How would you summarize the supply chain in 2021 in five words?

How would you summarize the supply chain in 2021 in five words?

A never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

—Brian Higgins
Principal, Supply Chain & Operations Leader
KPMG


CHAOS: Challenging Hectic Absurd Obscure Somber

—Jeff Pepperworth
President & CEO
iGPS Logistics


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.

—Susan Beardslee
Principal Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics
ABI Research


Biggest dumpster fire ever.

—Chris Peckham
VP, Operations
FreightPlus




Buckle up for the ride.

—Darlene Wolf
SVP, Strategic Partners
Arrive Logistics


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.

—Allen Jacques
Industry Leader
Kinaxis


Everybody’s rethinking their supply chain.

—Mark Robinson
President
UPS Capital


Antiquated processes unearthed significant disruption.

—Michael Hung
CEO
CBX Software


Strained, unreliable, and under supported.

—Allen Polk
VP, Sales
Kenco


Unprecedented, volatile, dysfunctional, but hopeful.

—Neil Wheeldon
Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer
BDP International


Evolving at an accelerated pace.

—Greg White
SVP, Corporate Development
TrueCommerce


Opportunity to improve business strategies.

—Greg Forbis
EVP, Strategy & Business Development
RJW Logistics Group


Bottlenecks, bullwhips lead to resiliency.

—Christina Vali
Director, Client Solutions
Tecsys


A massive broken unpredictable mess.

—Kevin Ledversis
Sales Director
Newcastle Systems


Global, volatile, long, expensive, recovering.

—Arjun Chandar
Founder & CEO
IndustrialML


Opportunity to excel and evolve.

—Bruce Lancaster
CEO
Wilson Electronics


Unbridled consumerism causing record delays.

—David Bowers
VP, Warehouse Operations
TA Services


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.

—Virgil Ferreira
COO Rate Management
Magaya


A slow moving goat rodeo.

—Dale Young
VP, Warehousing & Distribution
World Distribution Services LLC


Necessity = mother of invention.

—Tom Martucci
Vice President & Chief Technology Officer
Consolidated Chassis Management


More capacity starts with labor.

—Gregory W. Tuthill
Chief Commercial Officer
SeaCube Containers


Congested. Essential. Gritty. Painful. Heroic.

How people are overcoming the influx of shipments and pain points to fulfill orders is heroic.

—Dustin Hansen
CEO
InXpress


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.

—Mick Jones
Strategic Supply Chain Advisor
Zencargo


Pushing limits and prioritizing people.

—Sean Elliott
Chief Technology Officer/Chief Digital Officer
Körber Supply Chain


Congestion, volatility, complexity meet perseverance.

—Patrick Campbell
U.S. Chief Operating Officer
Coyote Logistics


Challenging, underinvested, ripe for disruption.

—Gonzalo Galindo
Head
CEMEX Ventures


Small bottlenecks create major disruptions.

—Nathan Strang
Director, Ocean Trade Lane Management
Flexport


Ripe for digital disruption.

Particularly for retailers, 2021 revealed the urgent need for innovative supply chain strategies and disruptive technologies.

—Guy Bloch
CEO
Bringg


We need operational resilience now.

—Jennifer Bisceglie
CEO & Founder
Interos


High demand, over stressed, lacking.

—Lonny Holston
Export Operations Coordinator
Mickey


Broken, opportunity, opaque, unsustainable, inflationary.

—Scott Evans
Co-founder
Waybridge


Drinking from a fire hose.

—Patrick J. Allen, CSCP
Client Solutions Director
Transportation Insight


Chance favors the prepared mind.

—Lior Elazary
CEO
inVia Robotics


SMBs face threat and opportunity.

—Dennis Oates
Chief Logistics Officer
Sendle


Much Ado About Nothing Delivered.

—Eric Allais
President & CEO
PathGuide Technologies


Adapt and innovate to survive.

—Alex Wakefield
CEO
Longbow Advantage


Crisis exposed need for visibility.

—Sam Lurye
CEO & Founder
Kargo


Unpredictable, undersupplied, untimely, underappreciated, understaffed.

Jonathan Parks
Senior Vice President, Supply Chain
iGPS Logistics


Delayed shipments requiring urgent delivery.

Adam Whelpley
Transportation Logistics Manager
Mickey


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.

Jason Murray
CEO
Shipium


Disrupted, optimized, but still broken.

It needs more attention from IT and logistics professionals to get it fixed.

Dmitri Fedorchenko
CEO and Co-Founder
Doft


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.

Oliver Lemanski
CEO
OnProcess


Bring ALL solutions to customers.

Tyler Scogin
Senior Account Manager
Leeds, AL
TA Services


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.

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