The Main Supply Chain Trends and Challenges in 2021

February 11, 2021

We, at W Group, are always keeping an eye on the latest main supply chain trends and challenges. This way we’re keeping our freight forwarding services up-to-date and can offer the best possible services to our clients. 

But what are some of the trends coming to the fore for supply chain operations this year? What we do know is that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a number of challenges for supply chains in the past year. 

Read on to find out what are some of the main trends for supply chain operations and some of the major supply chain challenges for 2021.

Trend#1: Adapting to Automation and Artificial Intelligence

With the market changing all the time, even more so in the past year, supply chain operations will be using automation and AI systems to further enhance the supply chain’s reliability, efficiency, and profitability. This year, as businesses continue to deal with the pandemic, the focus will be on becoming more adaptable to both AI technology and automation. 

Trend#2: Utilizing Third-Party Logistics

Companies who make use of third-party logistics (3PLs) are reaping the benefits and this is one of the main trends we can expect happening more often in 2021. Supply chain operations are outsourcing more to people like us to help them with their shipping functions. This gives them more time to focus on other critical aspects of their business and alleviate any supply chain management problems.

Trend#3: Emphasis on End-to-End Tracking 

Supply chain managers are always looking for ways to improve the way they operate. With IoT enable devices, they’re able to have better transparency over the operations from start to end. The W Group team value this aspect and ensure we can meet these requirements by offering tracking services while shipping consignments. 

Trend#4: Making Use of Smart Contracts and Automated Communication

Shipping companies are taking note of trends that help the supply chain manager improve on their efficiency throughout the process. Sending automated contracts, invoices, and emails simplifies the supply chain manager’s job while knowing what is happening along the shipping line. This includes having a grasp of the shipping timeline in the supply chain.  

Understanding Supply Chain Challenges

The pandemic has highlighted many challenges that have faced supply chains for some time. In 2021, these problems include:

  • Less resilience in supply chain risk management: In other words, changing from a lean supply chain means increasing resilience which can mean taking more risks which can be costly.
  • Ongoing disruptions to the supply chain: With ongoing uncertainty in the global economy, supply chains can expect more disruptions. More flexibility will be required in order to operate in an unsettled economy.
  • Upgrading to the latest smart technology: While automation and AI technology trends are not new, many supply chain operations are still lagging behind when it comes to digital data analysis.

Final Thoughts 

Keeping up with the latest supply chain management trends means anyone involved in the process can find ways of improving operations. Taking into account the challenges facing supply chains also means more effort can be applied to making the process as smooth as possible. 

The W Group team understands shipping plays a crucial role in the supply chain and that we can only benefit from incorporating the latest trends to help supply chains deal with the challenges of 2021.

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