Philipp Pfister, CCEO at Transporeon, explores how supply chain managers need to not merely adapt to but anticipate disruption in an increasingly volatile world.

After disruptions at two of the world’s most crucial trade corridors – the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal, it’s fair to assume political tensions will likely play a more prominent role in sourcing and distribution as supply chains continue into 2024. Wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East are threatening flows of grain, oil and consumer goods. Climate change and mass migration are destabilising trade lanes from the Panama Canal to the U.S. Mexico border. The result? A potential migration of trade from once secure and stable trade routes. The map is being redrawn.

It’s clear, growing geopolitical tensions are making international supply chains ever more complex. A disruption in a supply chain is not just a logistical challenge, but also a sign of a broader shift in the global trade ecosystem, which calls for a new approach to traditional supply chain models, making sure that they provide resilience and innovation. However, global supply chain disruption can be transformed into a pathway for building stronger, more adaptable supply chains that can weather future storms with the right tools and a forward looking approach. As explained by Gartner, “Supply chain disruption is no longer an ‘if,’ nor is it really a ‘when,’ since it’s both omnipresent and unpredictable at the same time. The question you must answer is: Are we able to mitigate the next global supply chain disruption that comes our way?”

Unlocking Technology Benefits 

Organisations can no longer rely on reactive measures and outdated manual processes to manage these disruptions. Supply chain managers need to proactively transform their operations using automation technology. Effectively deployed, automation increases efficiency, reduces risk, and allows managers to better anticipate and mitigate disruptions as they occur. 

In the meantime, companies have taken vastly different digitalisation trajectories over the past decade due to the lack of universal standards for digital solutions. As a result, technology stacks are often siloed and can’t communicate with one another. In addition to other challenges, it can make it harder for companies to understand their order and capacity situation accurately and to verify whether processes are flowing smoothly.

A standardised approach to digitalisation based on a collaborative network, rather than companies working in isolation is the solution. A collaborative ‘platform approach’ facilitates a phygital (the seamless integration of physical and digital systems) future by enabling the creation of a transportation network spanning the entire industry. Connecting shippers, carriers, logistics service providers and other stakeholders simplifies communication, gathers real-time insights, reducing administrative costs and improving efficiency.

Furthermore, a platform approach facilitates better decision-making and problem-solving. Real-time data allows stakeholders to identify and visualise tracking the load in transit to minimise the impact of issues on product delivery or customer satisfaction.

A collaborative approach also enables data-driven decision-making, with companies benefiting from a vast pool of insights that helps all parties get ahead. With the help of this data (and a high degree of automation), companies can reduce dwell times, optimise yard operations, and more. On a long-term basis, AI models can learn to create tools for autonomous procurement or quotation, real-time ETA and everything in between.  

A new reality 

In the transport and logistics industry, there is no such thing as a once in a lifetime event like a global pandemic that can create costly supply chain disruptions, especially as eighty percent of industry executives reported major issues in their operations over the past 12-18 months, highlighting the importance of flexible and resilient supply chains.

A fundamental requirement for progress in 2024 and beyond is being able to adapt to the new reality, with companies across many industries recognising resilience is not just a competitive advantage. For this reason, digital and technology solutions have become essential to creating stronger, more healthy supply chains. As such, organisations should harness technology and a smart network approach to predict, mitigate, and swiftly recover from disruptions to reinforce the quality of their operations and competitive edge. 


In the pursuit of a resilient future, businesses should not merely adapt but anticipate. Digital tools empower supply chain managers and leaders to proactively address disruptions, respond with agility, and thrive in a changing environment. In order to maintain a resilient supply chain that is robust and ready for new challenges and opportunities, organisations need to develop the right strategies and commit to continuous innovation. 

As companies navigate an increasingly complex and volatile global landscape, digital transformation becomes a strategic imperative. In order to build agile, tech savvy teams, integrate sustainability measures, and foster supply chain collaboration, companies need to recognize challenges of a changing landscape and seize technologies that empower supply chain visibility. 

Data-driven decision making and scenario-based resilience plans enable organisations to create a durable supply chain that can weather any storm and sustain growth.

  • Digital Supply Chain
  • Risk & Resilience

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