Each January for the past several years, I have tried to predict what's in store for us in the coming months. Some of my predictions have been reliable, while others have not—for example, I really thought the Dallas Cowboys would be in the Super Bowl in 2014.
I hope to do a bit better with my predictions for the supply chain world, where the outlook for 2015 is somewhat mixed. On the one hand, it's pretty clear that the industry will continue to struggle with such longstanding challenges as driver shortages, infrastructure issues, and government regulations. On the other, there's plenty of cause for optimism. As 2014 draws to a close, the economy continues to improve, with job creation numbers showing particular strength. On top of that, truckers and shippers alike have benefited from a sharp decline in diesel fuel prices—down almost 28 cents per gallon from late 2013 levels. There is every reason to expect this to continue, at least for the first few months of the new year.
Still, there are plenty of unknowns out there. Looking ahead, I see five other developments that bear watching:
Whatever challenges the new year might bring, there's reason for hope. In the difficult past few years, most supply chain managers have demonstrated an uncanny ability to capitalize on both the positive and the negative. This year will be no different.