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ASCM Insights

Logistics Trends and Challenges


Businesses around the world are reiterating or shifting their priorities as a result of the new US president and expected policy changes. This week, DHL, a provider of international express mail, freight transportation, e-commerce, and supply chain management services, released survey results examining US business priorities for 2017. The survey, which was conducted immediately after the November 2016 US election, was distributed to more than 100,000 DHL customers in the United States.

The survey uncovered the following:

  • Asia is the most significant business region for one-third of DHL customers. This suggests “that disruption in trade relations with this region could have significant impact on US companies engaged in international shipping,” according to DHL’s executive summary of the survey.
  • Most of those surveyed (57 percent of businesses) expect e-commerce to be their top area from which to drive sales.
  • Businesses expressed a significant interest in improved use of technology to simplify customs documentation and procedures.
  • Almost 70 percent of those surveyed indicated the importance of international shipping sustainability standards, giving equal priority to cleaner transport emissions, sustainably sourced and recycled packing materials, and the offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions.

Moving forward

We at APICS also have been working to identify opportunities and challenges for organizations in the new global economy. For example, one project is “Supply Chain Management: Beyond the Horizon,” a collaboration between Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and the APICS Supply Chain Council. The outcomes of this two-year collaboration are available on the APICS website. You may view the reports, including “Evolving Sustainability in Supply Chain Management,” “Supply Chain Issues: What’s Keeping Supply Chain Managers Awake at Night,” and more, here.

The final results of this productive collaboration are now in process, but I’m happy to share with you a sample from the final summary report. Our researchers found that, among firms interviewed, common strategic initiatives include streamlining the supply chain through transformation, portfolio rationalization, and standardization. The firms interviewed indicated they would pursue growth strategies through merger-and-acquisition activity, international expansion, and direct-to-consumer sales.

Additionally, APICS and its leaders have developed an ongoing strategic framework for supply chain, called The Rise, which encompasses eight factors, namely

  • the rise of urbanization
  • the rise of Africa
  • the rise of the young and elderly
  • the rise of the role of women in global society
  • the rise of technological autonomy and intelligence
  • the rise of data
  • the rise of transparency
  • the rise of the speed of change.

You can find out more about The Rise in the same-named department in APICS magazine and by watching a video about it at

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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