Given the market situation and its upcoming consequences, it is very clear that there is a need for businesses to combat disruptions by harnessing resilience and agility. With temperatures hitting record highs throughout 2023, and the world experiencing multiple political and environmental challenges throughout the year, disruption undeniably is impacting the way global trade moves. How can companies prepare to overcome supply chain disruptions in 2024?

How to deal with supply chain disruptions

Disruptions are unpredictable and can cause damage to all supply chains. A vital part of logistics planning is understanding where risk and weak spots might be and finding ways to lessen their impact. Whilst there is much that cannot be controlled, there are steps that companies can take to lessen or altogether avoid the impacts of disruptions.

  1. Finding multiple routes to market In times of disruption, the most straight-forward route to market can be full of hurdles. Working with an integrated logistics partner can help find multiple routes to market, and can give the ability to speed up or slow down supply chain moves where needed. This trend will be of help to circumvent bottlenecks (or hard stops) in supply chains during a disruption, while allowing to meet consumer demands.
  2. Creating contingency plans Disruptions can be categorised in two groups: unexpected and expected. Political unrest and singular environmental situations, like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, are unexpected and cannot be planned ahead for. Expected disruptions such as harsher weather events like hurricane/typhoon seasons and drought seasons, can at times, be forecasted and incorporated into overall resilience planning in supply chains. Next year, businesses should find new ways to partner with integrated logistics providers able to utilise their network to help give predictive information and minimise the fallout of disruptions. By creating stronger, viable contingency plans businesses will alleviate some of the disruption strains in their supply chains and stay resilient.
  3. Utilising options closer to market The domino effects from disruptions can be long-lasting and far spreading. The COVID19 pandemic highlighted the need for more flexible supply chains, whilst other situations, like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have highlighted a push towards nearshoring in lieu of far- and offshoring.
    With unpredictability becoming more commonplace, changing weather patterns and political upheaval, some companies will benefit from nearshoring. By bringing production back to the same continent or region as sales, as well as sourcing of materials, some businesses will be able to better insulate against delays and disruptions. Supportive of this, globalisation seems to be shifting towards more regionalised trade patterns. Utilising options closer to market can allow companies to better adapt to changes in consumer needs and behaviour, and further protect against disruptions. With the current fluctuating political climate, it makes sense to expect this to become a stronger trend in the coming year.
  4. Implementing technological advances Throughout the 2010s and 2020s, there has been a marked increase in consumer expectations when it comes to delivery and visibility of goods movement. Technological advances have shortened delivery time and given deeper overview of product journey, as well as advances in climate and temperature control. These technological advances have allowed companies to finetune their supply chains, driving costs down and optimising routes and supply chains. However, when the unexpected happens, and the plan needs to deviate, companies will themselves needing a logistics partner that can use and provide technological solutions to slow down, speed up or pivot all together.
    Next year, in the case of moderate to severe bottlenecking, more and more businesses will be working with a partner that has substantial advances in visibility, tracking and predictive programs.
  5. Collaborating where it matters 2023 highlighted the need for creating partnerships that useful offer solutions working when and where businesses need them the most. Whilst many industries faced challenges during the pandemic, the post-pandemic period will be characterised by new and unexpected needs.
    Understandably, many industries will face new hurdles, as demands yet again shift, and the market changes in line with consumer needs. With heightened calls for more sustainable solutions, establishing the right partnerships will ensure companies can be more sustainable all the while continuing to meet their customer needs.
    Furthermore, alongside these hurdles, there are changes to and introductions of new legislation relating to supply chains and climate. These can be complex and difficult to understand and manage. Working with a logistics service partner that has expertise in digitising customs and make sure duties can serve as a strategic advantage, will be a saving grace in difficulty, boosting business and bringing ease.

Fighting supply chains disruptions in 2024

Globally, 2024 holds more change for the industry. Whilst no-one has a crystal ball that can foretell the future, companies can prepare to overcome supply chain disruptions in 2024 by adapting their contingency plans, reconsider their routes, utilise better technology (e.g. forecasting) and partner with integrated logistic partners that can support (and prevent) through disruptions. Additionally, actively threading resilience through the supply chain can be a shield against external disruptions, allowing companies to create a supply chain that works for them, how and when they need it.

Heading into the mid-2020s, change is on the horizon. With geopolitical conflicts, regionalisation and inflation expected to reach into 2024, disruptions are not something that are going to disappear. However, working with the right logistics partner can help ease some of these pain points.

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