Each new year brings both trends challenges and opportunities to the Supply Chain and Procurement industries. The ability for businesses in both supply chain and procurement to adapt quickly was very evident in 2020, and this will continue to consolidate further in 2021.
Impact of COVID-19 – keeping consumer trust is key
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted the supply chain industry. Never before has the role of procurement had such a spotlight cast upon it had such a critical role. Along with many resulting challenges, the ongoing shifts in consumer thinking and improvements in technology has created significant opportunities moving into 2021.
The three main goals for any supply chain is to reduce costs where possible, be the best provider of choice, and keep your customers satisfied. Everything about post-pandemic society is leading towards increased demand for services, the need for instant communication, and individualised processes. Attempting to juggle these demands can add complexities to the supply chain of many businesses.
Gaining and keeping consumer trust is more important than ever in the competition for return business. Keeping up with supply chain complexities and being able to adapt in a timely manner is crucial to ensure that your product or service is delivered on time and to a high standard.
Here are the ways we see Supply Chain and Procurement evolving beyond 2021.
The Importance of Australian Made – positives for both consumers and producers
The global pandemic and the inability to source inputs from overseas markets as easily as before will cause the demand for Australian made goods to increase during 2021 and beyond. Both federal and state governments are investing significant funds into patriotic advertising campaigns that champion the quality of Australian made products.
52% of Australians have a preference for Australian made goods and that 89% believe that more goods should be produced here1. This trend presents significant opportunities for supply chain professionals in 2021.
Pivoting to an Australian made manufacturing process, and by sourcing Australian made inputs, businesses can take advantage of this increasing consumer demand. Doing so will safeguard their supply chain from the risk of international influences, such as import bans or the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on overseas businesses. Therefore we will see a significant boost in career opportunities for Australian professionals in the supply chain industry.
Online Shopping Impacts – creating career opportunities for supply chain professionals
The increase in online shopping has been a constant trend in the last decade. However, 2020 saw an even larger uptake in the use of e-commerce, both with consumers and businesses alike. Businesses now need to compete both on price, and with quick turnaround and delivery times, too.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the need for businesses to be online was paramount to their survival. Those businesses who may not have had an online presence or sold goods online previously were forced to pivot to do so to continue to trade. Even with COVID-19 restrictions easing in Australia, many businesses who only just started operating online will continue to do so into the coming years.
This trend will see significant career opportunities for supply chain professionals, particularly in procurement and logistics, which are the two essential segments of the supply chain needed for a successful e-commerce business.
Chinese Import Bans – how will this affect the industry?
Prior to the 2020 import bans on Chinese goods, around 20% of Australia’s imports came from China, primarily as a result of the cheaper manufacturing costs.
Due to the recent bans on imports into China and the evolving situation regarding this, the demand for manufacturing will shift to either Australian made manufacturers or potentially other countries in Asia or Europe. Procurement professionals will need to adapt to these changing circumstances in order to succeed.
Procurement officers will need to refocus on sourcing new suppliers, liaising with legal or government bodies and updating areas of the supply chain such as logistics and contracts with new suppliers. All this is likely to have flow-on effects in terms of the costs and timeliness of sourcing goods.
Successful companies will embrace change
When faced with changes and challenges, the best way to prepare yourself is to remain knowledgeable. Staying responsive to trends will help you in your career, as well as aiding the business as a whole. If you’re aware of the challenges or potential opportunities that your company will be facing, then staying vigilant will enable you to take advantage of the positives or tackle challenges head-on.
While 2021 will see significant change for the supply chain industry, the companies who take advantage of these will propel themselves forward into growth for the remainder of the decade.
Career opportunity remains strong
New supply chain trends will help provide opportunities for Australian manufacturing and create more jobs in the e-commerce supply chain industry. These initiatives and increasing consumer confidence will undoubtedly result in positive changes for the long-term.
Three Australian indicators of career demand for supply chain professionals are:
- Recent findings have shown that the number of job advertisements in the Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics industries rose 2.1% in 2020.2
- The supply chain and logistics workforce will see stronger growth than the Australian labour force as a whole, where employment is forecast to grow at an average of 1.5% per annum over the next five years.3
- In the last five years, the number of people working as Supply, Distribution and Procurement Managers grew from 31,000 to over 50,000. Such a rapid rise in demand is tipped to continue thanks to the job creation strategies announced by the Australian Government in 2020, and the substantial opportunities outlined.4
Education and the correct diploma qualifications remain vital to success for those advancing a career in procurement and logistics. Recruitment agencies will look for candidates that display resilience, confidence and understand the importance of relationship-building in times of change. With potentially fewer trade shows and conferences on the horizon, online networking opportunities and mentor connection remain smart strategies for career success.
Supply chain management remains an exciting sector for career potential in 2021 with many layers of opportunity for the aspiring procurement or logistics professional.
1Roy Morgan, 2019. 2SEEK, 2020. 3Deloitte, 2020. 4Job Outlook, 2020.