October 13, 2022

Supply Chain Operators Brace for 2022 Holidays: Retail, Technology Shaping Season

Continued supply chain disruptions are expected to weigh on the 2022 holiday season as inflation bears down on consumers and retailers turn to a variety of technology solutions and delivery options to match demand.

Continued supply chain disruptions are expected to weigh on the 2022 holiday season as inflation bears down on consumers and retailers turn to a variety of technology solutions and delivery options to match demand. This past summer major manufacturers and retailers already were stocking up on inventory, hoping to ward off supply shortages. Supply chain operators similarly have worked to prepare amid ongoing challenges.

Holiday Horizon

Most supply chain executives are counting on the holiday shopping season to be marked by continued delivery delays, price hikes and labor issues, even as some of the worst global supply chain issues have cooled off. Freight rates have dropped along with transit wait times, but warehouse issues, labor shortages and geopolitical issues persist, along with fears of a looming recession.

Inflation has become the latest headline issue impacting the supply chain, as experts scramble to predict consumer behavior. The movement of goods has slowed and remains unpredictable. But, the Federal Reserve is taking some of its cues from the supply chain, hoping that as disruptions begin to naturally right themselves, they can hold off on further interest rate hikes.

All of this has meant retailers are working harder than ever to play it smart as the holidays approach. Retail giant Walmart is optimizing its supply chain operations on all fronts and staying close to carriers to make sure merchandise flows are strong and accurate.

Smart Solutions

Retailers also are turning to new and advanced technology platforms and delivery solutions. Walmart has turned up automated technology in some of its distribution centers. The new systems streamline formerly manual fulfillment processes. Walmart is also applying artificial intelligence for more efficient palletizing and growing its automated distribution centers.

Retailers continue to take advantage of growing last-mile delivery options, including crowd sourcing local deliveries and route optimization.

Supply chain operators similarly have upped their solution game. According to a McKinsey study, a few key solution trends have emerged for companies looking to overcome uncertainty. Those include increasing inventory, dual sourcing, and near-shoring.

Continued Concerns

But retailers and supply chain operators remain on high alert. Applying an increased inventory strategy has landed retail giants in the headlines as store shelves overflowed amid flagging and unpredictable consumer demand.

A recent survey of logistics professionals indicated they are not feeling optimistic about the coming holiday season. Six in ten are worried about inventory shortages, while 82% are worried about missing delivery windows. Fuel costs and driver shortages also top the worry list.

Demand planning remains difficult. Recent data, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is not reliable as a future predictor of demand. Minus reliable data, forecasting accurately can be nearly impossible.

Visibility into vendors across the supply chain also is increasingly vital. Supply chain owners have worked to better understand and predict the performance of second tier and third-tier vendors to improve confidence and to better maintain end-to-end control of their entire supply chain.

Better Partners

To help secure the best results during the 2022 holiday season, companies are eager to provide better supply chain partners.

Never has supply chain conversation been more prevalent in the c-suite and, with holiday pressures mounting, businesses are seeking the best support for their busy supply chain and IT divisions.

Supply chain solution platforms and digital supply chain technologies have become hot commodities and the need for sophisticated technology is driving more investment. Simply tracking supply chain movement is no longer enough to detect minor issues before they turn serious, for example. Companies must invest in the type of technology that provides comprehensive metrics, reporting and historical views that can save time and eliminate inefficiencies through the holiday season and beyond.

ketteQ’s built its supply chain solution platform on Salesforce and AWS to make it simple for companies to adopt and deploy quickly to begin seeing results right away. Leveraging two leading cloud platforms allows customers to experience better demand signal and collaboration between sales, operations and finance and faster deployment with existing IT support, data sharing and configurability. ketteQ also helps supply chain operators derive more value from data management, analytics and sharing with other solutions for faster and better results.

As e-commerce and in-store deals begin and shoppers start their holiday purchasing, the most prepared businesses will be staying a step ahead of unpredictable supply chain disruption.

The Grinch doesn’t have to steal the holiday season. If you are ready to explore better technology solutions, give us a call today.

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Nicole Taylor
Director of Marketing
About the author

Nicole has over 18 years of marketing experience across a wide range of industries including SaaS, Advanced Manufacturing, Hospitality, and Non-Profits. She is a data-driven, detail-oriented marketer adept at developing and executing all aspects of marketing to optimize and leverage visibility to drive growth for brands.