Supply chain predictions for 2022 from logistics giant GXO

By Gavin Williams
Gavin Williams, UK and Ireland MD of the world’s largest contract logistics provider, GXO Logistics, shares his predictions for 2022


Gavin Williams is UK and Ireland MD of the world’s largest contract logistics provider, GXO Logistics. GXO employs 95,000 people worldwide in 850 warehouses comprising around 200 million square feet. He writes ...

Over the past 20 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to change how we work and live in unprecedented ways. These seismic changes led to, among other things, an ecommerce boom driven by rapidly changing consumer buying trends. Meeting this demand as well as continuing our pursuit of sustainability and the opportunities presented by data science will be the key to success in 2022. 

Predictions on sustainability 

Returns and recycling will become much bigger things. At GXO, we’ve already seen this happening.

Everyone talks about the rise in ecommerce during the pandemic but what gets less attention is the rise in the return of goods purchased online. 

At GXO we have facilities dedicated to this. For example, we work with a high-profile UK ecommerce retailer, processing all their returns. 

Our services include mending, dry cleaning and repairing returned purchases, which reduces goods sent to a landfill by over 80% and helps our customers achieve sustainability goals. 

GXO’s Returns and Recycling network recycles nearly 540,000 tonnes of waste packaging every year, including plastics, wood, metal, food waste, bio waste and electrical returns. 

I think we’ll see more of this kind of thing.

From data silo to data lake 

We’ll see a continued shift away from data silos to data ‘lakes’. 

Until recently, data was stored mostly in discrete silos to keep it at least somewhat manageable. Now, thanks to increasingly powerful tools for data processing and data analysis, companies can store information - on their own businesses, customers, competitors, markets, economies and so forth - in data lakes.

Information drawn from these lakes allows companies to make highly informed decisions on nearly every aspect of their operations, from design and financial planning to forecasting, manufacturing and distribution.   

Through such data lakes an increasing number of companies will be able to see ahead, and even around the corner, predicting not just the products their customers will want, but also the most efficient ways to manufacture, store, market, ship and service those products. 

Firms will put people first

Smart companies will put their people first. Employers who create an employee-focused culture will be able to weather the labour challenges we all face.

In 2022, a competitive wage will be just the opening ante. To attract and retain an appropriately skilled workforce, companies will need to think beyond wages. 

They’ll need to become an excellent place to work to attract talent from outside the industry - a place with competitive wages where safety is the priority, flexibility embraced, and where diversity and inclusion are lived every day. 


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