Supply Chain
July 9, 2024

Preparing for the Unexpected in our Unpredictable Supply Chain


A crystal ball would be nice, wouldn’t it? The global supply chain has kept BCOs, LSPs, and others on their toes this year with a series of unexpected events that have made operations more difficult. Expect this trend to continue in the coming months, but expect supply chain participants to develop new and more effective strategies for dealing with the unexpected.

This week’s look at headlines from across the supply chain and logistics industry includes notes on building resilience, peak season movement, missile attacks in the Red Sea, China’s role as a supply chain player, plus more. Continue reading to get all the details, and get in touch with us if you’re searching for technology to support your supply chain operations.

Organizations are Building Resilience Ahead of Supply Chain Disruptions

Never has the future of the global supply chain been more difficult to predict. BCOs, LSPs, and others who operate in the supply chain know that risks are lurking in the weeks and months ahead, and they are taking action to prepare to mitigate those risks — even as the specifics behind them remain uncertain.

Supply Chain Management Review recently wrote about building supply chain resiliency through preparation. It outlined four risk categories that BCOs, LSPs, and others should be ready for, including weather/climate events, geopolitical tensions, aging infrastructure, and cyber risks. The article states that “simply going low-tech is no longer an option” given these risks and the need to prepare for them. It also recommends building a risk portfolio, creating playbooks for each category, implementing redundancies, and identifying a “plus-one” for any supplier that may be affected by these risks.

Early Moving E-Commerce Brands

E-commerce brands are taking advantage of excess cargo capacity to bring in merchandise earlier than normal this year. These early movers could take pressure off the supply chain in Q3 when peak season merchandise typically enters the United States. This is part of a larger trend that’s been developing since the pandemic.

In recent years, shippers have spread their import volume over a wider window to reduce risk. This effectively flattens out the traditional peak season, even in years when consumer sales are strong. Brands are forced to make decisions much earlier in the year, but this trend could help reduce supply chain chaos over the long term if it continues.

Red Sea Missile Attacks Continue

As noted above, the future of the supply chain is incredibly difficult to predict right now. For example, earlier this year, there was a sense that the Red Sea crisis was waning, but we’re still dealing with intensifying Houthi missile attacks in that part of the world. Asian supply chains are also feeling pressure created by crises around the world. Ongoing disruptions could throttle economic recovery in some nations, and more organizations and entities are investing in new supply chain technologies to mitigate the impact of these disruptions.

China’s Not Done Yet as a Supply Chain Player

We’ve written previously that BCOs and LSPs are working to move away from China as a primary manufacturing hub, looking at other nations and exploring near-shore options. The Economic Times refutes the idea that China is losing its influence as a player in the global manufacturing and supply chain landscape. Only time will tell how China’s role will evolve. Diversification is part of reducing risk in our disruption-filled supply chain, and that could still lead to diminished Chinese influence in the future.

How a Winery Dealt With Supply Chain Disruptions

Organizations across various industries have taken different approaches to managing supply chain disruptions in recent years. Supply Chain Brain examines the approach taken by an Oregon winery, comparing its approach to that of General Electric. The bottom line for this business and for others is that doing things locally is one of the most effective paths to mitigating global supply chain risk. There will always be materials, products, and target audiences that are not local, but an emphasis on local production and materials (when available) can reduce risk.

Investing in Tech to Build Resilience

Companies are investing in technology to build supply chain resilience. The solutions they are turning to include transportation management systems, control towers, automation, and robotics, among others. This resilience is needed in the face of upcoming global elections, and many of the other risk factors noted above.

Aside from technology, Logistics Business Magazine suggests that transparency and collaboration are keys to building resilience. Of course, technology can be a part of supporting transparency and collaboration. The key is to move away from fragmented tech stacks and supply chains by embracing connectivity and finding a tech solution that can serve as a single source of truth when building resilience, transparency, and communication.

Get a Single Source of Truth for Your Supply Chain

At Cargologik, we’ve developed a supply chain orchestration platform that responds to all the challenges of today’s global supply chain. Our solution provides everything from visibility to document management, serving as your single source of truth for building the resilience and operational efficiency needed to thrive in the face of disruption.

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