This challenging year is coming to an end. It’s time to reflect and get prepared to enter the new year with confidence and awareness of supply chain trends in 2021. While there is little certainty with anything as 2020 rattled many businesses and supply chains, in particular, some things could clearly be seen coming. For many companies, this tough time was an express survival class, as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot of industry strains (like in the US meat supply chain). Now, more businesses are interested in proactively forecasting possible issues rather than reacting to them happening, which results in resiliency and flexibility.
This year has shown that having a rigid supply chain with no diversity in terms of suppliers, partners, and marketing channels dooms your company for failure. Consequently, 2021 will be all about collaborations and expanding networks. Actually, it is a very clear switch from the chain model to the network model. No more linear approaches to supply chain management – it will all be circular and interconnected. It will be critical to have a wide network of suppliers and maximize the use of every single marketing channel, from retailers and distributors to direct sales and online.
After the pandemic hit, everyone is talking about building resilience. This is an extremely vital quality of a modern supply chain, but behind resilience, there is supply chain visibility. Why? Firstly, resilience means clearly understanding what is going on through every step of your network in order to have the ability to make flexible decisions and realistically estimate your capabilities in case of trouble. Eventually, it can be reached with an extremely high level of supply chain visibility and connectivity. Investing in robust visibility and automation software will be ranked top of business needs in the upcoming year.
Apart from top industry trends, like sustainability and digitalization, there is something uniquely new coming to the spotlight this year – cold supply chains. The coronavirus vaccine is just about to be released, and transforming supply chains for vaccine distribution has been the hottest trend. Whether you have ever transported medical supplies or not, consider preparing for a refrigerated shipping boom.
Ultimately, it will be the year of re-evaluation and reconstruction for businesses and supply chains. Being flexible and responsive to changes is now more important than ever.
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