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The Supply Chain Crisis│SDG×Logistics

In recent years we have seen an accelerating trend of people shopping online, ordering everything from common goods to day-to-day necessities to survive. This continuous growth in demand has been exhausting our logistics capabilities, reflecting a shortage of drivers and warehouse workers to keep up with demand.

What exactly should we think about when rebuilding our logistics?

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Collapsed supply and demand equilibrium

The supply chain is the unsung hero of our daily lives. Our societies are built upon and are dependent on a well oiled logistic system capable to pickup and deliver goods, when and where necessary.

Even before the breakout of the Covid19 pandemic, Japan has faced many natural disasters capable of crippling its supply chain. However, the continued strain on the supply chain caused stores to run low on stocks and empty shelves repeatedly. Which is something that hasn’t happened in recent history without a clear cause.

A leading cause of these issues might be due to a lack of control between “essential goods” and “things we want.”.

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The continued worker shortage does not allow for optimism

According to the Rail Freight Association, there will be a shortage of approximately 278,000 commercial truck drivers in the transportation industry by 2028. As of the end of 2017, the demand was 1.09 million, while the supply was only 990,000, and the current situation is that there is already a shortage of about 100,000 drivers.

New attempts to ease some of the strain by using upcoming technologies such as drone delivery and autonomous driving cause a spur of optimism in the media. If more efficient and cheaper technologies can replace the drivers, it might help solve the worker shortage and offer an improved perspective on the future of our supply chains. But can the transportation industry be fully automated?

Technically it should be possible. However, it seems extremely unlikely that technology will be able to replace all modes of transportation in the foreseeable future. Which means that we should take action by ourselves without fully depending on technology to solve all our problems.

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Consumption │ Responsibility as a consumer

Our current excessive consumption and waste of limited resources are causing irreversible environmental destruction. In addition, the Japanese labor force is expected to continue to decline.

Currently, as a society, we recklessly decided to prioritize cheap and convenient, over durable and responsible. To reverse this trend SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) have been called to live. These are social goals that the United Nations has agreed to tackle globally.

A step in the right direction to end the logistics crisis

Delivery is just one gear of the supply chain. As a fact, the supply chain is a highly complex system that consists of a strong collaboration between people, technology, and a robust infrastructure.

To become a part of the solution rather than the problem, you will need the ability to recognize issues of today’s society and act on them. Even when the crisis deepens and the depletion of valuable resources continues. You can make the first step in the right direction by making responsible decisions.

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