Here’s Why Bringing The Supply Chain To The 21st Century Is A Huge Opportunity…

Peter Cole found himself in a tough position. He had $1.6 million worth of product packed into two 40-foot shipping containers aboard a ship was floating around somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

He didn’t know where it was. When it would arrive. Or even if it would show up.

Cole is the owner of the e-commerce company Urban Plant Growers. And he had placed a somewhat routine order of hydroponic kits and lights that set sail from Shenzhen, China.

Normally, it would only take six weeks for the product to arrive in Sydney, Australia. But this time the ship was still out in the ocean two months after it was supposed to arrive.

Cole isn’t alone. If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it is just how fragile our supply chain is.

The Supply Chain Gets Exposed

The first signs of supply chain troubles surfaced at the beginning of the pandemic. Stores began rationing toilet paper. Walk down the cleaning supply aisle and you’d find empty shelves where normally disinfectant wipes and sprays were stacked bottles deep.

It progressed from toilet paper and cleaning products to masks to chicken wings to vehicles.

You may have heard of the horror stories of people waiting hours at a Hertz or Avis to rent a car only to find out there were no more vehicles available – it didn’t matter if you had a reservation.

Heck, even human labor got caught up in a bottleneck as retailers and restaurants displayed signs alerting patrons to be patient because they are short-staffed.

The common elements are long lines, high rates, few choices, no staff, and of course the now ubiquitous reference to “supply-chain issues.” Even two years since the start of the pandemic things have barely improved.

New vehicles are months out thanks to the chip shortage. If you can find baby formula, you are limited to how many you can buy, and even Amazon’s (normally) two-day shipping takes a week.

A perfect storm crippled our complex and fragile supply chain. The pandemic shut everything down, which changed how we purchased things (i.e. spending more money online). Ports closed, ships bottled up, and even the Suez Canal was temporarily blocked. If the products did somehow make it to the port there weren’t enough drivers to get the goods from the ports to warehouses.

In this new reality, backlogs, delays, and breakdowns are the “new normal.”

But as any budding entrepreneur will tell you, if you can solve a major pain point, you can make millions, even billions of dollars.

Bringing The Supply Chain To The 21st Century

This supply chain disaster has been a wake-up call that has forced companies to adopt new strategies — and technology — to keep goods moving.

Mark my words: You’re going to see billions of dollars of investment in the supply chain over the next few years. In fact, it’s already happening…

Parts of the supply chain are still in the dark ages. It’s like they’re running on dial-up internet while everyone else has switched to fiber.

Even before the pandemic hit, e-commerce sales were growing like a noxious weed. The pandemic just put it into overdrive. In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $4.3 trillion. It’s expected to be more than $5.4 trillion by the end of this year and reach nearly $6.4 trillion by 2024.

The inability to track orders accurately is an issue across the entire shipping supply chain. There’s no real-time traceability of most shipments moving through the freight system.

In an age when everything is connected, the global supply chain — a mess of transportation routes connecting commodities to manufacturers to buyers — has until recently remained alarmingly analog. This worked fine… until it didn’t. And it has sent companies scrambling for more data and greater visibility into the flow of goods.

It’s ridiculous to think that the global supply chain management market size, which is north of $10 billion, is still essentially using pen, paper (and hope) to track shipments. Fortunately, this wake-up call has put the industry into overdrive searching for solutions.

Over at Capital Wealth Letter, our latest pick is working on providing innovative solutions in this space. I may dive into the details on this pick at a later time. But for now, take my advice… Investors would be wise to look for companies that are working to solve this complex and dynamic problem.

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