The goal of the current ReSChape working package “Identification of trends, changes and disruptions in supply chains” is to propose innovative models for supply chains shaped by various current trends that also comprise significant changes and disruptions. Therefore, firstly, a PESTLE analysis has been performed to investigate the trends with respect to socio-economic, technological, political, legal, and environmental factors that impact European supply chains. As a basis, the findings from prior Next-Net EU project have been examined regarding their contribution to resilience and sustainability. After that, a structured literature analysis has been conducted to ensure the inclusion of newly arising, most current trends and will be supplemented by empirically collected insights of external community members that fulfil management roles in supply chains.
As a first finding, the emerged megatrends of the conducted PESTLE analysis can be obtained from figure 1.
Figure 1. ReSChape megatrends identified in the PESTEL analysis.
For more in-depth information, appendix 1 lists particular trends that are associated to the megatrends. As in this month only multiple earthquakes and tornados happened in the eastern and western world, the environmental megatrend of the climate change is taken as an exemplary highlight in this paper and described in terms of its associated trends and supply chain effects.
The climate change is long since impacting economic developments and demands for climate protection activities. Businesses and particularly supply chain partners are increasingly focusing on its consequences as a major risk that – in the context of regulation – requests from regulators and other stakeholders. The climate change is characterized by global warming and fluctuating weather conditions as well as accompanied by sub-trends that are also having an impact on the supply chains, such as air and water pollution. According to the European Environment Agency, air pollution is still the largest environmental health risk in Europe and significantly impacts the health of the European population, particularly in urban areas. Also, water resources remain under pressure as large amounts of surface water bodies in the European Union are in poor ecological conditions. The sub-trend of global warming is indisputable. If society fails to meet the climate targets, global warming will continue while increasing physical impacts, such as extreme weather conditions in the form of storms, droughts, floods, or heat waves. Still, even if the climate targets are met, transitory risks will arise along the way, for example due to changing demands, energy and commodity prices, or new regulations.
When considering the effects on supply chains, the continuing air and water pollution trends cause the need to strengthen sustainable means of production and transportation while increasing smart and sustainable energy sources, materials, packaging, and commodity transitions [1, 2]. Economic growth and more unpredictable weather patterns otherwise increase competition for access to water, impacting citizens, farmers, industries, and governments likewise. In this context, the use of practices and emerging technologies to limit environmental damage need to be and will be researched with the aim of implementing green certifications, policies, and processes through all parts of the supply chain . Also in terms of the global warming as a second sub-trend of the climate change, companies and supply chains are expected to move into action and reduce emissions and the environmental footprint of their products as well as meaningfully use technologies to reduce the impact . By following these aims companies and entire supply chains face multiple risks that will be part of a subsequent paper.
Appendix 1: ReSChape supply chain megatrends and trends along the PESTLE dimensions.
|Different tax structures|
|Political stability||Terrorism, conflicts, and corruption|
|Decline in democracy|
|Global trade shift||Deceleration of the economic growth in emerging economies|
|Export growth on recovery|
|Restructured investment flows|
|Emergence of born-global firms|
|Transportation costs increasing|
|Digital platform economy||Digital platforms|
|Sharing Economy – B2C – C2C|
|Cashless payment / Digital currencies|
|Financial technologies revolution (Fintech)|
|Demographic change||Ageing population boom|
|Young population boom in developing countries|
|Urbanisation||Densely populated areas|
|Consumption patterns||Middle-class explosion|
|Digital learners||Change of purchasing patterns|
|Change of communication patterns|
|Reshaping the workplace|
|Knowledge based society||Emerging skills required|
|Increase demand for high-qualification jobs|
|Continuous learning culture|
|Increasing amount of data||Big data and advanced analytics|
|Cloud based computer systems|
|Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies|
|Autonomous Things and Hyperautomation||Robots and Cobots|
|Internet of things|
|Augmented reality and virtual reality|
|3D printing/additive manufacturing|
|Automated vehicles / Automated guided vehicles|
|Infrastructure and Security-related risks||Online platforms|
|5G and 6G|
|Technologies Contributions to alternative Energy Sources||“Cleaner” energy sources for transportation|
|Alternative Sources of Energy|
|Consumer protection||Cross-border payment regulation|
|Long-term consumer retention|
|Product safety regulations|
|Informational regulation||Data privacy|
|Data ownership and sovereignty|
|Social and environmental regulations||Corporate social responsibility|
|Emissions control regulations|
|Waste and resources management regulations|
|Climate change||Air and water pollution|
|Lack of resources such as water, land, energy, food and rare earth elements|