February 19, 2024

Disruptive Events Will Continue: A 2024 Supply Chain Planning Trend

Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, “supply chain” has been synonymous with “disruption” – and what was once a facet of business that very few people were familiar with is now a common conversation topic with friends and family. As we enter 2024, enterprises with large, global supply chains are still coping with the aftermath of the pandemic while simultaneously facing new geopolitical conflicts and economic uncertainty – this was covered in a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, which was headlined “New Disruptions, Geopolitics Hang Over 2024 Supply Chains.”

Unfortunately, we can’t control the disruptions – but we can control how we respond to them. Recently, ketteQ sat down with several supply chain industry experts to discuss just this. Keep reading to see many of the insights gleaned from these conversations.  

READ MORE: Supply Chain Planning Predictions 2024: Trends and Insights from Industry Experts

Disruption is the New Normal  

The supply chain is facing an era of unprecedented disruption, with events ranging from local manufacturing issues to global geopolitical conflicts occurring more frequently and with greater intensity. Business leaders and consumers alike are asking “when will we get back to normal”?  

The resounding feedback from the thought leaders we interviewed was essentially “we won’t.”  

Cheryl Capps, former Chief Supply Chain Officer at Corning and Executive Advisor, shared that it is imperative for manufacturers to “make the fundamental assumption that it’s going to be like this…until it’s not, and this requires new perspectives, new technology and a fundamentally different way of doing things.”  

Rick McDonald, Chief Supply Chain Officer at The Clorox Company, continued that “disruptive events used to be shallow in depth and short in duration” but that “there will be more black swan events as we go forward,” while Tom Maher, Supply Chain Executive Consortium at Arizona State University and former Senior Vice President Global Service Parts at Dell Technologies, added “most companies have given up that these are one-off events. There hasn’t been a recent quarter where there hasn’t been something disruptive that impacted supply chains.”  

Several of the thought leaders spoke of the importance of monitoring smaller-scale disruptions that can eventually cause big issues. Mark Balte, Vice President Services at ketteQ, shared “if you aren’t able to see these little events and react to them, that’s when they snowball and become disruptive. For example, not having visibility into tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers means that something as small as a late shipment could potentially lead to major issues.”  

Reimagine Supply Chain Planning  

Traditional supply chain methodologies, often characterized by just-in-time inventory practices and linear processes, are proving inadequate in the face of disruptions, as well as today's complex and interconnected global landscape. Mike Landry, CEO of ketteQ, summed this up when he shared, “the way supply chains are run hasn’t changed in decades. Meanwhile, supply chains have gotten much more global, connected and fragile, and when you take out one ‘Jenga block,’ the tendency for the whole tower to come crumbling down increases. When it runs well, it’s great, but when something happens, it’s hard for everyone to respond with the speed that is now required.”

To effectively navigate these challenges, enterprises must adopt a multifaceted approach that includes revisiting entrenched mindsets, modernizing outdated processes and leveraging advanced technologies like Machine Learning and cloud computing for enhanced visibility and agility.

More frequent disruption means organizations need to act fast. Capps argued that manufacturers need to “identify disruption before it even happens, leveraging Machine Learning to look at news sources, social media and more.” The only way to truly access this level of visibility and speed is through cloud technology.

Embrace Change – and the Cloud – for Success  

For decades – if not longer – “just-in-time” has been ingrained into the traditional supply chain mindset, which has created the status quo and inertia teams experience today. With the level of disruption supply chains are seeing, McDonald shared that “leadership must shift its mindset and find a balance between just-in-time and just-in-case. They also must reconcile that there will be more redundancies than we’ve seen previously.”  

Capps continued, “mindsets right now are outdated. It’s hard for people – even the experts – to conceptualize the complexity of the supply chain, and mentally we haven’t caught up with the technology capabilities just yet.”

The only way to unlock new levels of supply chain efficiency and face disruptions head-on is to adopt cloud-based, AI-driven solutions. The cloud offers unparalleled scalability and flexibility, empowering businesses to adapt quickly to evolving needs. It also provides a strong foundation for growth and change, with seamless updates and upgrades. Plus, the advanced capabilities of AI help to automate routine tasks, optimize workflows and most importantly, free up supply chain professionals’ valuable time, allowing them to focus on proactive, strategic initiatives opposed to being stuck in a reactive mode.


Companies that proactively adapt to the evolving supply chain landscape by embracing new perspectives, processes, and technologies will emerge as leaders in the field. Shifting from reactive crisis management to proactive risk mitigation strategies will not only safeguard financial performance but also enhance the overall customer experience, ensuring sustained success in an increasingly volatile environment.

To explore the pivotal trends that will transform supply chain planning in 2024, check out our newest eBook.

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Gary Brooks
Chief Marketing Officer
About the author

Mr. Brooks has over 25 years of experience leading global marketing organizations for industry-leading software companies. Prior to ketteQ, Mr. Brooks was Chief Marketing Officer at Syncron where he was instrumental in accelerating the company’s growth and global expansion. Mr. Brooks has also led high-performance marketing organizations at Ariba, Bomgar, Cortera, KnowledgeStorm, Sergivistics, Tradex and Urjanet.

Mr. Brooks has shared his vision for service and supply chain transformation as a public speaker and contributing writer.  His work has been featured in publications around the world such as Forbes, VentureBeat, ZDNet, Equipment World, Nikkei, Manufacturing Business Technology, Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Field Service News, among others.

Mr. Brooks holds a BS from Northeastern University and a MS, Management from Lesley University. He is co-founder of the Brooks Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that provides assistance to those in need.