2024 Supply chain industry trends: 4 Must-Know for Managers
The playing field beneath supply chains is always challenging. According to a report by Wall Street Journal, disruptions will continue to haunt supply chains. Geopolitical tensions will be more prominent and affect material sourcing, distribution, and global trade. The traditional network management methods are not enough in a period marked by frequent disruption, swift digitization, and increasing consumer expectations.
As we dive deeper into 2024, the once-familiar paths have given way to unknown territories, leaving decision-makers with the pressing question: what’s next? Apart from the lingering shadows of geopolitics, we give you four trends you should know to help you navigate the industry.
Four supply chain industry trends
A complex interplay of technology, sustainability, and resilience will shape the supply chain in 2024. The top supply chain industry trends spearhead these revolutionary changes, which range from the increasing emphasis on ethical behavior to the ongoing integration of cutting-edge technologies. Understanding and implementing these trends will significantly affect distribution, procurement, and logistics tactics.
1. Electric Vehicles, Transport, and Logistics
One wouldn’t be surprised to learn that electric vehicles will be one of the supply chain industry trends in 2024. Logistics is a rapidly changing industry. Some components of transportation and logistics networks are being future-proofed. How is it happening? There’s a growing usage of autonomous vehicles and the automation of ports and warehouses. More businesses are committing to reducing their emissions. As battery technology advances, expect more electric vehicles.
Businesses will speed up the electrification and automation of the logistics transport value chain. That is particularly noticeable in areas still expensive or labor-intensive, such as last-mile delivery and air freight processing. Similarly, self-driving cars will be almost ready to transition from controlled environments to fully automated operations on public roads.
The development of AI, IoT, data analytics, and cloud computing could be implemented across various use cases. Experts and analysts believe that adopting smart logistics and transportation will surge. Traditional route optimization will also be streamlined. Machine learning, predictive analytics, and sensing capabilities will significantly improve network efficiency and the customer experience.
2. Enhanced Cybersecurity Protocols
As more businesses explore tech tools and connect their supply chains to the cloud, the risk of cyberattacks increases. A 2023 survey by the digital group Bitkom found that all other logistics companies in Germany increased their IT security protocols. The majority of businesses place a high premium on managing IT security. The poll shows nine out of ten have board-management-level responsibility for the subject. Prominent corporations have also been conducting regular security assessments.
Online security training is a must. Though cyber security measures have advanced, human nature remains the weak link. Cyberattacks have demonstrated that even big businesses with highly skilled IT personnel may suffer day-long downtime and damage. Cybercriminals can now obtain sensitive data because of industries’ growing networking and digitalization. This risk makes cybersecurity more relevant, particularly in logistics and supply chain management. Hence, cybersecurity makes it to the top four supply chain industry trends, and companies should find a way to combat the risks.
According to research by the Association of Supply Chain Managers (ASCM), reshoring or nearshoring of suppliers has also gained attention in recent years. And that’s mainly because of COVID-19 and manufacturing disruptions in China. Nearshoring/reshoring was the 10th in ASCM’s priority list, and perhaps a top contender in supply chain industry trends lists.
Reshoring, or moving production back to a company’s country of origin, has several advantages, and one is lower logistical costs due to closer proximity and a faster time to market. On the other hand, nearshoring means moving an establishment’s production to a nearby country.
The risks associated with multinational corporations’ over-reliance on specific locales for manufacturing and procurement are increasing. Trade wars and geopolitical events complicate relations between major economies. Due to the rift between China and the USA, many American companies have left China and now depend on countries like Vietnam and Mexico to manufacture their products.
Additionally, businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic diversified their sourcing regions to shorten the geographic gap between their production and customer base. Many chose to relocate their manufacturing capacity closer to home. As a result, transport-related disruptions to their supplies have decreased.
4. Extensive Visibility and Traceability
The accuracy of cloud-based technologies in facilitating end-to-end supply chain visibility continues to be a top contender in supply chain industry trends. In a McKinsey poll, 45% of supply chain executives said risk management was complex because they had little insight into their upstream supply chain. In 2024, supply chain industry trends, AI, and cloud-based solutions will significantly resolve this issue.
Supply chain managers will have easier access to real-time information on orders, inventory, deliveries, and delays. Location intelligence will also provide crucial context regarding the status and whereabouts of shipments. It enhances the ability to predict future conditions based on historical delays, traffic, and weather patterns in logistics. You can be alerted to port and highway bottlenecks, making route adjustments simple and easy.
The supply chain environment is changing at an unprecedented rate. Technological breakthroughs and a changing global environment redefine how supply chains function and adjust to obstacles. Position your company for success in the dynamic and complicated environment of modern supply chain management by embracing these trends and utilizing cloud-based solutions.
Aratum is ready to update your business with the latest supply chain industry trends. Manage all your processes, deliveries, and inventory on one digital console. Book a demo today and see how your supply chain can change in 2024.
*Featured image courtesy of freepik