Top 25 Issues Impacting Global Supply Chains – Part I

Global supply chains are undergoing universal and transformative changes. We are entering a new era of disruption that’s both exciting and risky. Disruption can be both constructive and destructive.

Pre-pandemic times were more stable and predictable. But prior to the pandemic that began to change. We saw rising global competition, emerging technologies, and increasing risk surface.

Then as the pandemic struck, all that accelerated.

Listed below are 12 of the 25 top issues impacting the post-pandemic period. (Look for the remaining 13 issues impacting global supply chains on October 5, 2021.)

1 – Agility.  Global supply chains must be flexible, nimble, and responsive. They must be able to adapt and change course at a moment’s notice. Agility can help your supply chain keep daily operations on track. It can also help you avoid disruptions. And both promote excellent customer service. Successful supply chains of the future will be agile supply chains.

2 – Constrained Capacity.  Worldwide capacity shortages are having an enormous negative effect on supply chains. They’re wreaking havoc at every level of the supply chain, making seamless flows elusive. Capacity constraints affect timely distribution creating supply shortages and impacting customer satisfaction. There’s no easy answer for this disruption.

3 – Covid-19/Delta variant. The pandemic was a gamechanger. It still is, as we’re seeing with the spread of the Delta variant. The former resulted in shutdowns and lockdowns. The latter, meanwhile, threatens to retard economic activity just as the economy began to recover. GDP projections already show manufacturing slowing down.

4 – Customer Service.  This will never be the same. Providers of goods and services are losing leverage over consumers. That’s evident at every level of supply chains. Customer inputs inform product design. They set quality criteria. And they impose cost and service standards that are at odds with each other. Power is shifting to consumers.

5 – Cyberattacks.  They are a potential but threating supply chain weakness lurking beneath the surface. Cyber security reflects supply chain’s Achilles Heel. Now, however, you cannot discuss supply chain management without discussing cybersecurity. It’s more than a concern – it has become an absolute necessity. Witness the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS Foods, and Kia Motors.

6 – Data Digitization.  With the rise of automation, businesses must digitize their data. That includes historical data, operational data, and financial data. Companies must apply digitization to structured and unstructured data. And they must do so across internal and external platforms. Doing so will enhance data sharing, data analysis, and predictive supply chain planning.

7 – Data Transformation.  Data transformation concerns how businesses will use their data. To leverage data effectively and efficiently, data must first be digitized. That simplifies usage. Data transformation will foster data-based decision making, so it becomes a routine function. Supply chains will run on data more than ever.

8 – Data-based Decision Making.  This refers to leveraging data to end anecdotal decision making. It moves to a new model that supports informed decision making based on facts and data. Doing so will compress decision cycle times, performance cycle times, and reduce waste. This will enhance competitive advantage and customer service.

9 – E2E Visibility.  This is a capability that’s on the horizon. Providing a holistic, real-time view of your supply chain supports agility. On-the-spot decision making will move companies from a reactive to a proactive mode. It also keeps consumers informed with real-time information of their orders. E2E visibility makes your supply chain more responsive.

10 – eCommerce.  This is a burgeoning trend that sees no return to consumers’ former buying patterns. During the pandemic consumers shifted their shopping habits to buying their goods online. The convenience of online shopping is changing logistics delivery and customer service.

11 – Emerging Technologies.  Adopting new technologies has always been a part of supply chain management. But now, the adoption of emerging technologies has sped up. And they promise to transform supply chains. AI, Blockchain, the Cloud, driverless cars/trucks, aerial delivery vehicles and robotics are examples of what lies ahead.

12 – Infrastructure InvestmentThis one is a bugaboo and is long overdue. Pending in Congress is a massive infrastructure bill that would position the U.S. for future supply chain leadership. Wise infrastructure investments can give the government and private businesses a competitive edge.


Leverage Emerging Global Supply Chain Changes to Your Competitive Advantage

We are witnessing a transformation, as these issues jolt global supply chains. We’re in the midst of a time of constructive and destructive disruption. It’s called the New Normal. No matter the name, global supply chains will work differently than before Covid-19.

Some have referred to these changes as “once-in-a generation” changes. That’s because they are changing how supply chains operate at every level.

Looking at this list may be mind-boggling. The list is long, and the issues are formidable. Yet, when viewed in a systematic and strategic manner, it seems less imposing.

Nevertheless, we’re seeing flat-out disruptive change taking place. And that will materially reshape global supply chain operations. We’re seeing a reprioritization of former tenets, increased standardization and centralization with a focus on putting customers first.

It’s represents a new world. It’s one that promises to improve effectiveness and increase efficiency. And companies that embrace these changes will improve their competitive advantage.

At American Global Logistics, we’ll help you embrace the coming changes of the New Normal.

Call us to find out how we can help you improve your competitive advantage.