Almost all (88%) businesses faced disruption over the last year, with over a quarter (26%) facing significant disruption according to Blue Yonder’s 2022 Supply Chain & Logistics Executive Survey, which explored how senior executives across manufacturing, retail, 3PL, transportation, and warehousing plan to tackle supply chain challenges in the year ahead.
The biggest impact on supply chains was customers facing delays (58%), staff shortages (43%) and stalling of production (38%).
“It may not come as a surprise that most businesses have faced supply chain challenges over the past year, but the research demonstrates that supply chain disruptions are here to stay,” said Shri Hariharan, corporate vice president at Blue Yonder, in a statement. “With continued disruptions plaguing supply chains around the globe, the need for speed, visibility, and agility is greater than ever. It is crucial for businesses to evaluate exactly where key pain points are to determine where and why to invest in intelligent technologies that can help mitigate risk and improve supply chain resiliency.”
Supply Chain Investments Increase
Over half of supply chain executives (56%) said investment in their organization’s supply chain has increased over the last year, with 17% saying it increased a lot. Of those who invested in their supply chain in the past year, nearly half of respondents (49%) have invested $6 million or more. Over a quarter (26%) have invested between $6 – $10 million, and nearly a quarter (24%) have invested $10 million or more.
When asked what areas they have invested in over the last year, 57% of respondents said technology, 43% said sustainability and 40% said additional workforce. Most supply chain executives (42%) plan to focus on the implementation and enhancement of warehouse management systems (WMS) in the next 12 months, followed by transportation management systems (TMS) (36%) and order management (OMS) (32%).
Ensuring Inventory Availability Tops List of Supply Chain Priorities
Supply chain executives are most focused on improving customer experience by keeping high-demand items in stock, providing consistent on-time delivery, increasing inventory visibility, and optimizing fulfillment options.
More than half (55%) of respondents said ensuring inventory availability for high-demand products was most important for enhancing consumer experiences as we navigate ongoing supply chain disruptions.
Nearly half of respondents cited consistent on-time delivery (43%), increasing consumer visibility regarding inventory (42%) and maintaining/optimizing fulfillment options like BOPIS, curbside pickup, and delivery (41%) as most important.
Pandemic and Geopolitical Concerns Accelerate Nearshoring
Most supply chain executives indicated they have increased both manufacturing operations and the quantity of suppliers nearshore due to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical concerns.
- Half of respondents (50%) said they have increased manufacturing operations nearshore due to COVID-19 and geopolitical concerns, with 21% saying they significantly increased or have concreate plans to increase operations nearshore.
- Over half of respondents (65%) increased the quantity of nearshore suppliers due to COVID-19 and geopolitical concerns. Of that group, 25% have significantly increased or have concrete plans to increase sourcing from nearshore suppliers.
Sustainability Efforts Continue Across Supply Chain
Over half (59%) of respondents said their company paused sustainability initiatives due to the pandemic. Of those who paused their sustainability initiatives, 37% have either fully or partially reinstated them.
To maximize sustainability throughout the supply chain, 39% of respondents plan to seek out more sustainable upstream operations (materials sourcing, suppliers and manufacturing), while 38% plan to offer flexible delivery windows for online orders. This aligns with findings from Blue Yonder’s 2022 Consumer Sustainability Survey, which uncovered that 86% of consumers are willing to delay deliveries if it’s more sustainable.
Other strategies include implementing eco-friendly packaging options (33%), moving inventory closer to customers (27%), reducing one-off packages (27%), considering carbon costs like fuel efficiency (23%) and investing in technology/automation (23%).