For Small and Mid-Market Businesses:
To start, set aside 1-2 hours to research supply chain trends once a month. Scan economic and political publications like The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, The Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), or others for articles that give you insights into current or future geopolitical trends. Conduct a quick Google search for “material shortage trends”, “material shortage watchouts”, “supply chain issues”, “supply chain trends”, or related keywords. You can also enter these same phrases in the search bar of your preferred publications to uncover insights that might not appear through a search engine. Read as many relevant articles as you can, including the comments at the bottom from readers.
Take Action Now
At the end of the 1-2 hours, document what you learn. Then quiz yourself. What market shifts or trends did you identify? What surprised you? Ask yourself, “What steps can I take today or this week to get ahead of what may be coming? Who can help me take action?”
For example, maybe you know that you and your contemporaries source materials from a specific country and you learn that that country, neighboring countries, or the region may soon be in political turmoil. You and your colleagues could start to research and contact suppliers in other parts of the world instead.
Consider Monitoring Trends Weekly
Now, if you’re on the very front line of your supply chain operations, you may need to monitor trends weekly. Or if your company is in growth mode, you may want to establish an Integrated Business Plan (IBP) process or upgrade your existing one. If you have the budget for additional headcount, recruit analyst talent to help you conduct comprehensive trend research, analysis, and forecasting.