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Contributed by AFFLINK

This has been a challenging year when it comes to the supply chain. And as the year ends, it does not look like things are getting better anytime soon.  

This makes supply chain predictions for 2022 hard to come by. 

However, one of the few predictions most observers can agree on, is that if we don’t see a correction soon – with products and supplies moving more freely and predictably around the world – the global economy may suffer. 

Nevertheless, according to Michael Wilson, vice president of AFFLINK, a distributor-member organization focused on strategic procurement and supply chain solutions, there are some less “sobering” predictions we can make about the supply chain in 2022.  

Among Wilson’s predictions are the following:

Autonomous Vehicles: Autonomous vehicles will become more commonplace in the supply chain in 2022, “because they will prove their value in reducing costs and improving logistics.” In fact, Wilson believes self-driving trucks will likely be more widespread than self-driving cars in the next year or two. 

Drone Delivery. Amazon completed more than two million drone deliveries in 2021, primarily to consumers. Drone delivery to business and industrial sectors, Wilson believes, will grow significantly in 2022.

Robots. Robots have been moving into the supply chain industry for several years. “However, with the cost of robots coming down, and technological advancements going up, expect them to play a much greater role in the supply chain starting in 2022.”

Sustainability. Sustainability has been a supply chain trend for a few years, but with the recent Glasgow 2021 meeting, expect sustainability to play an ever-greater role in the supply chain. “It may still be a few years away, but electric-powered trucks are the future in supply chain delivery.”

Closer Relationships. Expect greater collaboration between suppliers and distributors in 2022. “Ironically, the many supply chain issues we experienced this past year have brought suppliers and distributors closer together. They realize greater cooperation can help cut costs, improve deliveries, address evolving end-customer needs, ride out tough times, and enhance sustainability.”

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