The Association for Supply Chain Management outlines the top trends that all shippers should be paying attention to this year.
The global pandemic changed the world’s supply chains forever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Along with the toll that it took on human health and life, the pandemic also created pain points like shipping delays, unprecedented levels of port congestion, container shortages and other challenges that companies have been working through since 2020.
Along the way, the pandemic also forced many organizations to rethink their supply chain strategies and come up with more adaptable and resilient approaches that can withstand the current pandemic plus any disruption that may be lurking around the next corner. For help navigating these complexities, many companies turned to technology and digital transformation.
10 Trends to Watch
Whether they were already progressing down the digital transformation path or pushed onto it by pandemic-related forces, companies soon began to see how technology could help them navigate a “perfect storm” of obstacles without the need to hire more employees in the midst of a labor shortage.
“Industries across the globe continue to battle the Great Supply Chain Disruption. They’re striving to optimize execution, diminish risk, improve dexterity and identify ways to gain a real competitive advantage,” the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) points out in 10 Supply Chain Trends to Watch for in 2022.
“To achieve these goals,” ASCM states, “it will be essential to overcome today’s intense labor challenges, maximize the latest digital transformation capabilities, streamline sourcing and inventory management, prioritize customer centricity, and much more.”
Companies also need insights that help them make good logistics, transportation and supply chain decisions. To help, ASCM outlined top 10 trends that all companies should be monitoring and embracing in 2022. They are:
- Advanced analytics and automation. Advanced analytics and automation will continue to accelerate, helping organizations mitigate disruption via digital, agile supply chain management, the group reports.
- A smaller supply chain talent pool. Organizations are going to have to get creative about how they attract, reskill and retain talent, as “traditional approaches may not be as relevant to future supply chain needs,” ASCM states.
- Supply chain visibility. “Visibility will be a key objective for organizations under pressure to achieve true transformation, satisfy customers and capture new markets,” ASCM states, noting that the ability to track and trace goods to the source is increasingly expected by consumers, and that the internet of things (IoT) will both continue revolutionizing real-time visibility. “Look for new business models and heightened trust and collaboration within and beyond organizational boundaries,” it adds.
- Ecommerce boom. ASCM says ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment will continue to shape the way organizations identify and establish key priorities, creating challenges with regards to scale and network efficiency while producing new opportunities to gain competitive advantage.
- Supply chain resilience. “Supply chain resilience will continue to require data expertise, novel solutions and strong collaboration among global networks that are highly complex and interconnected,” ASCM predicts.
- Supply chain agility. Agility will be an essential factor in creating flexible networks that can effectively respond to dynamic customer demand and ever-increasing uncertainty.
- Digital supply chains. They’ll continue to be essential elements of numerous trends on this list, including visibility, resilience and agility. ASCM also says that the adoption of blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning will “meaningfully improve decision-making.”
- Cybersecurity. Expect greater collaboration when safeguarding networks, devices, people and programs. “In addition,” ASCM adds, “more organizations will choose to invest in redundancy, firewalls, and advanced antihacking technologies and employee training.”
- Customer-centricity. ASCM expects the supply chains that find ways to meet today’s escalating and intense customer expectations at the lowest cost will prevail.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning. Both are foundational to integrating people, processes and systems in a wide array of operational environments. “As machines learn,” ASCM explains, “improved insights will be discovered, leading to significant transformation, advancement and competitive advantage.”