The global supply chain environment has room for improvement. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire world faced a major crisis and the supply chain industry faced one of the most significant disruptions in recent history – now referred to as the Great Supply Chain Disruption. And, yes, the pandemic seems to be coming to an end, but the effects it’s made linger for us to deal with. Plus, the Russian war against Ukraine poses new challenges to the global situation.
That means that the disruption will continue in 2022 and major issues will remain present. Luckily, with proper education and skill acquisition of those working in the supply chain, we can bridge this gap faster and more successfully.
Below, we’ll discuss the biggest challenges and issues in the industry, as well as the role of education in solving them.
Let us first take a look at the 10 biggest modern-day supply chain issues that the industry is facing.
The pandemic started chaos in most of the available ports as well as shipping yards. This created instability when it comes to shipping – retailers are facing delays like never before. This is costing them customers and sales and is one of the primary concerns.
Lack of Warehouse Space
Since retailers can no longer rely on stable shipping and ever-lasting availability of goods, they’re trying to create bigger stock and secure the goods they’re offering. However, the need for more warehouse space to handle more goods leads to additional expenses.
With unstable shipping comes the need for moving production closer to the customer. When the target customers are far from production, the costs are piling up. So, many businesses consider relocating production, and this need is growing stronger. Moving production is not something every business can afford nor has the time and logistics to do.
Businesses are struggling to manufacture their products at the rate at which they’re being requested. For instance, the global computer-chip shortage caused by the war in Ukraine is making car manufacturers lower their estimates of the number of cars they’ll produce this year.
As the chaos in ports grows bigger, the outdated technology shows its inability to handle bigger logistical issues. This calls for new, innovative technology that could anticipate problems and provide solutions on the go.
Automation is one of the potential solutions that are being considered. Case studies and papers are being written on this subject matter extensively. Even college essay writing services have their hands full of these topics. This is due to the growing need for automation solutions in the supply chain industry and the fact universities and colleges are introducing new courses for their students.
Lack of Truck Drivers
The need for truck drivers is growing, but there aren’t enough of them. Even with truck companies paying more money, there is a lack of truck drivers to cover the increased need for driving goods across warehouses or from production to storage and the shipping yards. This causes additional delays.
Increase in Online Shopping
The pandemic may have caused this trend to grow, but it continues even in these post-pandemic times. Online shopping is only growing stronger, and it’s causing problems for supply chain managers. People are placing online orders like never before, but the ability to fulfill them is worse than ever.
Increase in Fuel Prices
A significant increase in fuel prices is also affecting the supply chain industry. Everyone’s affected – from the logistics to the retailers and customers. The former need to raise prices or suffer losses, while the latter have to pay more for every order they place, and the supply chain crisis is getting worse.
Labour Prices Going Up
Service workers and other similar labour workers used to be among the lowest-paid workers globally. However, this is changing. The cost of labour is going up, and supply chain managers are forced to spend more in this sector of their expense list. This is due to a serious multi-million shortage of labour workers that the pandemic caused and that still hasn’t been resolved.
Today, more than ever, big companies are dominating the market and pushing out the smaller businesses that can’t handle standing shoulder to shoulder with them. This is because only economically strong companies can afford to handle all the issues we’ve discussed above and remain competitive in the market.
As for the smaller businesses, many are considering closing factories, selling equipment, or even whole businesses. This is creating a bigger gap in the market and allowing big companies to hold the monopoly.
How Can Education Bridge the Gap?
Education can be the key to solving the issues we’ve discussed above. The important thing is that the emerging trends in the supply chain sector are followed by corresponding trends in education.
Simply put, supply chain employees and professionals need to learn how to deal with modern issues. Since they differ from what was happening in the years behind us, education needs to start offering updated and modernised courses.
So, the best way for education to bridge the supply chain gap is:
- courses and training for supply chain professionals that focus on modern-day issues
- individual mentorship inside companies
- updated supply chain management curricula in universities
With updated and fresh courses, supply chain professionals, whether working individually or in teams, can start working on resolving those issues.
The pandemic and the global economic instability led to serious issues in the supply chain system. But, none of these problems are unsolvable. With the right training and courses that provide practical skills we can apply today, these issues will slowly be removed, one by one.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you prepare for the challenges ahead and motivated you to continuously acquire new skills.
Jessica Fender is a content writer in the supply chain niche and a Procurement and Supply Chain tutor. She blogs about business trends, opportunities, and practices in the supply chain industry. Her goal is to help businesses and individuals grow.