the requirements from CBAM into your business processes while achieving your ESG goals. In this context, many companies are increasingly turning to external solution approaches that set clear standards, offer transparency and make long-term economic sense. An outstanding example of this is our subsidiary, Adconterra, which was founded in 2022 and, as a professional service provider and consultancy in the field of sustainability/ESG, offers SME-compatible training, practical solutions and accompanying services.

Shortage of skilled employees remains an ongoing issue

Another dominant issue at all levels of companies continues to be the persistent shortage of skilled personnel, especially in purchasing and supply chain management. The lack of qualified specialists is a complex problem, the reasons for which are manifold. One important cause is globalisation, which has created an increased demand for employees with international experience and intercultural competence. Companies are increasingly looking for employees who are able to operate in a global environment and manage complex, international supply chains.

In addition, the high demands for digital skills are also contributing to the shortage. The ongoing digitalisation of business processes requires employees who not only have a basic understanding of digital technologies, but are also able to use them effectively in workflows.

The increasing complexity of supply chains and rising competitive pressures are also contributing to the difficulty of finding qualified professionals. Companies are increasingly looking for experts who are able to efficiently optimise supply chains while adapting to ever-changing market demands.

Innovative solutions

To address this problem, we recommend conducting potential analyses to identify recurring activities. These activities, if they are not strategic, can be temporarily or permanently outsourced to professional service providers. The advancing digitalisation of many processes shows that physical proximity is not absolutely necessary to ensure a smooth process. Nevertheless, in our view, personal coordination through fixed jours fixes on site remains purposeful and necessary, but can be arranged without problems logistically and in terms of planning.

We are pleased to observe that SMEs are increasingly rethinking and considering creative solutions to counter the shortage of skilled workers in purchasing and supply chain management. Adconia and Adconterra are at your side as reliable partners.

Thank you for reading our Top Trending Topics newsletter and we hope that you will benefit from the information and suggestions. If you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Adconia and Adconterra                                                                  Oberhausen, October 2023