Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm

Supply Chain Challenges, Tips and Trends in 2024

January 17, 2024

The logistics of supply chains are in a constant state of flux. In 2024, many of the challenges that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic have been overcome, but we are still under the shadow from the fallout of that period.

Today, with ongoing global conflicts, continuing environmental concerns, and diplomatic challenges from all over the world, it is important to understand the supply chain. In this post, we explore the key trends, challenges, and tips that will help you get on top of your supply chain in 2024.

3 Supply Chain Trends

With a raft of new technological developments, we are witnessing a new paradigm in supply chain management. Supply chain trends in 2024 are bringing about quicker responses to day-to-day requests, proactive problem solving, and the reduction of errors and inefficiencies. Here are some key trends to be mindful of in 2024.

1.Generative AI

This technology is revolutionising supply chain management. Software engines can now process larger sets of data and analyse increasingly complex sets of variables. Generative AI can also learn about the nuances of a company’s supply chain in order to refine and sharpen its analysis. Make use of generative AI wherever you can to reshape core business processes for a more efficient supply chain.

2.Data Management

Supply chain management is still faced with the looming challenge of data. Millions of data records are generated every day across the supply chain, and new technologies like IoT devices have further increased this. Data silos are a real problem in many supply chains, and the quality of actionable data suffers. Look for software solutions like reliable ERP systems and other platforms that can organise, track, and analyse data to help improve operations.

3.Low-Code Platforms

The dynamic and complex nature of the supply chain includes things like:

  • Provisioning.
  • Raw material supply.
  • Warehousing.
  • Distribution of manufactured products.

This often results in multiple systems and data sources, and implementing software change in this environment often looks daunting.

You can implement low-code platforms in systems like NetSuite that use APIs and pre-packaged integrations to enable automation of many tasks in the supply chain. Low-code platforms are a technological upgrade that could reinvent the way some organisations approach their supply chain operations.

3 Supply Chain Challenges

With the supply chain turbulence in recent years, there are still many hurdles to navigate. Various ongoing challenges pose a risk to the health of your supply chain, and you need to be aware of them. Let’s look at some key challenges for supply chains in 2024.

1.Labour Shortages

There have been multiple reports of substantial labour shortages in supply chains in recent years. These are fuelled by things like:

  • The pandemic.
  • Inflation.
  • Political instability.

Labour shortages in different industries have a ripple effect on multiple sectors. Sometimes, this causes delays in the supply chain, which is damaging to everyone involved. Supply chain leaders are encouraged to re-evaluate hiring practices and retention schemes to adjust to changing demands for the work environment. HR tools in ERP platforms like NetSuite may offer benefits for these things.

2.Sustainability

The amplified awareness of environmental, social and governance issues is here to stay. This has a direct impact on traditional practices in the supply chain, with many new laws and regulations coming into force. Examples include:

  • US regulations that prohibit the sale of materials mined, manufactured or produced in the Xinjiang province.
  • Financial sanctions against Russia.
  • Laws in Norway and Germany holding companies accountable for supply chain human rights violations.
  • Climate crisis regulations aimed at reducing emissions.

Implementing sustainability needs to be more than just a mission statement. Consumers and governments can see when you actually take action (or fail to do so). Visibility drives resilience and sustainability, to consider AI-driven technology like ERP to improve visibility throughout the supply chain.

3.Inflation

The supply chain is a delicate balance of interconnected operations. When prices go up in one area, there is a knock-on effect down the line. We are currently seeing inflation in labour, energy and transport costs. These are all significant challenges to supply chains.

Leaders must look at distributing risk upstream or downstream as a potential solution. This can be achieved through multi-sourced supplier bases with strict contract time periods that can adjust to sudden price changes. Keeping an eye on trends is essential here to manage your supply chain’s finances.

3 Supply Chain Tips

Having looked at trends and challenges for supply chains in 2024, let’s explore some key tips to make the most of your operations in the coming year. The onset of new advanced technologies is central to this.

1.Embrace an Omnichannel Approach

The pandemic taught us that maximum resilience is key and this means embracing the omnichannel business model. Available channels include:

  • Ecommerce.
  • Direct-to-consumer.
  • Retail.
  • Distributors.
  • Amazon.

If you are swinging on all fronts, disruption on one channel will not put a stop to your business. It’s important to consolidate demand across every channel and have a view into every point of supply. This is where powerful supply chain platforms like a well-designed ERP system are crucial.

2.Transform Your Supply Chain into a Supply Network

Collaboration with suppliers, co-manufacturers, customers, carriers and distributors is all-important. In 2024, focus on strengthening your business network. Legacy enterprise-centric systems are no longer up to the task. To get the most out of your supply chain in 2024, you need to transition towards platforms that accommodate tight collaborative workflows around:

  • Planning.
  • Forecasting.
  • Ordering.
  • Shipments.
  • ETAs.
  • Inventories.

Real-time access to all these things is important, and strong collaborative capabilities will help eliminate errors and inefficiencies. Make use of leading ERP platforms and AI-driven tools to help with this.

3.Address ERP Silos

How many separate ERP instances does your company run? In 2024, these self-imposed business barriers need to be dealt with to access greater efficiency. These silos cause problems like inventory buffers, information delays, and reduced service levels. And they are completely unnecessary, since a single ERP system can incorporate everything you need under one roof.

The best solution is to work with a consultant to transition all those workflows into a single, unified ERP solution with powerful collaborative capabilities. This can be done in a way that matches the unique priorities of different arms of the company and generates value at every turn. This could also help find ways to address the challenges listed earlier in this article.

Final Thoughts

Supply chain management has been a challenging area for the last few years. Despite some semblance of normality returning after the pandemic, there are still clear trends and challenges to navigate in 2024. You need to have full visibility of your supply chain, and implementing some of the suggestions in this article is key. There are also other approaches to grow your business in 2024, and you should aim for a holistic approach.

As a final point: stay positive. A simple thing like a hopeful mindset can make a big difference in challenging times. And here are some final tips to leave you with for overcoming supply chain challenges in 2024:

  • Review suppliers and customers to get a clear picture of where you stand.
  • Look for every available opportunity to reduce costs.
  • Increase retail prices if necessary.
  • Always be realistic about lead times.
  • Always keep customers up-to-date about issues like delays.
  • Focus on compliance throughout your supply chain.

Why choose Eventura as your ERP implementation partner?

Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to help manage supply chains to countless organisations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.

As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.

We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts, you can request a free call back here.

You May Also Like…

Order-to-Cash Explained

Order-to-Cash Explained

Businesses must process customer orders using efficient processes to get paid for them promptly. The order-to-cash...