What's ahead?

SCM and IT, UK and US: 5 facts and 2 forecasts

Five fast facts on trends in supply chain management and IT. And a glance at forecasts in light of Brexit and Trump developments. Happy holidays from AEB.

In the middle of the rush just before year end, I wondered what to write about in today’s blog post. Sharing statistics about the run up to Christmas seemed like a good idea. But distribution centres have been busy with holiday business since the summer already and retailers have been planning for it even longer. So there is no need to rub things in now. Better to focus on fulfillment these coming weeks.

Another option, of course, was a review of major events in the year. But we already get a lot of those annual look-backs as it is. We hear the first of them in fall, just after Christmas cookies and supplies were stocked up on supermarket shelves. Maybe it’s better to look ahead and see some interesting statistics to motivate us going forward.

First things first, there is no way around mentioning it: by March 2017, the UK plans its big leap out of the European Union. And Donald Trump will take office in the US next year. Highly suspenseful how these things will turn out and develop. Here are some forecasts on those topics. And from there, the selection of facts gets more diverse with five highlights from supply chain management.

Two important developments to brace for: UK and US

In the study “Brexit: What does it mean for Europe?” by credit insurer Euler Hermes, expected losses for the UK in a “soft Brexit” scenario show a decline in GDP growth by -2.8pp and 1,500 bankruptcies between 2017 and 2019 (with a peak in 2019). In a “hard Brexit” scenario, the cumulated impact would be -4.3pp of real GDP growth and 1,700 insolvencies. 

In the Eurozone, the study sees the Netherlands, Ireland, and Belgium most impacted by Brexit. This is followed by Germany, France, and the US overall. German exporters, for example, are listed with possible losses of around €6.8 billion by the end of 2019. Well, let’s hope things will develop slightly more positive than that.

Reuters reported about expected losses for the US economy of up to $1 trillion by 2021 – based on forecasts by the research firm Oxford Economics. This is based on expected damages resulting from politics in line with Trump’s election campaign statements including protectionism, mass deportation of illegal immigrants, and tax cuts. 

Some impacts will also be noticeable at home – in a number of European economies. And in different areas including trade agreements, climate control, and global security. Of course, all campaign statements should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially in the US – so let’s see what Trump will actually (be able to) do.

Five facts on ongoing trends in SCM and IT: at a glance

Autonomous driving value-add
Autonomous driving value-add
Mixed feelings hold back digitization
Mixed feelings hold back digitization
Drone deliveries take off
Drone deliveries take off
Returns: costly service for retailers
Returns: costly service for retailers
Drones for the good
Drones for the good

I hope you enjoyed this quick fact check and the interesting numbers. Of course we must admit that we don’t fancy some of those forecasted outlooks. And so we remain hopeful that some of them won’t come to pass as predicted.

Before letting you go back to your tasks at hand, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you happy holidays. No matter where you are in the world, I wish you, your family and friends all the best for a happy and festive holiday season.

I hope this year has brought many good things and much success to you. And in areas that might not have gone quite as planned, I hope it has given you strength and many ideas.

In this spirit, I very much look forward to working with you in 2017. And as usual, your questions and feedback is always welcome on LinkedIn. And sign up to our newsletter for new facts and figures from supply chain management and global trade. 

With the very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year – Happy Holidays to you!