Currently, the logistics industry is facing a rather unique situation due to the extraordinary demand for workers and goods alike. This situation, complicated by a variety of other factors, has created a backup that has led to extended delays and continually rising prices.
The question is: what will all of these issues look like in regard to supply chain management trends as we move into 2022?
From supply chain worker shortages to solving the current supply chain capacity issues, let's take a look at the top 5 supply chain management trends we can expect to see being adopted just around the corner...
Working around human and resource shortages
With a rather large worker shortage looming over the logistics industry, it is now more important than ever to make sure that our supply chain workers feel seen, heard, and taken care of. Right now is the optimal time to go above and beyond for your employees. It will do more good than you may realize when it comes to increasing employee retention, and right now, everyone is struggling a bit to retain their current employees let alone bringing new workers into the field.
Ask your workers what they need in order to better streamline their daily tasks, consider offering competitive wages if you are able to do so, and start implementing more automation if you haven't already. When your workers are well-equipped to do their jobs and are compensated properly, you have laid the foundation for solid employee retention.
By increasing automation within your supply chain you may find that you are able to better optimize your capacity as your automated tools are capable of handling the many small tasks in-between, freeing up your workers to dedicate their focus to larger, more intricate tasks.
Looking for a job in the logistics industry where you feel valued as a critical component of a larger team? Redwood Logistics is currently looking to fill a variety of positions that you can find sorted by location on this page.
Taking advantage of robotic technology
With staffing being an issue at the moment, robotics are in high demand. Companies are asking automated systems to pick up the slack everywhere from warehouses to deliveries. Robotic tools can take on tasks that are easy and repetitive... and they can typically do so at a much faster rate than any human. Leveraging robotic platforms may quickly cut down on costs while immediately making things quite a bit more efficient.
AI, for instance, is already making huge leaps and bounds in terms of accuracy in the field of demand forecasting. The future of logistics, contrary to where we are at currently, actually looks very bright with no small thanks to advancements in both machine learning and AI platforms.
Eco-friendliness and the race to reach zero emissions is increasing in popularity, but these aren’t just trendy buzzwords. Consumers are stepping up to do their part to live more sustainable lifestyles and they’re expecting to see their favorite businesses and corporations do the same.
Some popular moves toward an eco-friendly existence are:
Going carbon neutral
Smarter vehicle assignment to optimize CO2 emissions
Further down the road, we may even see a move toward electric trucks or another sustainable trucking alternatives. Currently, the benefits don't outweigh the costs to do this on a massive scale just yet. However, we are getting closer with every passing year.
Creating circular supply chains
A circular supply chain, as the name implies, is a system in which items or goods flow in a circular direction. This can be seen in incentivized recycling programs that some companies have adopted as yet another push toward better environmental awareness. But as it applies specifically to the supply chain, it takes on a more micro sort of view.
In regards to the supply chain, the items that make up your circular supply chain are the items you or your workers use every day. From paper waste to the padding you add in packing, it all adds up... yet, it all can also be minimized or supplemented for a better alternative altogether.
While we may not see this loop totally closed in 2022, we will see much more traction made in the right direction.
This demand-capacity imbalance is not something that is likely to clear up by the end of 2021 or even well into 2022, so thinking out your moves into next year should be done with this consideration in mind. With costs currently soaring for brands to source their once common materials, it’s going to be important to keep a close eye on both asset utilization and the ability to prioritize shipments.