2022 was a tumultuous time. Between the continued COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and vastly increased fuel prices, the supply chain was hit hard. Freight and warehousing prices skyrocketed, distributors struggled to meet demand, labor shortages became more pronounced, inflation rose and some businesses had to lay off employees.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. The sustained popularity of e-commerce meant many companies were able to thrive, despite all the challenges. Ports became less congested as lockdown mandates and travel restrictions were lifted. Automation also helped many organizations become exponentially more efficient.
So, as 2022 draws to a close, it's time to set our sights on the year ahead. What can expect from the manufacturing and distribution sector? How will this affect business? Let's take a look:
Consumer demand for environmentally friendly goods and services is nothing new. Companies have known for a while that if they want to remain competitive within their respective markets, they need to pay attention to their carbon footprint and waste production. Previously, this was a matter of smart business strategies and decisions.
Now, as climate change continues to ravage the planet, governments worldwide are taking a harder stance. As Logistics Viewpoints explains, it's anticipated that many countries will institute environmental, social and governance requirements (ESG) with which all organizations must comply. This legislation will mean that companies that haven't yet adopted environmentally friendly practices will have to do so if they want to stay in business.
Historically, many companies disregard what happens with their products once they've reached the end of their lifespan. Most worn-out goods end up in landfills which means not only pollution, but possibly millions of dollars worth of wasted materials.
Many businesses have realized the potential of reusing parts of their merchandise and have encouraged consumers to return expired or dead products. For example, tech companies are recovering gold in microchips. Being a finite resource, this precious metal is literally worth its weight. It's expected that more organizations will pay attention to how they can repurpose their goods.
In the past, consumers were content to wait days — if not weeks or even months — for their purchases to arrive. With the advent of new technologies that speed up order processing, their patience has grown thin. In the United States, in particular, buyers expect to have their wares on their doorstep within 48 hours, if not less. This has led to the rise of the same-day delivery phenomenon.
To stay relevant and appealing to their customers, companies are forecast to concentrate even more on how they can get their products to consumers more quickly. Automation will play a considerable role in these strategies, as smart software plans the most efficient delivery routes. Businesses will also have to consider the vehicles and labor they use to get the job done.