2021 Supply Chain Retrospective

See the top highlights and lessons learned in 2021 and get a preview of what’s expected in the new year.

This past year has been a challenge for everyone, especially within the transport industry. And with that comes the opportunity to learn and grow. We’ve collected the top insights from industry insiders to help us make sense of the past year — and set us up for success in 2022. 

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Let’s evolve together in 2022 — using our new ways of working, the insights we have gained, and our increased focus on sustainability — toward a greater future, powered by digital technologies."

— Stephan Sieber, CEO Transporeon

With contributions from:

Dr John Gattorna and Deborah Ellis (Gattorna Alignment), Adrian Gonzalez (Talking Logistics), Lora Cecere (Supply Chain Insights), Professor Edward Sweeney (Heriot-Watt University), Dr. Philipp Rau (McKinsey & Company), Timothy Dooner (Freightwaves), Martijn Lofvers (Supply Chain Media), Pietro d'Arpa (Procter&Gamble), Professor Alan McKinnon (Kühne Logistics University), Fernando Liesa (ALICE), Rachel Sibson (IGD), Martijn Graat (LogisticsMatter) and Wolfgang Lehmacher.

Dr. John Gattorna & Deborah Ellis


Embedded resilience: The antidote to severe disruptions in enterprise supply chains 

The impact of the Covid pandemic has broken supply chains everywhere, causing massive  shortages  on  the  in-bound side of manufacturing, and a ‘bullwhip’ effect on the demand-side  as  consumers  went  into  panic  buying  behaviour.

The big question is: how can we better prepare for future global disruptions? 

The answer is embedded resilience.

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Adrian Gonzalez


Unlearning Supply Chain Management (Revisited)

What do we need to unlearn in supply chain management? The way we have always done things is not the way to future success — so what traditional supply chain practices or concepts must companies unlearn before they can succeed? 

Hear how a collection of supply chain and logistics practitioners answered this question in this piece from Talking Logistics.

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Lora Cecere 


Supply Chain Visibility: So needed yet so elusive

Semiconductors. Plastics. Coffee. Copper. Building Supplies. Motors. The list goes on and on. Supply chain shortages abound.

The solution is simple — and complex. Many companies are investing in Visibility, yet progress remains slow. Learn more about how companies can create a comprehensive plan to improve their Visibility.

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Professor Edward Sweeney


Logistics of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out: the global supply chain challenge of our time?

Professor Edward Sweeney analyses one of the greatest logistics challenges of our lives: the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The pharmaceutical supply chain is notoriously challenging, and these past years have been defined by volatility and complexity. 

See how 21st century supply chains have fared in exceptional circumstances. 

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Dr. Philipp Rau


Unexpected demand surge and pandemic related issues created congestion at ports impacting supply

See a graphic representation of daily containership sailing capacity over the past three years. It makes clear how global events like the pandemic and the Suez Canal closure have contributed to port congestion and decreased capacity.

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Timothy Dooner


Will ocean freight ruin Christmas?

WHAT THE TRUCK?!? is FreightWaves' irreverent award-winning podcast breaking down the biggest stories in transportation and logistics. WTT?!? is all about the people that make freight move. 

In this episode, Dooner and The Dude are talking to SEKO Logistics’ Brian Bourke about Christmas. Will it be ruined? Ocean rates are higher than ever, but delays risk missing the Christmas deadline. Tune in to hear a breakdown of key holiday shipping dates.

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Martijn Lofvers



With numerous wildfires raging around the world while other areas are hit by extreme flooding, few people can now doubt that sustainability is a top priority. Still, companies seem to be struggling to know what they should actually do in terms of supply chain sustainability and where to invest their time and money.

We have to fight back hard against inertia. After all, the Earth is on fire!

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Pietro d'Arpa


The Road to Net Zero: From Intermodality to Synchromodality

How is the logistics industry preparing to meet the European Union’s goal to be climate neutral by 2050? This interview between Professor Alan McKinnon and Pietro d’Arpa of P&G shares details on how one of the world’s biggest retailers is finding creative ways to make logistics more sustainable, from product design to collaborative partnerships. 

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Professor Alan McKinnon


Net-zero: Handle with care

How feasible is our goal of reaching Net Zero Emissions? 

We’re operating within a tight carbon budget, and our current efforts — bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), “negative emissions,” and carbon offsetting — need to reach new orders of magnitude to meet environmental goals. 

Learn more about the limitations and opportunities for meeting our own ambitious targets. 

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Fernando Liesa


Horizontal Collaboration by collaborative sourcing

Did you know the total cost of road freight transport inefficiency is estimated at €160 billion, or 1.3% of EU27 CO2 footprint per annum? Meanwhile, the pressure is on for the EU to remain competitive as the world’s largest exporter and biggest trader in goods.

One of the initiatives to tackle these inefficiencies is horizontal collaboration on a strategic or execution level. Watch this panel discussion with Sergio Barbarino from P&G and ALICE and Michael Archer from CHEP on how to make joint tendering a success. 

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Rachel Sibson


Quick commerce: get up to speed

What is quick commerce? How is it being used? How is it developing in different regions?

We’ve seen the huge acceleration of businesses delivering food and consumer goods to shoppers quickly which has added a new channel to operations for retailers and suppliers, and with this comes new ways of working.

This original report — presented by IGD Research — is all about quick commerce, the operating models and how it looks by region. 

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Martijn Graat


Trends in last-mile delivery: What’s in store for 2022

The pandemic has created a massive shift in consumer buying behaviour, and this upswing in e-commerce activities has had an enormous impact on logistics.

See how rising parcel volumes, increasing demand for warehouse space, and the growing shortage of logistics workers will shape last-mile delivery in 2022. 

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Wolfgang Lehmacher


Preparing for a Critical 2022

A crisis can be a catalyst for change and progress. But how have leaders in the public and private sector captured the momentum to drive upgrades, reforms and digital transformation?

Get a deeper insight into what has really changed in 2021 and what the future holds in store for supply chains, transport, and logistics. 

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