Future Focus: 2024’s Top 3 Supply Chain Trends

Future Focus: 2024’s Top 3 Supply Chain Trends

Three key supply chain trends to watch in 2024.

As we embark on a new year, the supply chain continues to be a major focus for businesses across all verticals. Logistics, transportation, and supply chain professionals routinely navigate industry trends, challenges and opportunities such as emerging markets and technologies (Hello, artificial intelligence!), labor shortages, rising costs, global logistics shifts like reshoring, ongoing  sustainability concerns, and mounting government regulations, among others.

While many predict more of the same throughout this new year, additional issues are also rising to the forefront. What to expect? The Association for Supply Chain Management recently put together a member survey revealing what supply chain professionals believe are the top trends in supply chain for 2024.

Here’s a quick look at the top three trends, as reported by our sister publication, Thomas Insights:

1. Digital Supply Chains

This year, the concept of big data and analytics was dethroned as #1, replaced by a new top trend as defined by ASCM members: the digital supply chain.

As antiquated paper processes go the way of the dinosaur, it brings along with it improvements in streamlining, resilience, and agility. Supply chain leaders who leverage digital tools will find themselves better prepared and more able to handle dynamically changing orders.

According the ASCM, “In the coming year, more supply chain organizations will transform their networks into connected, intelligent, scalable, customizable and nimble digital ecosystems. Some will achieve holistic digital transformation, while others will advance more slowly by balancing long-term investment in automation with the immediate implementation of solutions that reduce repetitive tasks and cognitive fatigue while allowing employees to focus on areas where humans perform better than machines.”

2. Supply Chain Investments

A newcomer to the ASCM list this year — and the fastest climbing — is supply chain investments in both systems and people. This emphasizes just how much corporate leaders now see the value in prioritizing their supply chains and the benefits of adding talent and tech tools to ensure visibility and, ultimately, success.

3. Relocation

According to new research by Accenture, “the most resilient companies captured 3.6% more growth than their less resilient rivals, giving them a clear performance advantage.” This leads us to our next trend, which is relocation. Reshoring continues to hit record levels, and Accenture adds that many companies are turning local for their supply chain needs. Specifically revealing that, by 2026, 85% of companies plan to manufacture and sell their products in the same region. In this way, companies ensure they are addressing the vulnerabilities that arose from their highly globalized supply chains in recent years.

Ultimately, an emphasis on addressing turbulent supply chains has led supply chain practitioners to place money, people, and aggressive strategy at the forefront of their efforts in the hopes that stability will lead to better business and more opportunities.