You’re Writing a Book About How to Manage Supply Chains in 2025. What’s the Longest Chapter?

You’re Writing a Book About How to Manage Supply Chains in 2025. What’s the Longest Chapter?

Readers reveal the most voluminous chapters of their imaginary supply chain management manuscripts.

You’re Walking a Tightrope But Who has the Net? This chapter explores risk management—the balancing of what we can control along the supply chain in the face of what we cannot control. I will start by quoting Burns’ 1785 warning about best-laid plans; and, after a 240-year romp, end off in 2025 with where we are post-COVID and pre-net zero 2050.

–Dr. Darren Prokop
Professor Emeritus of Logistics,
College of Business & Public Policy
University of Alaska Anchorage

Automation—Why It’s All About the Good Data. Managing supply chains in 2025 will be all about automation. The longest chapter would explore the limitations of the hype and discuss why a focus on the data building blocks is core for successful automated supply chain system deployments.

–Brian Krejcarek
Co-founder and CEO

Not So Happy Returns? With the return of physical retail and record-setting online commerce, returns could hit an all-time high. Building agile inventory management through artificial intelligence-based assortment and allocation planning, fulfillment, returns, and pricing based on real-time data will be crucial for retailers to stay competitive. Taking this approach, retailers can optimize their inventory position without sacrificing margin.

–Inna Kuznetsova

Prevailing with Alternatives. The focal point is adeptly handling and capitalizing on alternatives—a top supply chain strategy. Spanning across raw materials, production, logistics, freight contracts, and 3PL providers, the emphasis lies in managing these alternatives for enhanced flexibility, strategic negotiation leverage, and comprehensive risk mitigation.

–Chris Dodd
Head of Operations
Gelmart International

True Partnership. This would be even more essential in 2025. You see supply chain cycles happen every 4-5 years; this puts us due for another spike in rates and lack of capacity in 2025 and 2026, for both land and ocean movements. I’ve seen this time and time again in my 26+ years in this industry.
Many supply chain managers choose the lowest cost carrier that doesn’t have crappy service. When the supply chain shifts, these carriers immediately look for the highest paying freight or tell you their new high rates are effective tomorrow. What kind of partnership is that?

Managing supply chains is about finding true partnerships that will be with you when the (well, you know what fits here) hits the fan, and in turn, you will be there for them when your freight volumes dip.

–Mitch Luciano
Trailer Bridge

People Are the Missing Piece. While technologies allow practitioners to rethink supply chain management and add value from data, the real value comes when people—the practitioners themselves—effectively leverage these tools. The emphasis is on developing progressive leaders, the key driver of success.

–Omer Abdullah
The Smart Cube

India, the New China? As companies diversify manufacturing away from China to build more resilient supply chains, India is one of the primary options for friendshoring as it offers low geopolitical conflict and a low cost base. However, the lack of infrastructure support poses another significant challenge that takes time and resources to address.

–John Donigian
Senior Director,
Supply Chain Strategy
Moody’s Analytics

The Bottom Line of Sustainability. Before long, sustainability will be just as critical as pricing to our partners. We’re teetering on that tipping point now. But we need to internalize that sustainability isn’t illusory—it’s measurable, actionable, and a close cousin to efficiency—i.e., it has power over your bottom line.

–Glenn Riggs
Chief Strategy Officer
Odyssey Logistics

Preserving the Human Element in an Automated Supply Chain. Despite the increasing use of automation in the automotive supply chain, the human touch is significant in a service-focused industry. Regardless of how technologically advanced the process becomes, personal relationships hold immense value that benefits the end user experience.

–Mike Trudeau
Executive Vice President,
Business Development
Montway Auto Transport

Breaking the Brittle. Learning lessons to identify hollow supply chains and blind spots in critical component supply. Taking the lessons of the greatest disruption of the past 70 years to apply to steady state operations to better identify and manage risks to build resiliency.

–Joe Adamski
Senior Director

Navigating the Digital Labyrinth. The chapter would emphasize the merging of technology with tangible processes, crucial for orchestrating the advanced, interconnected supply chains of 2025. This is vital due to its complexity and impact on future supply chain resilience and efficiency.

–Spencer Steliga
Founder and CEO

Adaptive Resilience: Navigating Global Disruptions. The chapter explores strategies to address unforeseen challenges in the evolving supply chain landscape. With a proactive approach to risk management and technological integration, businesses can thrive despite uncertainties.

–George Maksimenko

Honey, I Shrunk the EOQs! Anticipate a decline in the economic order quantity (EOQ) for many SKUs in 2024. This shift will be driven both by evolving demand patterns and a proliferation of retail channels by which inventory is allocated (resulting in lower expected demand for any given stock-keeping location) and high carrying costs from stubbornly high interest rates.

While we expect some relief on interest rates at some point, demand and inventory planning aren’t going to get any easier. The winners will be those that build flexibility and agility into their supply chains and transportation strategies.

–Chris Pickett
Flock Freight

Near and Onshore Manufacturing Resurges. With wars and trade disruption, we’re seeing a decline in global manufacturing. This makes near and onshore manufacturing economically favorable, which is great for our planet and sustainable commerce startups. Cities, universities, and startups are reclaiming manufacturing for the United States through collaborative multi-sector approaches built around advanced sustainable manufacturing.

