2022 Supply Chain Outlook and Trends

January 25, 2022

Last year was difficult for everyone – including the supply chain and logistics industries. The world faced historic supply chain congestion, labor shortages, and high inflation. There is hope 2022 will see infrastructure, prices, and consumer demand begin to stabilize, but there are also a lot of headwinds. Keeping an eye on supply and demand trends can help companies position themselves for success. Here are three trends to watch as we continue to weather the pandemic storm:

Technology Integration

The pandemic-induced lockdown illuminated the essential need for an increased adaptation of technology within the supply chain and logistics marketplace. This is not about eliminating manual tasks, but rather how technology can integrate seamlessly within existing systems to provide a full range of benefits, including greater customer experience, lower operating costs, and even improved reporting and analytics. Supply chain trans parency and visibility has also become a key differentiator in the marketplace and is critical in improving customer loyalty.

Prolonged Skilled Labor Shortage

Labor shortages are now a hallmark of the recovering pandemic economy and, unfortunately one of the root causes of the ongoing supply chain issues. In fact, the National Association of Business Economics found that nearly half (47%) of respondents to its Business Conditions Survey reported a shortage of skilled workers in the third quarter – that’s a 15% increase from what was reported in the previous quarter. Most notably, the trucker workforce is of concern, as nearly a quarter of the labor pool is expected to hit retirement in the next decade. With competition for talent fierce no matter the industry, it’s critical companies show appreciation and take care of their workforce now more than ever.

Continued Supply Chain Issues

Unfortunately, we’re not going to see drastic improvements in the current supply chain landscape any time soon. Overwhelmed ports and delayed shipments have been a heated topic, and companies and consumers are now more aware than ever of long-hidden stress points in the global supply chain. In addition to the struggle to find skilled workers and drivers, industries critical to the supply chain like manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing are facing continued equipment shortages. This further disrupts supply chain operations and means order delays and supply shortages will be ongoing until each issue is resolved.

Continued Challenges for the Forestry Industry

The supply chain crisis impacts all sectors of the forest products industry, from paper and packaging, to logging, sawmills, and more. According to the Forest Resources Association, the industry is affected by the same wide-scale challenges others face, including significant increases in labor, production, supply, and raw materials costs, driver and labor shortages, and limited rail car and transportation availability. Customers are seeing this impact through production and outbound delivery delays, which have led to increased costs of products.

Knowing the ongoing challenges with the international supply chain, U.S. companies that buy domestically may experience a more reliable product supply and have the benefit of offering customers American-made goods while supporting the U.S. economy and its workers. Boise Paper has always been committed to U.S. manufacturing. We proudly support U.S. jobs and local economies and our commitment to producing all of our products in America enables us to leverage a more reliable supply chain.

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