Hear predictions for 2023 from top venture capitalists with a focus on investing supply chain:
There has been a major surplus of inventory over the past two years due to supply chain disruptions, inventory management challenges, a slowing economy, and shifting consumer buying patterns. There is an expectation that B2C retail platforms that use this extra inventory or B2B platforms that make it possible to offload excess inventory will rise in 2023.
Global supply networks will continue to be reconfigured, reshored, and automated due to conflict, illness, and politics. As Big Tech losses data scientists, software engineers, and automation engineers, more high-quality tech talent will become available for supply chain reconfiguration. Industry associations will encourage companies to take ESG/carbon accounting seriously by creating standards for certain supply chains.
End-to-end visibility is still an illusion for most supply chains, though, as there are still many gaps in the data. The ongoing migrant crisis is putting pressure on the global relief supply systems and causing hardship among people. In a recessionary economy, other priorities rise to the top of the C-top Suite’s ten lists, moving supply chain investments down.
Supply chain optimization will be the top priority for brands and retailers in 2023. Retailers will probably turn to post-delivery, returns, and disposition as a strategy to protect margin as the market resets with a focus on fundamentals rather than the emphasis on top-line growth in inefficient channels over the last few years.
An efficient disposition plan will be essential for retailers looking to maintain their margins in 2023, given the persistence of surplus inventory and high return rates.
The consumer is dissatisfied with wastefulness everywhere in commerce, and we are post-COVID exuberance, coping with inflation and recession, and seeing our earth in distress.
- Excess inventory will be much more qualified for resale/use and find new homes more efficiently and at a lower cost through new platforms and marketplaces. The status of “first owner” of many goods becomes a luxury.
- The delivery promise changes from fast, today and tomorrow, and free to trust when it will arrive, on a specific date. For most non-consumable SKUs, speed next-day delivery becomes a premium, paid option.
- Consumers will invest in brands emphasizing ESG — core to consumer trust. ESG shifts from strategies to quantifiable/measurable impacts that consumers can understand. At some point, consumers will expect all SKUs and services to disclose their “cost to the planet.”
Two supply chain trends to pay attention to as we approach 2023 are:
- Sustainability- The need for more precise carbon tracking for supply chains, utilizing accurate data from the production process rather than estimations, will increase in 2023. The circular commerce industry is also expanding quickly, with businesses concentrating on the sustainable management of unsold inventories, returned goods, and post-consumer recycling and resale.
- Resilience- After the difficulties posed by COVID lockdowns, brands are currently restructuring their supply networks to increase their resilience. To lower risk, brands will concentrate on addressing resilience in second and third-tier suppliers rather than only direct suppliers.
It is certain that in 2023, more capital will be invested in supply chain technology following significant macro-social and geopolitical changes that have made the supply chain to a level that has never been achieved. Along with that, you may anticipate this to be an exciting area to observe because crisis vintages provide some of the highest private market returns.