In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chains are adapting to a new post-pandemic world. However, 2023 brings a fresh set of challenges for companies, including an emerging energy crisis, rampant inflation, and recessionary pressures, leading to a landscape of uncertainty and disruption. This raises questions about what lies ahead for the global supply chain. To answer this question, here are the top six supply chain trends to keep an eye on this year.
1. Automation: As companies strive to reduce manual labor and increase efficiency, automation is becoming more crucial in the supply chain industry. Predictions show that warehouse automation will grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2024 and 2027.
2. Data Analytics: In the supply chain sector’s continuous digitalization, data analytics will play a growing role in process optimization. Predictive modeling and AI-driven optimization algorithms are being widely used to understand customers’ needs, enabling better production or inventory management, pricing strategies, logistics planning, and more.
3. Sustainability: Sustainability is becoming more critical in supply chain operations as customers and buyers become more environmentally conscious. With this, suppliers are expected to demonstrate their sustainability principles across their entire business model, such as responsible sourcing, the use of renewable energy, and reducing emissions during transportation and storage of goods.
4. Digitalization of Logistics: Digitalization of logistics operations such as cloud computing, IoT devices, mobile applications, RFID tags, blockchain networks, and more is increasingly being embraced as companies seek to reduce costs while maintaining supply chain efficiency. These technologies streamline processes, including warehouse management or tracking shipments with real-time updates from all stakeholders involved in the process, leading to more efficient logistics operations.
5. Collaborative Networks: Companies within an industry or even across industries are forming collaborative networks to better coordinate stakeholders and optimize supply chain operations. Such collaborative networks allow firms to share resources like warehouses or transportation services, resulting in cost savings.
6. Inventory Management: While inventory management has always been an essential supply chain operation, new technologies make it easier for companies to monitor inventory levels in real-time, leading to faster response times when dealing with fluctuations in demand or changes in customer preferences.
Alex Minett, Head of Product and Markets at CHAS, suggests these trends as key indicators of what lies ahead for the global supply chain sector. Through effective implementation of these trends, companies can better adapt to changing market environments and steer their supply chains to success.