Top 10 Talking Logistics Posts in 2023 (Plus Indago & Other Highlights)

I’ve always said, if you’re in supply chain management, you’re in the risk management business.

You have your typical risks, like natural disasters and labor strikes, with the latter becoming more prevalent this past year. As reported by Kate Bronfenbrenner in the Wall Street Journal, “As of Oct. 31, there were 354 strikes in 2023 involving roughly 492,000 workers — nearly eight times the number of workers involved in strikes for the same period in 2021 and nearly four times the number for the same period 2022.”

You also have to deal with the growing risk of cyber attacks. This past August, for example, Clorox was hit with a cyberattack. As reported by Reuters, “shares in Clorox were down 8.1% on [October 5], after hitting their lowest level since May 2018, after the cleaning supplies company warned that an August cyber attack would push it into a quarterly loss and slash up to 28% off its revenue.” Also in October 2023, the less-than-truckload carrier Estes Express Lines in the United States had its operations disrupted by a cyberattack

Geopolitical risks are always present, but they seem to be intensifying too. The Russia-Ukraine war is approaching its second year with no resolution in sight. The attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th has triggered another war, with the possibility of it spreading across the Middle East and beyond. 

In fact, you can say the conflict has already spread, with Houthi rebels attacking ships in the Red Sea. As Costas Paris and Joe Wallace reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, “Many of the world’s biggest shipping lines, oil producers and other cargo owners in recent days started diverting vessels from the region [including BP, A.P. Moller-Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and CMA CGM], prompting a spike in oil prices and insurance rates” and the creation of “a multinational naval force [from the U.S., U.K., Bahrain, France, Norway and other countries] to protect merchant vessels in the Red Sea.”

And there is also the ongoing risk of China invading Taiwan and other regional conflicts.

The good news, however, is that despite all this, most of our Indago supply chain research community members — who are all supply chain and logistics executives from manufacturing, retail, and distribution companies — are “Optimistic” (65%) or “Very Optimistic (4%) about the year ahead from a supply chain management perspective; only 4% said they were “Pessimistic.”

Source: Indago, December 2023 survey (n=26)

Supply chain management is risky business all right, but just like Tom Cruise in the movie “Risky Business,” many supply chain and logistics executives are wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers because they believe “The Future’s So Bright, [They] Gotta Wear Shades.” 

I hope they’re right, which is why I’ll begin the new year with my sunglasses on too, just like I did 13 Decembers ago when I took my own big risk — leaving my secure job and paycheck and starting my own company, Adelante, which means “moving forward” in Spanish. 

Although not always in a straight line, I’ve been moving forward ever since.

So, to our clients, a heartfelt thank you for your continued trust and support. We look forward to continuing our partnership and collaborating with you in the coming year. Let’s keep creating a brighter future together.

Talking Logistics: By the Numbers

A big thank you to all of our Talking Logistics readers, subscribers, and followers for another great year of learning and conversation. The numbers speak for themselves:

Below we highlight the top posts from this past year.

Indago: Research with Purpose

Thank you also to all of the supply chain and logistics practitioners in our Indago research community. We completed 27 surveys this year on a wide variety of industry topics and donated $3,300 to JDRF, American Logistics Aid Network, American Cancer Society, Feeding America, and Make-A-Wish. This brings our total charity donations to just under $20,000 since 2019!

If you’re a supply chain or logistics practitioner, find out what you’re missing and Join Indago Today! You can also follow Indago on LinkedIn and join the 55,000+ executives who have subscribed to our “Be Uncommon” newsletter on LinkedIn.

Here is a list of the research topics we explored in Q4 2023. 

