The unprecedented risks and trials brought forth by COVID-19 has placed great pressure on managers within the logistics and supply chain industry. While most of the population was in lockdown, several logistics companies had to see to the deliveries of whole goods, foods, products and minerals against the backdrop of a shutdown infrastructure and slowing economy. Add to that issues of riots and looting (read about that here), many of these companies had to ‘get creative’ in how to move forward.
As the dust settles for what has been a trying 2021 year, it is clear that this industry – from house-to-house couriers to cargo flights and ships – is in need of greater efficiency and support in order to maintain supply in the face of possible disruptions in future.
In this blog we review what this industry can do to ensure that 2022 does not look as bleak as 2020 and 2021, especially in the face of increased COVID-19 cases globally. (Sky News, 2021).
A few ways the supply chain management and logistics industry are set to change in 2022
Unleashed Software has published a report listing 10 major trends expected to emerge in 2022 for the SCM and logistics industry. Many of these trends will emerge as a consequence to the backlogs on deliveries and returns for retail shopping that companies and consumers alike, struggled with in 2021.
We have summarised three of these trends for you below. You can read the full article here: https://www.unleashedsoftware.com/blog/10-trends-in-supply-chain-management-logistics-for-2022
1. Automated Vehicles and Robotics Equipment
As more companies gain access to the wonders of robotics and automated vehicles, the market is expected to explode within the next few years. Companies need automated services that are no longer just PC-based. The game now is to optimise time taken for mundane tasks such as packaging, stamping or sticking on labels with automation technology. Included in this is automated storage and retrieval, automated trucking and automated delivery.
2. Circular supply chains
Circular supply chains entail the sustainable aspect of logistics – giving both the company and the consumer the ability to reuse, recycle or resell goods. Unfortunately, the technology and infrastructure required for breaking down and reusing materials is not yet available. It is however believed that 2022 will be a defining year for mapping out and designing the intricacies and particulars of such a process. What the circular supply chain could include in future is still unknown, but it has the potential to drastically reduce consumer-based waste.
3. Local expansion of warehouses, storage facilities and courier services
Sourcing logistics services locally offer lower risk during times of turmoil where freight is restricted or slowed down as a result of tightening of borders, provides better control of delivery turnaround times, reduced carbon emissions and offers better branding opportunities for organisations.
Multinationals are expected to focus on smaller, more concentrated areas, which will help the supply chains to continue functioning on land, within borders, should another global lockdown occur as experienced in 2020-2021. While international logistics services are still an important aspect of the global supply chain, the push for small, local businesses has been great, with communities looking to support their own rather than big multinational corporates – read more about that here.
In conclusion, 2022 holds great promise and prosperity for the Supply Chain and logistics industry. More consumers are adopting online shopping, more businesses are in need of good logistics partners and more warehousing and supply chain management skills are required for businesses to develop and grow in local markets.
The future of these two industries is moving towards a technology-based system that encourages a more environmentally friendly approach to supply chain and logistics as a whole.
There is currently a worldwide shortage of supply chain management skills and a critical skills shortage in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IMM Graduate School has risen to the challenge by launching a BCom in International Supply Chain Management – the ideal qualification – as it positions IMM graduates to build a successful career in this industry. For more information visit our website.