Supply chain shock absorber

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the public gaze towards supply chains and a previously unrecognised business sector became a household name, but after two plus years of navigating monumental challenges, supply chain executives, are faced with more challenges and need to secure their supply chains before the next shock hits.

Even as shippers try to make sense of the most tumultuous period ever seen in global supply chain management, the market is changing so rapidly that no matter how difficult the past few years have been, the future is once again taking centre stage.

Global container and air freight markets are shifting on multiple levels. Quickly moving on from the pandemic period and moving into a phase that had been expected to be a return to the pre-pandemic status quo, but is instead entirely new and unpredictable.  

Today’s supply chains are operating in a radically altered geopolitical and economic environment and a soon-to-be altered industry structure, with the impending breakup of the 2M Alliance likely to entirely transform the global container shipping market.  

Even as rates fall from their historic highs and port congestion and delays are fading, shippers need to recognise that the new era will have its own challenges, which need to be acknowledged, for the avoidance of risk.  

For the last 30+ years supply chains have been defined by opportunity to drive down cost and improve efficiency. Reliability was taken for granted and risk was an abstract that was rarely built into the business strategy and disruptive events were easily isolated, or avoided, because they were not part of the operating environment.  

All this has now changed and unpredictability has to be anticipated, even if there are no apparent triggers, because even if the industry looks normal, operational impacts will follow from a heightened perception of risk. 

This is demonstrated by the much greater than expected diversions from the West Coast to avoid ILWU labour disruption if contract negotiations stuttered or failed, as happened during earlier negotiations. 

And on top of unpredictable risk factors, shippers are balancing supply chain complexity against geopolitical demands over supply sources, but which is more resilient, having two suppliers for a critical component, or one that’s not ‘political’, It’s a really tough situation.

Metro’s MVT supply chain platform reduces the cost, time and risk of re-sourcing to new vendors and locations, with PO management, visibility and communication tools that onboard and integrate new suppliers into the supply chain.

To learn more or to arrange a demo EMAIL Simon George, Technical Solutions Director