The 2021 peak shipping season is on track to break records, and for months, industry experts, including Inbound Logistics, have discussed how the ongoing peak of e-commerce from 2020 will lead to added pressure for this holiday shopping season. Yet, peak season does seem to be less stressful than last year, and a recent survey of 200 supply chain management professionals across companies with 500+ employees, conducted by Edelman Intelligence, has found some surprising facts about the coming peak season. Let’s take a look at what the research shows and how it will help your company thrive through what’s sure to be an interesting close to 2021.
Supply Chain Confidence Remains Strong Despite Slight Setbacks
The survey found a 15% decline from 88% in positive outlooks for a three-month period in March 2021, but the outlook for a year from now, is only 2% lower than the March 2021 reading of 81%. It’s important to also note that this includes a view of whether the supply chain is much worse, worse, about the same, better, or much better than today. The change in outlook also reflects the blips in revenue streams that have arisen from recent months, including the significant container backlogs coming from China and building upon U.S. ports.
Even with that in mind, 85% of those surveyed have a positive view of how their revenue will look in the next year. Only a small fraction, less than 10%, have adverse views of how revenue forecasts will shape up over the next year.
Most Supply Chain Decision Makers Look to Quality 3PL Services for Competitive Advantage
Part of supply chain uncertainty is mitigated through the use of technology, which stands apart as a leading need among supply chain decision makers. The survey found that 8 in 10 decision makers cite the importance of a 3PL company providing cybersecurity measures, easy-to-use technology tools, custom ERP systems, access to real-time data, and technology that can be leveraged from desktop or mobile. Other top capabilities supply chain decision makers want when partnering with a 3PL include:
- Solutions to help them reach sustainability goals.
- Offering consultative guidance in supply chain strategy.
- A single point of contact for execution.
- Multimodal shipping solutions.
- Final mile transportation services.
The Talent Shortage Is Continuing to Make Waves
Another factor uncovered within the survey is not necessarily new, the talent shortage and its effects; 90% of respondents indicated a need to hire more people to meet demands, and maintaining a workforce is the second most anticipated challenge for the remainder of 2021. It’s also interesting to note that this follows only behind the fear of another lockdown. As uncertainty continues, finding and keeping workers is likely going to grow more challenging.
Resource Management Will Be Critical to Meet Demands Through the Remainder of 2021 and Through 2022
The survey further found that resource management is top-of-mind for supply chain leaders going into the peak shipping season as well. While this coincides with the talent and driver shortages, it alludes to an increased demand for partnerships and 3PL-like services. The survey found that 94% of respondents feel partnerships with supply chain and logistics companies are necessary to get through peak season. Workforce needs, rising costs, and congestion throughout the industry will continue to exacerbate the issue. Resource management will be critical to doing more with less and avoiding unnecessary waste., Whether that’s wasted time while idling for loading or unloading, wasted miles, wasted packaging, or inefficient processes, those issues are likely to remain prevalent well into 2022.
Hope Is on the Horizon Despite an Above-Average Peak Season
Even with the uncertainty in the market and the higher bar of activity set for the peak shipping season of 2021, there is hope on the horizon. The survey found 94% of respondents believe their company’s e-commerce businesses will remain strong despite COVID-19 risks, and 84% realize that reopening and COVID-19 will create unforeseen challenges in managing yet another peak through the pandemic. Ultimately, the results of the pandemic have created a more resilient supply chain, evidenced by 90% of companies feeling more prepared to meet customers’ demands going into peak season than in 2020. Also, 75% expect a higher revenue gain from peak season 2021 than any year prior.
GlobalTranz Is Ready and Able to Help Your Company Navigate This and Future Uncertainties
The survey’s findings reiterate the need for a flexible and evolving supply chain. 3PL company partnerships are an integral part of the modern-day supply chain. Together, shippers can derive more value, execute more shipments, and stay more strategic when they have the right partnerships. Request a consultation with GlobalTranz to learn more about how your team can be more prepared for what this peak shipping season has in store.