As 2023 has developed to be a year of apprehension more than impact of potential supply chain disruptions, transportation professionals would be wise to take proactive steps now to boost their resilience against eventual stormy weather by expanding the reach of their visibility tools, a Gartner analyst said today.
A Gartner survey of CEOs and senior business executives shows that leaders are concerned about inflation (69%), talent scarcity (78%), and overly brittle and complex supply chains (79%), Brock Johns, Gartner’s senior principal analyst for supply chain technology, said in a session at Manhattan Associates’ annual user conference in Phoenix.
Those threats are real, but the survey also showed that levels of concern about them have dropped or nearly plateaued since 2022 as some forecasters begin to show cautious optimism that economic conditions may improve by year’s end, he said. Johns illustrated that point by citing a quote from the Ted Lasso TV series, declaring “Don’t flip out until you find out.”
In fact, periodic logistics impacts are here to stay, headlined by possible 2024 events such as: disruptions that increase the need for visibility tools, sustainability demands that affect all aspects of operations, and increasingly challenging funding terms for business investments, he said in a session titled “The Road Ahead: What to expect for transportation and TMS in 2023 and beyond.”
So the most effective stance for companies today is to strengthen their capability for edge to edge (E2E) supply chain visibility and management by expanding the view of their business network from tier-one suppliers, factories, and warehouses to a wider circle of influence. That visibility should also include nodes beyond tier one, such as: co-manufacturing facilities, warehouses operated by third party logistics (3PL) partners, vulnerable logistics infrastructure, and congestion at maritime ports and airports.
That could be challenging in an economic environment stressed by rising inflation and interest rates, since companies will increasingly have to create a stronger business case to justify the expanded view. But a wider range of visibility could also create its own return on investment (ROI), Johns said. For example, adopting a view of Scope Three greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions both upstream and downstream of the company itself could open up chances to attract new business partners, reduce costs, and boost employee engagement.