Industry Talk

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Navigating the Storm: Resilience in Supply Chains

After disruptions at two of the world’s most crucial trade corridors – the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, it’s fair to assume geopolitical tensions will likely play a more prominent role in sourcing and distribution as supply chains continue into 2024.Wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East are threatening flows of grain, oil and consumer goods. Climate change and mass migration are disrupting trade lanes from the Panama Canal to the U.S. Mexico border. The result? A potential migration of trade from once established trade routes and the complete redrawing of maps.

It’s clear, growing geopolitical tensions are making international supply chains ever more complex. A disruption in a supply chain is not just a logistical challenge, but also a sign of a broader shift in the global trade ecosystem, which calls for reassessing traditional supply chain models and ensuring that they provide resilience and innovation. However, global supply chain disruption can be transformed into a pathway for building stronger, more adaptable supply chains that can weather future storms with the right tools and a forward-looking approach. As explained by Gartner, “Supply chain disruption is no longer an ‘if,’ nor is it really a ‘when,’ since it’s both omnipresent and unpredictable at the same time. The question you must answer is: Are we able to mitigate the next global supply chain disruption that comes our way?”

Philipp Pfister explores this multifaceted challenge and showcases innovative ways to equip businesses with agility and insights to succeed in an increasingly volatile global supply chain landscape…


Unlocking Technology Benefits 

Organisations can no longer rely on reactive measures and outdated manual processes to manage these disruptions. Supply chain operations need to be transformed proactively using automation technology to increase efficiency, reduce risk, and better anticipate and mitigate disruptions as they occur.

In the meantime, companies have taken vastly different digitalisation trajectories over the past decade due to the lack of universal standards for digital solutions. As a result, technology stacks are often siloed and can’t communicate with one another. In addition to other challenges, it can make it harder for companies to understand their order and capacity situation accurately and to verify whether processes are flowing smoothly.

A standardised approach to digitalisation based on a collaborative network, rather than companies working in isolation is the solution. A collaborative ‘platform approach’ facilitates a phygital (the seamless integration of physical and digital systems) future by enabling the creation of a transportation network spanning the entire industry. Connecting shippers, carriers, logistics service providers and other stakeholders simplifies communication, gathers real-time insights, reducing administrative costs and improving efficiency.

Furthermore, a platform approach facilitates better decision-making and problem-solving. Real-time data allows stakeholders to identify and visualise tracking the load in transit to minimise the impact of issues on product delivery or customer satisfaction.

A collaborative approach also enables data-driven decision-making, with companies benefiting from a vast pool of insights that helps all parties get ahead. With the help of this data (and a high degree of automation), companies can reduce dwell times, optimise yard operations, and more. Whilst on a long-term basis, it can be used to train AI models to create tools for autonomous procurement or quotation, real-time ETA and everything in between.


A new reality 

In the transport and logistics industry, there is no such thing as a once-in-a-lifetime event like a global pandemic that can create costly supply chain disruptions, especially as eighty percent of logistics executives reported major disruptions over the past 12-18 months, highlighting the importance of flexible and resilient supply chains.

A fundamental requirement for progress in 2024 and beyond is adapting to the new reality, with companies across many industries recognising resilience is not just a competitive advantage. For this reason, digital and technology solutions have risen to the forefront as indispensable tools for achieving supply chain resilience. As such, organisations should harness technology and a smart network approach to predict, mitigate, and swiftly recover from disruptions to reinforce the quality of their operations and competitive edge.



In the pursuit of a resilient future, businesses should not merely adapt but anticipate. Digital tools empower supply chain managers and leaders to proactively address disruptions, respond with agility, and thrive in a changing environment. In order to maintain a resilient supply chain that is robust and ready for tomorrow’s evolving challenges and opportunities, organisations need to develop the right strategies and commit to continuous innovation.

As companies navigate an increasingly complex and volatile global landscape, digital transformation becomes a strategic imperative. In order to build agile, tech-savvy workforces, integrate sustainability measures, and foster supply chain collaboration, enterprises need to recognize challenges of an evolving landscape and seize technologies that empower supply chain visibility. Data-driven decision-making and scenario-based resilience plans enable organisations to create a durable supply chain that can weather any storm and sustain growth.