A supply chain is a complex network of businesses, people, activities and resources. Before 2020, disruptions to smooth logistics operations, like political instability, product delays and trade wars, were more predictable. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, supply chains were faced with a number of unprecedented issues. Empty shelves at supermarkets were just the tip of the iceberg; the real logistics challenges had only just begun.
Shopify has recently published a great report about The Future of Shipping and Logistics. We’re reflecting on some key takeaways of the report and other useful industry insights in a 3 part series – here’s part 1.
The new normal
Today, while many industries are returning to business as usual, freight forwarding and international trade are still facing significant challenges.
Market conditions are expected to continue to be volatile, fueled by shortages of energy, raw materials, labour and even shipping containers.
Experts believe the logistics market will have to deal with disruptions and uncertainties for the rest of 2022, and predict that it might start to “normalise” in late 2023, at the earliest.
Vulnerabilities in the way we produce, ship and deliver goods have been exposed. If businesses want to continue to be competitive in the current market conditions, they need to rethink their stock, shipping and fulfilment strategies.
As Explorate co-founder Conor Hagan says:
“Supply chains have had to evolve rapidly over the past 2 years and we are seeing those who are able to find the right balance of stock on hand while being agile enough to change with their customer needs winning more customers than their competitors. That type of competitive supply chain is what we strive to create with our customers”Conor Hagan
The pandemic changed consumers’ shopping and spending habits. Digital adoption surged across all industries, as did uptake of new shopping methods such as home delivery or in-store pickup.
The pandemic also made customers much more aware of how supply chains work and how much they can affect their everyday life. But their expectations haven’t changed: they still want their goods delivered reliably and on time.
Competition moving up a gear
The upshot is that many businesses are using these challenges as an opportunity to drive innovation and improvement.
They know that if they want to thrive in the new logistics landscape, they need to build more robust supply chains. To do this, they’re focusing on:
- Digitalising their supply chain.
- Becoming more transparent to help set expectations and retain new customers.
- Decentralising fulfilment processes.
- Becoming more sustainable to obtain long-term growth.
Experts estimate that major disruptions to production will continue to occur every 3.7 years on average. This means that global supply chains have had a major shift in their risk profile, becoming a priority and a top-of-mind concern for businesses.
The Explorate Platform helps you build a resilient, transparent and flexible supply chain, in order to navigate this ‘new normal’.
If you’re already an Explorate customer, check in with your designated operations specialist to see how we can help you be better prepared for the new normal in logistics. If you’re not with us yet but are interested in digitising your logistics operations, get in touch to arrange a free demonstration.