Global supply chain experts are optimistic about what the new year holds for supply chain management in the online shopping world. During a Project44 webinar, experts say the focus will be digitalization and automation technology.
“At the end of the day, we try to compete in this global market,” says Professor Richard Wilding, supply chain innovator at Cranfield University. He says the industry needs to understand how much it costs to serve customers. Because if it doesn’t, the sector can lose money, which could have a dire impact on the country’s economy.
Wilding believes a few things should be focused on in the next few months.
- Technology and digitalization
- Sustainability in environment and governance
- Multi-polar world of power and influence
- Global economic inflation and consumer loss of buying power
But he warns that it’s a double-edged sword: “Unfortunately, economic sustainability is critical. If nobody has money, you won’t be able to save the planet.”
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Companies will get penalized if they neglect the environment or, in general, fail in good governance. It will become more challenging for businesses to get loans from banks or investment capital.
Germany is already implementing supply chain laws. From the start of this year, the German Supply Chain Act is obliging businesses to “identify and account for their impact on human rights – such as forced and child labor, forced evictions, oil pollution and land grabbing – across overseas direct suppliers and, when necessary, also indirect suppliers,” says the European Coalition for corporate justice.
One notch up
With the right technology tools, the supply chain can be transformed to be more reliable and exceptional, says Thomas Panholzer, vice president at Lenzing.
E-commerce needs to be “faster, more automated, and digitized,” says Panholzer. “I think it’s an opportunity and a golden ticket for [the industry] to redefine what supply chain services mean and how we can stay on top of the competition or even lead in the industry,” says an excited Panholzer.
Reports suggest the logistics industry will have a significant sustainability shift next year. According to Megatrans, investments in this space will “skyrocket. ”While supply chains have settled in, stock levels have risen, and logistics companies are channeling their investments to sustainability.”
Next year, another change that will gain attraction is the global move to digitalization through paperless shipping. Forbes reports that inflation is “not yet low enough that shippers can increase their revenue and profits without increasing costs.”
With fuel prices on the rise, more volatility can be expected for next year.
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