Welcome to 2010 .

In subsequent postings I shared the first four our supply chain predictions for the coming year. You can view the previous postings in clicking the following embedded links:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

In this posting, we will conclude this series with the fifth prediction along with a final summary and some instructions on how to receive a free copy of the total prediction series, if you desire one.

Prediction Five: There will be a new resurgence of supply chain carbon tracking along with more momentum in green and sustainable supply chain initiatives.

Even though there was general disappointment in the outcome of the recent United Nations Copenhagen climate conference, the one clear outcome was that carbon tracking and sustainability needs will remain on both global country and corporate agendas for many years to come. Although companies have not yet experienced significant pull for low-carbon or green products, it is just a matter of time before consumers actively seek-out such products and services. The cost and incremental operational efficiency benefits of sustainable supply chain initiatives have already been proven in initial activities.  Major retailers, manufacturing and services companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Wal-Mart to mention just a few, remain very active in driving supply-chain wide standards and guidelines to insure sustainability footprint in products.  Getting ahead of pending carbon regulations and a more socially responsible customer will make more business sense in the coming year.

The needs for continued cost control and sustainability have been complementary up to this point, and should remain so.  Efforts in reduction of fuel and energy consumption, packaging, and recycling of product material each add benefit.  Broader initiatives may have been hampered up to this point, because of general budget and manpower constraints.  As business begins to improve in the latter half of 2010, look to more supply chain initiatives addressing green and sustainability tracking and mitigation.  Transportation, third-party logistics and other service providers will not be immune to this momentum, and they will in-turn be forced to step-up their efforts.

Carbon tracking technology has become more widely available and can be acquired at a very reasonable cost.   Supply chain network design vendors have added carbon tracking and analysis to their existing offerings, and major ERP vendors such as SAP are actively incorporating sustainability and carbon tracking functionality within the ERP suite.  Reverse supply chain planning and control will also begin a new genesis in the coming year.

Finally, as more companies and organizations initiate broader programs, the impacts to logistics and transportation will become ever more evident.  Fewer shipments of optimized loads will negatively impact the volumes of carriers and logistics providers.  Being the lowest carbon consumption and cost transport provider may prove to be highly beneficial in 2010.  Maybe Warren Buffet was indeed a sage in his acquisition of a major U.S. railroad.

A Final Note

That concludes our predictions for 2010, a year that promises to be just as challenging as 2009, but with hopefully a bit more optimistic toward future growth and investment.  The best analogy that comes to mind for reinvigorating your management juices in 2010 is to picture yourself as a military fighter pilot. Take firm control of the joystick, maintain a 360 degree view of the cockpit, and be prepared for another wild ride of non-stop missions.  Good luck and continue to check-in with Supply Chain Matters for your mission intelligence.

As noted in this series, a detailed copy of all five of these 2010 predictions is available in a free research report in early January.  If you desire a copy, please send your request to the following email address:

bferrari at blog1 dot com.   ([email protected] )

In your request please include the following information:

Your name

Organization and title

Email address

Best wishes for a very productive and rewarding 2010.

 Bob Ferrari