The Supply Chain Roundup | How Material Handling Factors into the “Challenge of the 2020s”

As 2022 promises to remain a rollercoaster, The Supply Chain Roundup will make it easy to stay on top of the news by curating the most valuable and innovative takes on supply chains, logistics, and material handling. If you’d like to sign up to receive it via email once a month, please subscribe!

Supply Chain Insights
News from around the Industry 

Supply Chain Insights

  • If the outsized impact of transportation costs on your supply chain is keeping you awake at night, here are some tips to reduce your spend.
  • Is your company foregoing “just in time” inventory practices for “just in case” to combat supply chain challenges? Be wary. As Phillip S Coles highlights: “Maintaining excessive inventory is expensive, isn’t good for companies or the economy, and isn’t the lesson to be learned”.
    Are you trying to keep your company’s mindset from sliding towards the pit of “just in case?”
    This article can help you articulate the issues to your peers and leadership.
  • A federal apprenticeship program, launched due to a shortage of truck drivers, will train thousands of new truck drivers who are as young as 18. Once they hit 21, they can drive solo, but under continuous monitoring by trucking companies.
  • The trend of digitizing freight payments could help lessen the cargo crunch at ports.


  • As warehouses increase automation, it’s crucial to get the human-robot division of labor right. Here are some tips to guide you.
  • Deloitte’s 2022 Retail Industry Outlook recommends that retailers automate their warehouse processes as much as possible and invest in automated driving technology for the last mile.
  • British online-only supermarket Ocado rolled out a plan for the supermarket of the future, which involves next-gen robots picking and packing groceries in hyper-local “dark warehouses.”  getting them to the customer’s front door in as little as two hours.


  • Why are batteries so crucial to a green future?
  • Sustainability is the “challenge of the 2020s” but while many companies know where they want to end up, they’re having trouble mapping a course. Read more (including three other challenges) here.
  • Another supply chain trend article mentioned that 90% of “young millennials” will pay a premium for products with environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients, while almost half of all US consumers are trying to make their consumption more environmentally friendly.
  • Reusable packaging is finally reaching critical mass in the grocery supply chain. Reusable totes alone are saving “enough energy in a year to equal the annual energy consumption of 2.5 million households.”

Smart Ideas from Smart People

Most supply chain managers spend a lot of their time looking for ways to reduce costs. But one of the big challenges with supply chains is that things are often interconnected, so making a change in one area to lower costs can cause a change somewhere else that actually increases the cost. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t look for cost-savings opportunities, but you need to understand how the system works to ensure that you aren’t creating new problems in the process. There are four decision areas that drive most of the costs in any supply chain: Procurement Costs, Inventory Costs, Transportation Costs, and Quality Costs. (Source: Idar Nouti, quoting Supply Chain Management for Dummies by Daniel Stanton)


Interesting Stuff

  • The building sector is responsible for at least 40 percent of global carbon emissions, but the good news is that the building industry is embracing sustainability.
  • Bentley announced it will be producing its first 100% electric car. Home, Jeeves!
  • But for those on a more modest budget, you’ll be heartened to know that the top-selling electric vehicles in the United States are e-bikes.

Resource of the Month
From the TFS Team

 Material Handling Recommendations to Help Your Company Win in 2022

If there’s one piece of advice that sums up material handling in 2022 it’s to “prepare for the unpredictable.” Here are our predictions for the top trends of 2022, along with recommendations to help you prepare.