  • Automation, Real-time Insights, and Transportation Professionals (October 2023):  Where are the biggest opportunities for process automation in transportation management today? What are the top business benefits of having real-time data/insights about the transportation market and your operations? How do you see the role and responsibilities of transportation professionals (and how they use technology) changing in the years ahead
  • Insights on Yard Management Systems (October 2023): Are you currently using a yard management system (YMS)? If so, is it well integrated with your transportation management (TMS) and warehouse management (WMS) solutions? If you’re not using a YMS, what’s the primary reason? How valuable are certain YMS capabilities related to trailer prioritization and dock door selection?
  • California Carbon Emissions Disclosure Mandate (November 2023): Is your company directly impacted by this new law? How difficult do you believe it will be to comply? What will be the main challenges in calculating and reporting the greenhouse-gas emissions of your supply chain? 
  • Expectations for Freight Rates in 2024 (November 2023): What are your expectations for freight rates and volumes in the coming year? What actions do you plan to take in 2024 to better manage or control your transportation spend? What are you communicating to your C-level executives about what to expect in 2024 with transportation?
  • Revisiting Performance Reviews (December 2023): Who conducts and provides input in the process? What key performance indicators and documented skills play a role? Does the process consider both the “What” and the “How”?
  • 2024 Supply Chain Trends & Predictions (December 2023): As we head into 2024, what supply chain trends will continue to grow? Which risks are top of mind for your supply chain organization? Are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the year ahead?

See the research questions Indago explored in Q1 2023, Q2 2023, and Q3 2023

Logistics Leaders for T1D Cure Team

Our Logistics Leaders for T1D Cure Team was back out on the roads again this year in support of JDRF. We participated in the Burlington, VT and Grand Rapid, MI rides (see highlights and photos from the Burlington ride).

A big thank you to our team members and team sponsor TranzAct Technologies, as well as our many friends and family members who donated to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, a disease that is affecting a rapidly growing number of children and adults around the world.

Thanks to your support, we raised $33,022 for JDRF this year, bringing our total to over $365,000 since 2016!

Do you enjoy cycling? Are you looking to explore new roads? Want to have fun with friends while supporting a great cause? Then join our LL4T1DCure team in 2024! Cyclists of all abilities are welcomed. If you’re interested in participating in a ride or sponsoring the team, please contact me for details.

Top Talking Logistics Posts and New Episodes

We have many exciting new things planned for 2024, so stay tuned! In the meantime, in case you missed them the first time around or want to watch/read them again, below are the most popular Talking Logistics posts we published this year and the new episodes we aired in Q4. I encourage you to share this list with your colleagues, as well students, young professionals, and others who might be interested in joining our growing community. They can sign up for our email and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and iTunes to stay informed about upcoming episodes and to read our blog posts on industry trends and news.

Again, thank you for making this another fun and rewarding year on Talking Logistics and Indago. Happy Holidays and I wish you all much health, happiness, and success in 2024.

Top 10 Talking Logistics Posts in 2023

  1. Generative AI’s Impact On The Supply Chain (3 Use Cases)
  2. Negotiating With A Chatbot: A Walmart Procurement Case Study
  3. Revisiting Three Mega Trends Transforming Supply Chain Management
  4. How Machine Learning Optimizes the Supply Chain
  5. Barbie’s Creator Was Supply Chain Innovator Too
  6. Nearshoring to Mexico is Booming: What Shippers Need to Know to Keep Up
  7. Electric Freight Trucks: Not Happening Anytime Soon for Long-Haul Moves
  8. SAP Business Network Takes Center Stage at SAP Sapphire 2023
  9. Generative AI + Business Networks: A Smarter Way To Map Your Supply Chain
  10. ProMat 2023: The “I” Word & Other Key Takeaways

Talking Logistics Video Episodes (Q4 2023)

Note: It’s difficult for us to rank our video episodes because many of them are hosted by our sponsors and we don’t have visibility to their views. Therefore, instead of a ranked list, below are the episodes we aired during the fourth quarter of 2023. For the rest of the episodes we aired this year, see our Q1 2023, Q2 2023, and Q3 2023 posts and our episode archive.

Note: Talking Logistics will be on holiday from December 22 – January 2. We will be back on January 3, refreshed and ready to go for another year of sharing insights and advice about what’s happening in the world of supply chain and logistics. Until then, here’s our final Song of the Week for 2023, “Don’t Change” by INXS.