How would you summarize the supply chain in 2021 in five words?
A never-ending game of whack-a-mole.
Principal, Supply Chain & Operations Leader
CHAOS: Challenging Hectic Absurd Obscure Somber
President & CEO
Scale matters for everything shortages.
Home Depot, Walmart, and Costco are among those who can charter entire vessels to ensure capacity. Companies from Nike to Amazon increased air freight, despite costs of up to $2 million a charter.
Large fast-moving consumer goods firms can procure more of everything from raw materials to packaging and transport. Large retailers can purchase "panic pallets" and absorb the inventory costs. They have the means to lessen exposure as compared to the markets overall.
Principal Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics
Biggest dumpster fire ever.
Buckle up for the ride.
SVP, Strategic Partners
One down, two to go.
Supply chains have weathered the first phase of the pandemic—with immediate impacts like manufacturing disruptions and demand swings. We are now in phase 2; we are seeing the non-intuitive impacts resulting from a complex ecosystem, for example, container capacity and raw material supplies. In phase 3, we will understand the new normal and demand will have been adjusted for the abnormal swings experienced in phases 1 and 2.
Everybody’s rethinking their supply chain.
Antiquated processes unearthed significant disruption.
Strained, unreliable, and under supported.
Unprecedented, volatile, dysfunctional, but hopeful.
Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer
Evolving at an accelerated pace.
SVP, Corporate Development
Opportunity to improve business strategies.
EVP, Strategy & Business Development
RJW Logistics Group
Bottlenecks, bullwhips lead to resiliency.
Director, Client Solutions
A massive broken unpredictable mess.
Global, volatile, long, expensive, recovering.
Founder & CEO
Opportunity to excel and evolve.
Unbridled consumerism causing record delays.
VP, Warehouse Operations
A digital revolution is happening. Massive disruption, wild unpredictability, and sky-high customer expectations have combined to produce a perfect storm for global supply chains. Shippers have no choice but to abandon outdated ways of working and get on board with the digital revolution at hand.
COO Rate Management
A slow moving goat rodeo.
VP, Warehousing & Distribution
World Distribution Services LLC
Necessity = mother of invention.
Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Consolidated Chassis Management
More capacity starts with labor.
—Gregory W. Tuthill
Chief Commercial Officer
Congested. Essential. Gritty. Painful. Heroic.
How people are overcoming the influx of shipments and pain points to fulfill orders is heroic.
Disruption, uncertainty, watershed, risk-managed, digital.
Over the past 20 months, supply chains have been faced with unpredictability and disruptions on a global scale. 2021 has shown supply chains need to become more resilient and adapt digitally.
Strategic Supply Chain Advisor
Pushing limits and prioritizing people.
Chief Technology Officer/Chief Digital Officer
Körber Supply Chain
Congestion, volatility, complexity meet perseverance.
U.S. Chief Operating Officer
Challenging, underinvested, ripe for disruption.
Small bottlenecks create major disruptions.
Director, Ocean Trade Lane Management
Ripe for digital disruption.
Particularly for retailers, 2021 revealed the urgent need for innovative supply chain strategies and disruptive technologies.
We need operational resilience now.
CEO & Founder
High demand, over stressed, lacking.
Export Operations Coordinator
Broken, opportunity, opaque, unsustainable, inflationary.
Drinking from a fire hose.
—Patrick J. Allen, CSCP
Client Solutions Director
Chance favors the prepared mind.
SMBs face threat and opportunity.
Chief Logistics Officer
Much Ado About Nothing Delivered.
President & CEO
Adapt and innovate to survive.
Crisis exposed need for visibility.
CEO & Founder
Unpredictable, undersupplied, untimely, underappreciated, understaffed.
Senior Vice President, Supply Chain
Delayed shipments requiring urgent delivery.
Transportation Logistics Manager
CHAIN: Cautiously Hopeful Against Increasing Neglect.
It is pretty clear that supply chains for decades have been viewed by finance and hordes of MBAs as cost centers to squeeze out inefficiencies and expenses. A continual neglect in regular investment has come home to roost in 2021. Yet, I’m cautiously optimistic about the role of modern technology to, when applied, fix several of the systematic problems we now face.
Disrupted, optimized, but still broken.
It needs more attention from IT and logistics professionals to get it fixed.
CEO and Co-Founder
Inflexible, foreseeable, resiliency, fixable, responsible.
Let me explain. We have experienced the perfect global storm of COVID-induced closure of demand followed by almost overnight exponential increase as restrictions lifted, combined with economic and political trade barriers, years of under-investment in modern transportation innovation, and a few accidents (eg. Evergreen’s Ever Given) thrown in for good measure.
While these specific issues were perhaps not envisaged, issues do happen and should therefore be foreseeable. What it has done is thrown into dramatic spotlight the inflexibility of our global supply chains, and if we have learned anything it is that we must build in better resilience. We have come to accept that redundancy in supply chains must be eliminated for the cost it incurs; we now need to rethink that logic.
The challenges we currently face are fixable, but longer-term it requires a different approach; one that really understands where the weak points are, what might fail before it does, and to be prepared to fix when it does. It will also require a more responsible circular model that has less reliance on sourcing new materials into the supply chain and more focus on retaining materials within it.
Bring ALL solutions to customers.
Senior Account Manager
Have a great answer to a good question?
Be sure to participate next month. We want to know:
What is the biggest supply chain lesson you learned over the past two years?
We’ll publish some answers. Tell us at [email protected] or tweet us @ILMagazine #ILgoodquestion.