As we move into a New Year, you’re inevitably thinking about the challenges your business is likely to face in the next twelve months. You have a plan in place for the major strategic issues you expect to see, but have you faced up to the fulfillment challenges that 2016 will bring?
The Logistics Confidence Index was up not only for December 2013, but for the year as a whole. Rising to 57.5 last month, the year-on-year comparison with this point in 2013 marks almost a 10 point increase in 12 months for air and sea freight combined.
With the indicative index having jumped above the psychological barrier of 50 early in 2013, the trend has been steadily upwards despite economic headwinds and political uncertainty across the globe.
Stronger outlooks in both the U.S. and Europe towards the latter half of the year produced a particularly notable spike. That momentum looks to be carried into the New Year and bodes well for businesses across the board, indicating a healthy supply chain outlook with swelling consumer demand to fuel it further still.
Digging down into various forms of freight, container shipments are merely steady but the increased adoption of regional warehousing and multi-modal transport options demonstrates the adaptive nature of supply chains in the current economic climate. Organizations are embracing the variety on offer from both international and local sourcing, – as we examined in our ‘Made in the USA’ feature last month – partially for cost reasons but also to shield their supply chain from disruption in any one area.
Overall there is sufficient data to suggest that the outlook remains cautiously bullish for the year ahead. We look forward to taking up the challenges and opportunities of 2014 to better serve the order fulfillment and distribution requirements of our customers. Let’s keep that confidence index on the rise!
It’s been a busy twelve months in logistics and SCM, and the year to come seems set to be no less progressive. Technology, compliance, and data solutions are all likely to be at the forefront of supply chain practices as we move through the year.
To close out 2013, we’ve collected some of the predictions that the industry expects to see for supply chain management in 2014.
Logistics Industry Expectations for Supply Chain Management in 2014
DC Velocity focuses greatly on the tech supporting logistics practices, from smartphone apps to manage back-end systems to more secure solutions for shipment and delivery data.
Freightgate also makes mention of increasingly connected management systems, particularly in the areas of analytics and efficiency, but also makes mention of the need for robust compliance with standards and tighter security.
The Dallas News specifically tunes into the holiday delivery issues faced by some organizations over this festive season, predicting significant changes to delivery guarantees for the holidays in 2014.
Handfield leans heavily towards globalization as providing the biggest challenges for supply chain managers in 2014, including the potential for disruption in emerging markets and diverse regulatory requirements. Compliance is raised again, showing a repetition that will warrant attention from logistics professionals.
Business News Daily sees upheaval in the retail sector, with all the implications that will bring to the supply chains that feed it. Ecommerce and mobile technology feature heavily again, increasing the potential for order taking and fulfillment but also placing increased requirements on the services that process these transactions.
In summary, supply chain management in 2014 is likely to focus heavily on business being done across international borders and the regulatory knowledge that comes with that, as well as the ongoing drive to new technologies. Supply chain managers will do well to read widely on mobile technology and security standards to keep abreast of what is available for their business and clients.
We’ll be there to keep you updated as logistics trends and stories develop throughout 2014, so stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages for all the latest articles.
On behalf of everyone at Capacity LLC, thanks for joining us in 2013 and a very Happy New Year to everyone!
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
For logistics providers, preparation is always at the forefront of our minds.
As much as we understand the need to be flexible to cope with unexpected strikes and transport bottlenecks, the very nature of the business is to find the most efficient supply chain solutions and stick to the plan that moves goods through in the quickest, most cost effective manner.
We find that many common logistical hitches occur due to last-minute planning, highlighting further the importance of taking time to look at what lies on the road ahead for your business.
For that reason, we offer a timely reminder to keep one eye on your preparations for next year, even as the busiest time of this one is upon us!
Plan for 2014 Growth Now
The economy stabilized somewhat during 2013 and forecasts for 2014 are looking promising for growth.
U.S. Chief Economist Doug Handler says of November’s ‘flash forecast’, “Third-quarter real GDP grew at a 2.8% annual rate—well above consensus expectations.” Along with other economic factors such as manufacturing and employment indices, many signs point to supply chain managers needing to build in extra capacity to fulfill orders at a higher level in the year to come.
While it’s all too easy to become focused on the hectic holiday season and putting out any logistical fires that crop up in your supply chain, don’t neglect the longer term planning. Review where you’ve been successful in 2013 and where kinks in your supply chain could be ironed out to smooth the way for 2014. Making such proposals well ahead of time shows not only preparation internally, but can help customers externally when you highlight potential problem areas and make their lives easier by helping to eliminate them early on.
What are your supply chain challenges for the New Year and where did you excel in 2013?
We ‘d love to hear your success stories and predictions for 2014 here in the comments, or on Facebook/Google+/Twitter.