At the time of writing, I’m already waiting for the executive forecast copy to start arriving ahead of the December issues of Electronics Sourcing UK and North America. At this stage of the process, I like to play a mind game by trying to second guess the authors’ thoughts and then compare my ideas with the final articles.
If I was to write my own executive forecast it would start with reshoring, nearshoring and friend shoring. At present, I’m awash with news about investments in new manufacturing and distribution facilities in the UK, Europe and North America. Likewise, I’m intercepting news about production capacity relocating from China to surrounding regions. It looks like the next rewrite of globalization is underway.
Secondly, I would discuss demographics. A strong manufacturing sector requires people to make things and people to buy things. Slowly but surely, we are running out of both. Populations across the planet are aging while, at the same time, the birthrate continues to decline. I foresee a significant shift in the types of products consumers will demand, how they will be manufactured, where they will be produced and how much they will cost.
Finally, there is digitization. As products and their supply chains become more complex, while the number of people available to manage them diminishes, digitization is currently the only obvious solution. Being a digitization pathfinder can be a risky business. However, coming to the game late could also be a disaster. Thus, I expect 2024 to be a year where the middle ground of distribution learns from the early adopters and starts deployment.