–Al Sambar
General Partner
XRC Ventures

Hype to Reality: The Real Impact of AI in Supply Chain. The chapter would focus on the tangible changes that AI brings to analytics and decision-making, while addressing the hype of AI being the magical solution to all problems.

–Mingshu Bates
Chief Analytics Officer
AFS Logistics

Welcoming Our New AI Overlords: Harnessing AI for Good. This chapter delves into how to effectively integrate artificial intelligence into supply chain management. AI systems will be sufficiently advanced by this point to intelligently make supply chain decisions, and humans will need a guide for how to oversee and steer them.

–Tony Pelli
Practice Director,
Security and Resilience

The Evolution of AI in Warehouses: Actuation, Digitization to Optimization. The industry needs to know that applying AI to warehouses and supply chains has become significantly easier in the last couple of decades with the proliferation of technology. AI adoption costs have reduced significantly, and the ROI has increased. It’s important to educate supply chain professionals on this evolution so they can reap the benefits of AI in their warehouses.

–Sankalp Arora
CEO & Co-Founder
Gather AI

Harnessing Data to Drive Better Supply Chain Decisions. The chapter—and pretty much every chapter—would be about data visibility and informed decision-making. Leveraging data throughout your organization, in all of your supply chain and related processes will be the most important task for years to come.

–Josh Dunham
CEO and Co-founder

Knowing Your Supply Chain: From Vendors to Bottlenecks. As we’ve seen from global pandemics, to wars across the world, it is critical to know your vendors, their capabilities and back-up plans to unforeseen issues. Knowing your business, partners and capabilities, enables you to act with resilience.

–Aaron Galer
Senior Vice President,
Strategic Partners
Arrive Logistics

Bringing the Supply Chain Back to the United States. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has been reeling from supply chain issues involving sourcing, manufacturing, and transportation, driving the need for more control. Plus, recent national security issues have created concerns about reliance on other countries for critical materials and parts.

–Dave Snider
Vice President of Marketing

Embracing Robots to Minimize Climate Disruptions. As warehouses and distribution centers struggle to remain productive amid extreme weather events, a promising solution is the widespread adoption of robots. Take the humanoid robot, Digit for example—it was designed to handle dangerous tasks at warehouses such as unloading boxes from a tractor-trailer in 100-plus-degree heat. By leveraging robots, employees are free from repetitive or challenging labor and can focus on higher-value tasks that require human action.

–Brandon Black
SVP and General Manager
Ivanti Wavelink

Elements of Supply Chain Integrations: People, Process and Technology. I would focus on evolving logistics technologies and supply chain players’ adoption of these technologies. This topic constantly impacts organizations’ revenue generation, cost containment, and human capital management. The ubiquity of new platforms and applications creates an ongoing dilemma for organizations due to the need to integrate them with existing resources.

–Raziel Bravo
Senior Vice President of Strategic Management Office

Plan for Disruption. In 2023 alone major supply chain companies were involved in bankruptcies, system cyberattacks, and a possible strike. Prepare for disruptions.

–Micheal McDonagh
President of Parcel
AFS Logistics

GenAI’s Revolutionary Impact on Global Sourcing. The chapter would explain the radical change that AI has introduced. Most repetitive tasks have been automated and GenAI is guiding better decisions at every stage. Supply chain managers now oversee a control tower with a full view of their supply chain to the Nth level.

–Eric Linxwiler
Senior Vice President

Beyond Paperwork: The AI-Driven Shift Toward Intelligent Documentation and Routing. The massive amounts of data we now collect will deliver actionable value, transforming day-to-day efficiency. Artificial intelligence will play a pivotal role, with generative AI being used in exciting new use cases, dramatically reducing manual paperwork and making intelligent routing decisions.

–Kristjan Lillemets
VP Product

A Journey from Descriptive Analytics to Generative AI: How Artificial Intelligence Enables Decision Support to Improve Supply Chains Understanding AI’s evolution from descriptive to predictive analytics will help improve supply chain management, simplify applying analytics at the edge, accelerate speed, and improve decisions in real time.

–Andre Luecht
Global Strategy Lead,
Transportation, Logistics and Warehouse
Zebra Technologies

Impact & ROI of AI in Supply Chain. Through predictive analytics, AI hones logistics, slashing transportation costs by optimizing routes and schedules. Supplier management benefits from AI’s data-driven insights, ensuring optimal choices and bolstering relationships. AI fortifies product integrity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, thus cementing its indisputable ROI.

–Abishek Bhat
Vice President,
Business Development
Trigent Software

Managing the Supply Chain with AI. AI data can enable real-time processes for demand forecasting, inventory optimization, new product introductions, network design, and other business functions. AI can help businesses proactively manage the expanding value chain to stay ahead of competition and become agile enterprises.

–Stephen Dombroski
Director, Consumer Markets
QAD Inc.

Balance Service Quality and Cost While Planning for Uncertainty. We’re coming off one of the greatest freight cycles post-COVID, shippers understand there’s no “normal” and they must always be prepared for unplanned volatility. And now the market can inflect at a faster rate, constantly testing the strength of shippers’ support system.

–Jamie Harris

Connecting Digital Supply Chains. I’d explore how tools like AI forecasting can enhance decision-making. Supply chains have evolved into dynamic, interconnected systems, challenging traditional one-way thinking. It’s crucial to recognize them as an interconnected system for optimal planning, acknowledging their non-linear, ever-changing nature.

–Nick De Klerk
Associate Director, Supply Chain
TMX Transform

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