With Challenges on the Horizon, Shippers Focus on Collaboration and Communication

As logistics professionals head to Las Vegas for Manifest: The Future of Logistics, experts throughout the supply chain are working to bolster a sense of community. Fruit Logistica Berlin is offering produce professionals the opportunity to meet and greet, and Amazon is introducing new initiatives to strengthen ties with sellers. With cutting-edge logistics providers creating innovative solutions to enhance the community, we’ve rounded up the nine must-know stories in the industry that’s always moving.

Supply Chain Conferences Return With Renewed Focus on Resilience 

Following a long pandemic hiatus, supply chain industry conferences seem to be largely back to normal. As shippers struggle to navigate a volatile post-pandemic supply chain landscape, many are placing efficiency and resiliency solutions at the forefront of their conferences. However, as Supply Chain Dive reports in a write-up of the must-know conferences, events such as these are looking to help shippers not only survive, but thrive in a post-Pandemic supply chain marketplace: “From optimizing fleet routes to making warehouses more efficient with new technology, supply chain conferences this year are delving into ways businesses can keep their competitive edge while keeping costs down.”

UPS Prepares to Release Q4 2022 Results Amid Mounting Challenges

UPS plans to announce its Q4 2022 on Jan 31, 2022, at 6 a.m. ET. Following the release of their fourth-quarter results, UPS CEO Carol Tomé and CFO Brian Newman will lead a call with investors to discuss the much-anticipated results. 

As the parcel delivery giant continues to struggle with plummeting volumes and an increasingly likely strike among its 350,000 teamsters, anxious investors are eager to see what the future holds. The investor call will be available publicly via https://www.investors.ups.com/

Walmart Expands Associate-to-Driver Program to Combat Driver Shortage

As the driver shortage continues to plague the transportation industry, retail giant Walmart is turning to existing staff as a possible solution. In a Jan. 18 announcement, Fernando Cortes, Senior Vice President of Transportation for Walmart, said the company would be expanding its Associate-to-Driver program, which offers driver training to existing Walmart associates. 

Today, I am thrilled to announce we are expanding the pilot program so that associates working in stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers, and transportation offices in participating locations will be able to take advantage of this incredible program,” Cortes said. “The program is a win for associates, who can take the next step in their career journey without leaving the company. It’s a win for Walmart, as we can continue to invest in our talented team of associates. And it is a win for customers and members, as our fleet continues to deliver every day.

Despite UPS’ Best Efforts, Teamster Leadership Remains Intent on “Sending a Message”

With companies coming out of the pandemic facing a persistent labor shortage, unions are poised to make bold statements in the coming years. Anxious about the outcome of what many expect to be difficult labor talks with Teamster leadership, parcel delivery provider UPS recently issued a jobs report touting wages and potential for growth within the company. 

Despite the delivery giant’s bid for sympathy from Teamster membership, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien had harsh words for UPS in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “We are sending a message to UPS that the days of concessions and walking all over our members are over.

Amazon Introduces New Capacity Management System to Meet Seller Demand

In a Jan. 17 announcement, e-commerce mega-retailer Amazon has announced plans to introduce a new capacity management system. Using the system, third-party sellers using Amazon’s fulfillment services can place bids to access additional storage space. Additionally, sellers can request additional inventory capacity for a fee determined by Amazon. 

“Amazon’s new FBA capacity management system will give most sellers greater capacity limits, provide more predictability and greater control to get more capacity when sellers need it,” said Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Partner Selling Services for Amazon, “These changes provide sellers more visibility and control over capacity limits in order for them to better plan and manage their inventory and supply chain.”

2023 to Bring Regulatory Relief to Aspiring Drone Delivery Programs

As major retailers like Walmart and Amazon compete to make drone delivery widely available, their efforts have been consistently hampered by federal regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA’s strict guidelines have largely prevented broad uptake of drone delivery strategies; however, that may change in 2023.

According to reporting from Supply Chain Dive, Abigail Smith, deputy executive director at the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office and Executive Director of Policy and Plans within the Office of Policy, said the agency “will propose new regulations this year to support greater drone use, including delivery.” 

Persistent Drug Shortages Lead European Union to Take Action

Surging demand for drugs throughout the European Union has led the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to declare multiple shortages of vital medicines. Following this declaration, the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, has begun to take steps to ensure capacity for essential  medicines. The commission has already started stockpiling medicines, asking manufacturers to guarantee a reliable supply of medicines, and working with various governments to organize procurement. 

Shortages of medicines have become a systemic challenge with numerous vulnerabilities, including the lack of geographical diversification for certain products, regulatory complexity, or public procurement practices,” a representative of the European Commission told CIPS.org, “The Commission will address these aspects in the upcoming reform, notably by stronger obligations for supply, earlier notification of shortages and withdrawals and enhanced transparency of stocks.

Experts Argue Low Demand Is Temporary, With Growth on the Horizon

Despite the impact of low demand on the global transportation industry, industry experts argue that low demand is temporary and that growth will return in the second half of 2023. 

In a recent Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates, Ben Hackett, Founder of Hackett Associates, argues that despite falling demands, shippers should remain optimistic heading into the new year: “Compared with last spring’s strong showing, the first half of 2023, is forecast to experience a year-over-year import decline of nearly 17%, with the Transpacific trade suffering a drop of over 20%,” Hackett said, according to reporting from Logistics Management, “Nonetheless, as inflation eases and consumer spending returns, we project that growth will slowly return going into the second half of the year.”

Fresh Produce Conference Provides Produce Professionals With a Chance to Build Connections

From Feb. 8-10, produce industry professionals from 86 countries will gather in Berlin to discuss the challenges facing the fresh produce shipping industry in 2023. According to its website, Fruit Logistica Berlin “offers superb networking and contact opportunities to the key decision-makers in every sector of the industry.

In an interview with FreshPlaza, Greg Thorne, CFO of Seven Seas Fruit, said “With our citrus varieties shipping all over the globe and the season starting soon, we are looking forward to seeing our customers and potential customers at Fruit Logistica Berlin next month. With a reputation of being one of the premier global fresh produce shows, it is a key event for us and one that we have been exhibiting at for the past 15 years.

Looking to Bolster Your Supply Chain Community? Find Intelligent Audit at Manifest: The Future of Logistics, from Jan. 31-Feb. 2.

With 2023 promising a new set of challenges for supply chain professionals, shippers across the supply chain are looking for innovative strategies to bolster resiliency. With Intelligent Audit, shippers can harness the power of machine-learning-enabled business intelligence to garner actionable insights, which they can then easily share with logistics partners throughout the supply chain. 

Want to learn more? Get started with Intelligent Audit at Manifest: The Future of Logistics at Booth #236.

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