Supply chain continued to be among the top conversation topics in tech in October, as the world continued to grapple with the shortages, challenges, and economic fallout that COVID-19 created, as well as the prospect of a third, more severe wave. In fact, even though Supply Chain ranked #6 in October, down one spot (from #5) in September 2020, coverage volume grew by 3%. Most notably, while year-over-year ranking remained the same, with supply chain ranking #6 in both October 2019 and October 2020, coverage volume grew 38% this year, showing how significant supply chain became this season due to the pandemic.
There were two key events in October that drove headlines: the Amazon Prime Day event, signifying an earlier start to the holiday shopping season that put retail supply chains and logistics processes to the test, and the coordination between pharmaceutical companies and logistics providers to ensure swift distribution of potential COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, with the Nov 3 US election in close sight, there were a number of stories on the changes that a new administration could bring on the US/China relations, international trade, the improvement of national infrastructure, and growth of manufacturing jobs.
In terms of companies making headlines, FedEx and UPS flagged possible delays in parcel deliveries due to the expected surge in holiday e-commerce, while Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers, sending signs of a strong online holiday sales season. Supply-chain software provider E2open announced plans to go public through a merger, making it the latest company to bypass the traditional path to an IPO, while Uber sold a part of its stake in Uber Freight to private investors. With holiday demand expected to surge by as much as 50% over the 2019 peak, these companies are hitting their largest customers with big-time surcharges that take effect in November.
With a new Administration soon to take office, a holiday e-commerce season in full swing and a pandemic wreaking havoc on supply chains and distribution models, it is important for companies to tell stories of how they meet these challenges. We will continue to keep you posted on trends in the supply chain and how these conversations evolve.