How would you summarize the supply chain in 2021 in five words?



Tags: Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, Logistics

A never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

—Brian Higgins

Principal, Supply Chain & Operations Leader


CHAOS: Challenging Hectic Absurd Obscure Somber

—Jeff Pepperworth

President & CEO

iGPS Logistics

Scale matters for everything shortages.

Home Depot, Walmart, and Costco are among those who can charter entire vessels to ensure capacity. Companies from Nike to Amazon increased air freight, despite costs of up to $2 million a charter.

Large fast-moving consumer goods firms can procure more of everything from raw materials to packaging and transport. Large retailers can purchase “panic pallets” and absorb the inventory costs. They have the means to lessen exposure as compared to the markets overall.

—Susan Beardslee

Principal Analyst, Supply Chain Management and Logistics

ABI Research

Biggest dumpster fire ever.

—Chris Peckham

VP, Operations


Buckle up for the ride.

—Darlene Wolf

SVP, Strategic Partners

Arrive Logistics

One down, two to go.

Supply chains have weathered the first phase of the pandemic—with immediate impacts like manufacturing disruptions and demand swings. We are now in phase 2; we are seeing the non-intuitive impacts resulting from a complex ecosystem, for example, container capacity and raw material supplies. In phase 3, we will understand the new normal and demand will have been adjusted for the abnormal swings experienced in phases 1 and 2.

—Allen Jacques

Industry Leader


Everybody’s rethinking their supply chain.

—Mark Robinson


UPS Capital

Antiquated processes unearthed significant disruption.

—Michael Hung


CBX Software

Strained, unreliable, and under supported.

—Allen Polk

VP, Sales


Unprecedented, volatile, dysfunctional, but hopeful.

—Neil Wheeldon

Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

BDP International

Evolving at an accelerated pace.

—Greg White

SVP, Corporate Development


Opportunity to improve business strategies.

—Greg Forbis

EVP, Strategy & Business Development

RJW Logistics Group

Bottlenecks, bullwhips lead to resiliency.

—Christina Vali

Director, Client Solutions


A massive broken unpredictable mess.

—Kevin Ledversis

Sales Director

Newcastle Systems

Global, volatile, long, expensive, recovering.

—Arjun Chandar

Founder & CEO


Opportunity to excel and evolve.

—Bruce Lancaster


Wilson Electronics

Unbridled consumerism causing record delays.

—David Bowers

VP, Warehouse Operations

TA Services

A digital revolution is happening. Massive disruption, wild unpredictability, and sky-high customer expectations have combined to produce a perfect storm for global supply chains. Shippers have no choice but to abandon outdated ways of working and get on board with the digital revolution at hand.

—Virgil Ferreira

COO Rate Management


A slow moving goat rodeo.

—Dale Young

VP, Warehousing & Distribution

World Distribution Services LLC

Necessity = mother of invention.

—Tom Martucci

Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

Consolidated Chassis Management

More capacity starts with labor.

—Gregory W. Tuthill

Chief Commercial Officer

SeaCube Containers

Congested. Essential. Gritty. Painful. Heroic.

How people are overcoming the influx of shipments and pain points to fulfill orders is heroic.

—Dustin Hansen



Disruption, uncertainty, watershed, risk-managed, digital.

Over the past 20 months, supply chains have been faced with unpredictability and disruptions on a global scale. 2021 has shown supply chains need to become more resilient and adapt digitally.

—Mick Jones

Strategic Supply Chain Advisor


Pushing limits and prioritizing people.

—Sean Elliott

Chief Technology Officer/Chief Digital Officer

Körber Supply Chain

Congestion, volatility, complexity meet perseverance.

—Patrick Campbell

U.S. Chief Operating Officer

Coyote Logistics

Challenging, underinvested, ripe for disruption.

—Gonzalo Galindo


CEMEX Ventures

Small bottlenecks create major disruptions.

—Nathan Strang

Director, Ocean Trade Lane Management


Ripe for digital disruption.

Particularly for retailers, 2021 revealed the urgent need for innovative supply chain strategies and disruptive technologies.

—Guy Bloch



We need operational resilience now.

—Jennifer Bisceglie

CEO & Founder


High demand, over stressed, lacking.

—Lonny Holston

Export Operations Coordinator


Broken, opportunity, opaque, unsustainable, inflationary.

—Scott Evans



Drinking from a fire hose.

—Patrick J. Allen, CSCP

Client Solutions Director

Transportation Insight

Chance favors the prepared mind.

—Lior Elazary


inVia Robotics

SMBs face threat and opportunity.

—Dennis Oates

Chief Logistics Officer


Much Ado About Nothing Delivered.

—Eric Allais

President & CEO

PathGuide Technologies

Adapt and innovate to survive.

—Alex Wakefield


Longbow Advantage

Crisis exposed need for visibility.

—Sam Lurye

CEO & Founder


Unpredictable, undersupplied, untimely, underappreciated, understaffed.

Jonathan Parks

Senior Vice President, Supply Chain

iGPS Logistics

Delayed shipments requiring urgent delivery.

Adam Whelpley

Transportation Logistics Manager


CHAIN: Cautiously Hopeful Against Increasing Neglect.

It is pretty clear that supply chains for decades have been viewed by finance and hordes of MBAs as cost centers to squeeze out inefficiencies and expenses. A continual neglect in regular investment has come home to roost in 2021. Yet, I’m cautiously optimistic about the role of modern technology to, when applied, fix several of the systematic problems we now face.

Jason Murray



Disrupted, optimized, but still broken.

It needs more attention from IT and logistics professionals to get it fixed.

Dmitri Fedorchenko

CEO and Co-Founder


Inflexible, foreseeable, resiliency, fixable, responsible.

Let me explain. We have experienced the perfect global storm of COVID-induced closure of demand followed by almost overnight exponential increase as restrictions lifted, combined with economic and political trade barriers, years of under-investment in modern transportation innovation, and a few accidents (eg. Evergreen’s Ever Given) thrown in for good measure.

While these specific issues were perhaps not envisaged, issues do happen and should therefore be foreseeable. What it has done is thrown into dramatic spotlight the inflexibility of our global supply chains, and if we have learned anything it is that we must build in better resilience. We have come to accept that redundancy in supply chains must be eliminated for the cost it incurs; we now need to rethink that logic.

The challenges we currently face are fixable, but longer-term it requires a different approach; one that really understands where the weak points are, what might fail before it does, and to be prepared to fix when it does. It will also require a more responsible circular model that has less reliance on sourcing new materials into the supply chain and more focus on retaining materials within it.

Oliver Lemanski



Bring ALL solutions to customers.

Tyler Scogin

Senior Account Manager

Leeds, AL

TA Services

Have a great answer to a good question?

Be sure to participate next month. We want to know:

What is the biggest supply chain lesson you learned over the past two years?

We’ll publish some answers. Tell us at or tweet us @ILMagazine #ILgoodquestion.


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