2023 supply chain trade show takeaways in Q1 and beyond
The ITS team has been busy so far this year, exhibiting at NRF, Manifest, RILA LINK2023, and TPM23. These shows were all extremely informative, giving insights into the retail landscape, a glimpse at the future of logistics, and more. Here are a few of our 2023 supply chain trade show takeaways:
NRF: Retail’s Big Show
- Retail sales have been rebounding in Q1, despite inflation easing. This indicates that consumer confidence is increasing and that shoppers are feeling more comfortable making purchases.
- Retailers should continue to focus on providing exceptional value to customers by offering quality products at competitive prices, with exceptional service.
- Invest in training and credentialing programs to ensure your employees have the skills needed to succeed in the industry.
- It’s crucial to stay up to date with changing trends and technologies to remain competitive in today’s market. Retailers need to stay ahead of customer demands and provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels.
While it’s crucial to keep up with the changing consumer demand, tech and trends, make sure you partner with a logistics provider that is also keeping up with those trends. Retailers must be well-equipped to meet customer needs to remain competitive and that involves being perfectly aligned with their supply chain and network.
Our next stop was Manifest in Las Vegas. While less industry-specific, this was a show packed with supply chain and logistics experts that shared innovations, technologies, and market insights about the potential headwinds on the logistics horizon. Here are our biggest takeaways:
Manifest: The Future of Logistics
- Businesses must focus on creating innovative products or services by leveraging emerging technologies.
- Look for opportunities to partner with other organizations and integrate their products or services into existing ecosystems.
- Companies need to be prepared for rapid change and build flexible strategies that can quickly adapt to volatile market conditions, allowing them to stay ahead of their competitors.
- Place customer experience at the center of any strategy. Businesses must prioritize customer feedback to understand what they need and develop solutions that meet their expectations.
- Visibility isn’t just a buzzword. Every company we talked to was looking for ways to improve visibility into every part of their supply chain.
It’s clear to us that companies that strategically position themselves to adopt third-party solutions and optimize existing processes in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape are the ones that adapt and succeed.
Our focus has always been leveraging innovation and technology to improve quality of life through excellence in all that we do. Manifest introduced us to emerging technologies that will be crucial for success in the near and far future so we can continue that focus.
Following Manifest, we turned our sights back on the retail industry at RILA LINK23. Here are our biggest takeaways:
- Keynote speakers discussed the importance of technology, including AI and machine learning, in the retail industry and future innovations. We’ll likely see emerging technology geared towards solving retail’s biggest supply chain challenges.
- Most retailers are still dealing with excess inventory, and how to best work through that was a hot topic.
- Consumer confidence is still a concern, but most retailers think that will return in the summer months into peak season.
- Sustainability and responsible sourcing have been consistently hot topics across the many shows we’ve attended, but namely at RILA LINK23. Sustainability, especially from a waste management and eco-friendly perspective, is an initiative most companies will invest in sooner rather than later, and they want their supply chain partners to be aligned.
RILA LINK23 was a valuable opportunity for retailers to learn from each other, supply chain leaders and innovators to share their insights and forecasts and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and challenges in the industry.
Once RILA LINK23 closed its doors, we were right on to the next one! TPM23 was our next stop and we were eager to explore the in-depth perspectives of pressing challenges affecting shippers across the world. Surrounded by the world’s most senior-level supply chain experts, we learned:
- Confidence in the industry’s ability to deliver goods consistently has been shattered, leading to a complete reassessment of long-haul supply chains. This will result in higher inventory and potentially higher costs.
- Tensions between steamship lines and shippers have been on the rise, with malleable contracts causing strife. Steamship lines took advantage of the rare bull market in ocean freight, leading to some shippers feeling taken advantage of. In fact, we were talking to one shipper after they met with a leading steamship line, and we asked them how it went… they described it as “retribution”.
- Spot rates are falling, and the industry is uncertain what the post-pandemic reality will look like. There is a question of what the right fit will be when it comes to contracting and securing dedicated drayage and over-the-road trucking capacity.
- Despite the market turmoil, relationships between shippers, forwarders, and carriers are still essential. Access to capacity is critical to executing long-haul supply chains.
- The industry is in a state of ebb and flow, and it’s important to remain open-minded and pragmatic to repair strained relationships and move forward. Everyone knows the market will continue to shift back and forth, so make sure you partner with someone that you trust and is looking for a long-term partnership.
TPM23 was a valuable opportunity for shipping industry leaders to come together and discuss the challenges facing the industry and potential solutions. Everyone that we talked to was still uncertain on how 2023 was going to play out but feels like the entire industry has learned a lot over the last 3 years and is ready for whatever comes next.
Supply chain management with a trusted logistics partner
The ITS team will be attending more shows this year and is excited to continue the conversation of innovation in the supply chain space. Schedule a meeting with us at these shows to learn how custom-built solutions can support your complex supply chain needs.
- TIA 2023: April 19-22 in Orlando, Florida (Attending)
- American Supply Chain Summit: May 16-17 in Dallas, Texas (Sponsoring)
- The Future of Supply Chain – FreightWaves: June 21-22 in Cleveland, Ohio (Attending)
- Journal of Commerce Inland 23: September 25-27 in Chicago, Illinois (Sponsoring)
- CSCMP Edge: October 1-4 in Kissimee, Florida (Sponsoring)