Holidays in Logistics: Getting from A to B

As we start a new year, take some time to think about the massive undertaking that just ended for retail, one of the most critical industries in the world — supply chain management (SCM) and logistics. According to a report from McKinsey & Co., 56% of respondents said they started buying gifts in October, with 51% doing so because of concerns about product availability and 42% concerned about shipping lead times. This timeframe, on top of other well-reported economic factors, made 2022 one of the busiest and longest holiday shipping seasons ever.

This concurrence of events means that the SCM industry continues to change and adapt in notable ways:

    • Digitization has never been more important. Every step of the process, from raw materials to finished products, through any number of facilities, is processed and tracked for security, safety, and efficiency.
    • Automation is coming to the industry too. With it comes not just computer science and data analytics, but also mechanics, quality control, equipment and resource planning professionals.
    • Where you keep things is becoming just as important as where you make or sell them. Fully automated warehouses and self-service delivery kiosks in stores are just two examples of innovations within the industry.

In a rapidly evolving and innovating industry, it’s important not to forget the human element. Customer service, safety, training, research and development; these are all areas where people will be needed in order to keep their organizations on the cutting edge.
With plenty of changes still coming to the SCM and Logistics industry, is your team and organization ready for the new year?


If you are interested in learning more about the supply chain and logistics industry, UW-Green Bay offers a number of certificates and programs dedicated to the topic! Registration is open now for our noncredit Supply Chain Management Certificate, learn more on our website.
US Holiday Shopping 2022 – McKinsey and Company

Writing/Research Credit: Christopher Ledvina, UW-Green Bay Business Development Specialist

Embracing a Circular Economy

Companies are merging supply chain management with sustainability initiatives to reduce waste and carbon emissions by embracing a circular economy. That is, transforming the make-use-dispose cycle into a new cycle of make-use-recover-reuse-reclaim.

Key to this transformation is keeping products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer periods of time. Companies are also tackling different parts of the cycle, depending on the nature of their operations, as they create a sustainable loop.

Gaining momentum is the Anheuser-Busch InBev 100+ Accelerator, a global incubator program, working to accelerate the world’s shift toward sustainable solutions and to do business “the right way, not the easy way.”

Earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company and Unilever joined the Accelerator to further fund and pilot sustainable innovation in supply chains.

Tony Milikin, chief procurement, sustainability and circular ventures officer of AB InBev, had this to say about the three companies joining the Accelerator:

“Together, we are striving to supercharge adoption of sustainable solutions by funding and accelerating fantastic innovations that will change the world by making all of our businesses more sustainable. Sustainable business is smart business, and we are working to solve huge problems that no one company can handle alone.”

In addition to funding, the Accelerator provides hands-on support to startups, seeking innovative solutions to supply chain challenges. A few of their success stories include:

  • Implementing green cleaning solutions to reduce water and energy use in brewing operations
  • Collecting more than 1,000 tons of glass waste
  • Piloting returnable packaging
  • Upcycling grains from the brewing process to produce nutritious foods
  • Harnessing solar thermal energy

Other name brand companies have shared strategies that contribute to a circular economy. IKEA has launched a program to buy back used furniture to refurbish and resell. Nike is starting to refurbish sneakers returned by customers to resell at a cheaper price.

Closer to home, Belmark, Inc. in De Pere is one of the top names in the U.S. for manufacturing premium-quality labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons. The company serves a wide variety of industries, including dairy, snack food, durable goods and pet food. Founded in 1977, Belmark has grown four times the industry average with nearly 1,000 employees working in six facilities across three different locations. The company is leading the industry with mindful solutions that advance the field of environmentally responsible packaging, including responsibly-sourced and post-consumer recycled content packaging and ready-to-recycle packaging.

Bruce Bell, founder of Belmark, is quoted as saying, “We make things happen at Belmark.”

For supply chain sustainability, let’s hope more companies also make things happen.


You can play a role in supply chain sustainability with a certificate program designed to provide a multidiscipline exposure to logistics, transportation, packaging, operations planning, inventory management and enterprise resource planning, among other functions. Learn how to develop supply chain solutions as you increase your knowledge of how to use supply chain networks to secure, produce and deliver products to a global marketplace. Now enrolling for ongoing dates.


Forbes. “The Circular Supply Chain: A Push for Sustainability.” Steve Banker. June 29, 2021.
Yahoo Finance. “AB InBev 100+ Accelerator Partners with the Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever for Sustainable Startup Innovation

The Pandemic Litmus Test for Supply Chains

Supply chains were tested by COVD-19 in ways never before experienced. How companies creatively responded and improvised in the face of changing consumer behavior, intervention of health authorities and governments point to new lessons in supply chain management, including these approaches:

How Trucking and Transportation Can Act as a Buffer

Companies that have control over boosting or downgrading trucking capacity have an advantage over companies that do not. We may see this getting higher priority as things normalize post-pandemic.

How Companies Take a More Integrated Approach

Before COVID-19, companies didn’t give worse-case scenarios a lot of attention. Worse, they regarded supply chain, production planning and risk management as separate functions with different managers in charge of each. Now we know better. Companies will not only develop reality-based risk management plans, they may also entertain allocating investment into backup or insurance capabilities. They may also emphasize an expanded view of their key suppliers to better anticipate weaknesses in the chain.

How Companies Explore New Ways to Use Automation

The pandemic revealed the benefits of automation in an environment of disruption and shortage, and it’s likely companies will use automation in new ways going forward, including the very real prospect of driverless vehicles.

How Companies Used Their Local Communities

During the pandemic, companies discovered the value of using local supply chains. Local companies were often more trustworthy and reliable business partners. Local supply chains also make a difference to consumers, which makes this continuing emphasis a double benefit.

The pandemic taught us that a company’s success is decided by how effectively it manages, controls and adapts its supply chain to prevent or mitigate unforeseen interruptions.


Business depends on supply chain management. Our Certificate in Supply Chain Management provides exposure to logistics, transportation, packaging, operations planning, inventory management and enterprise resource planning, among other functions. Learn how to develop supply chain solutions as you increase your knowledge of how to use supply chain networks to secure, produce and deliver products to a global marketplace. Now enrolling for the fall session, starting in August.


Entrepreneur. “Emerging Supply Chain Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Know About.” Marco Ludwig, June 16, 2021.

Entrepreneur. “Consumer Trends Demand New Supply Chain Ideas.” Philip Stoten. May 2, 2021.