Inbound Logistics | July 2022


Supply chain technology isn’t just for large companies. It’s possible — and necessary — for businesses to invest in new innovations, no matter what their headcount. By Helen Mann

either. Supply chain disruptions are the second-largest concern for small and mid-sized businesses, according to a Chamber of Commerce report released in March 2022. Sixty-ve percent of companies reported that it is difcult to manage pandemic-related shocks, 66% are impacted by labor shortages, and 59% of businesses struggle to keep up with customer demand. To address these challenges, an inux of technology has become accessible to small and mid-sized businesses. “New startups are lowering the barrier for small and mid-sized businesses to innovate their supply chains,” says Nick Vyas, associate professor of clinical data sciences and operations at the

I t was not long ago when supply chain operations were thought of as a backroom affair, running on paper charts and fax machines. But after nearly two years in the spotlight, the sector has attracted attention—and resources—at new levels from Silicon Valley. Funding for supply chain technology hit $11.3 billion in 2021, reports Crunchbase News. That’s nearly double the dollar amount supplied in 2020, and it dwarfs the previous record of $9.1 billion in 2019. Advanced technologies such as big data, management systems, and articial intelligence have become integral to supply chain operations. Technology to manage the supply chain is not just for the Fortune 500,

University of California Marshall School of Business. “They are allowing much greater access to resources that these companies didn’t have before.” GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS The good news for small e-commerce merchants is that, in 2022, sales channels and marketing opportunities abound. Online retailers can advertise on any number of social media platforms, and sell through Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, and other channels. The bad news: actually getting those products to customers has become unruly and expensive. Restrictions on manufacturing activity in China culminated in erratic production

174 Inbound Logistics • July 2022

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