As the business world strides into the new year, the intricate web of supply chains remains a focal point for organizations spanning diverse industries. Logistics, transportation, and supply chain professionals grapple with a myriad of trends, challenges, and opportunities, including the ever-growing influence of artificial intelligence, labor shortages, escalating costs, reshoring dynamics, sustainability imperatives, and mounting regulatory complexities.
While the continuation of established trends is anticipated, new issues are rising to prominence, capturing the attention of supply chain professionals. A recent survey by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) sheds light on the top three trends that industry experts believe will shape the supply chain landscape in 2024, as reported by our affiliated publication, Thomas Insights.
- Digital Supply Chains Take Center Stage: In a notable shift, the concept of big data and analytics relinquishes its top spot to make way for the ascent of the digital supply chain as the most significant trend. With antiquated paper processes becoming obsolete, the adoption of digital tools promises enhancements in streamlining, resilience, and agility. Supply chain leaders leveraging digital technologies are poised to better navigate dynamically changing orders. According to ASCM, the coming year will witness more organizations transforming their networks into connected, intelligent, scalable, customizable, and nimble digital ecosystems. Some will undergo holistic digital transformations, while others will gradually advance by balancing long-term investments in automation with immediate solutions to reduce repetitive tasks and cognitive fatigue.
- Strategic Investments in Supply Chains: A newcomer to the ASCM list, rapidly ascending to prominence, is the focus on supply chain investments in both systems and people. This underscores the growing recognition among corporate leaders of the value in prioritizing supply chains. The infusion of talent and technological tools is seen as crucial for ensuring visibility and, ultimately, success.
- Relocation Strategies Unfold: The trend of relocation takes center stage as companies increasingly prioritize resilience and growth. Research by Accenture reveals that the most resilient companies outperformed their counterparts by capturing 3.6% more growth. Reshoring reaches record levels, and companies are turning to local sources for their supply chain needs. Accenture’s research indicates that by 2026, a substantial 85% of companies plan to manufacture and sell products within the same region, mitigating vulnerabilities arising from highly globalized supply chains in recent years.
In navigating the uncertainties of supply chains, practitioners are placing a renewed emphasis on financial investments, talent acquisition, and aggressive strategic planning. Stability is the linchpin for better business outcomes and increased opportunities on the horizon. The International Centre for Trade Transparency and Monitoring remains vigilant in observing these evolving trends that shape the intricate tapestry of global trade.