ReSChape unveils consumer, demographic and economic patterns that will affect tomorrow’s supply chain

EurOMA 2024

The progress of the ReSChape project, backed by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Program, came to light at EurOMA 2024.

The reorganization of globalization, the boom of digital economy and the handing down of social sustainability to suppliers stand out as key players in the new models.

EurOMA 2024

Barcelona, 3 july 2024

Four members of the consortium meeting – Aston University, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Cranfield University and Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) – has unveiled the latest progress made by ReSChape, the ambitious European project, which promises to redefine supply chains to bring about positive social impact. The innovations and outcomes arising from this transformative initiative were highlighted during the recent meeting organized by EurOMA, the international network of academics and professionals committed to the ongoing development of operations management.

During the event, hosted in Barcelona on July 3, Alicia Martinez de Yuso, Project Manager at ZLC, was joined by Frida Betto, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), and Filipe Sarmento, Research Fellow at Cranfield University, to share some of the social and economic patterns that are set to shape the logistics of the future.

After bringing to attention recent events, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – which are resulting in shipment delays, shortages and price increases – and weigthing the response of governments – increasingly focused either on investing in local reshoring or directing it to “friendly countries” – the economic study presented by ZLC points to two megatrends that the sector should not lose sight of.

First, the shift in global trade. Emerging economies, especially in Asia, are expected to overtake developed economies in terms of growth, with annual rates of 2-3% between 2022 and 2050. At the same time, exports will continue to face the ongoing challenges posed by international investment and the reorganization of globalization, as well as the increase in costs which, in the specific case of transportation, like inflation, will particularly affect small and medium-sized companies.

Second is digital economy, which will come to account for 70% of the new value generated over the next decade and is currently upending traditional business models, improving supply chain visibility and facilitating global trade.

“In the coming years we will witness the growth of digital platforms facilitating B2B, B2C and C2C transactions as a result of the surge in the sharing economy and the increase in digital payments. Fintechs are not only transforming financial services, they are also boosting efficiency and reducing operational costs in supply chain,” explains Alicia Martínez de Yuso. “It is essential that companies understand and adapt to these changes in order to remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic global environment.”

With respect to the social dimension – addressed by CNR and the Universities of Aston and Cranfield – through an analysis of data collected from 108 procurement, supply chain and sustainability managers in European manufacturing companies, the project has shown how social sustainability requirements are passed down to lower tier suppliers. The study identifies three main strategies to perform better in this regard: direct control (DC), delegation to first-tier suppliers (FT) and delegation to third-party organizations (TP), being the first two preferred by respondents.

However, there is a lack of awareness and resources to make sure they can meet the requirements, which points to a need for more effective policies and regulations.

“The development of suppliers not only improves the social and environmental performance of the supply chain, but also promotes fair and safe working conditions and strengthens local communities. Our goal is to ensure that social sustainability is a priority in every link of the chain”, concludes Sarmento.

About ReSChape
The EU-funded ReSChape project focuses on the analysis of social, economic and environmental changes and disruptions to assess their impact on supply chains (SC). Through it, new SC models will be proposed to secure a more efficient and people-centered process, using digital technologies. The project aims to increase resilience and sustainability in the EU through strategies for resource efficiency and digitalization. It will also develop innovative tools to track sectors’ business patterns and define mechanisms to assess the relationship between disruptions and SCs. Based on its results, innovative scenarios will be devised with recommendations for future global value chains, promoting fair, inclusive and sustainable trade. Learn more.

About the Consortium
The ReSChape consortium has put together 9 experienced partners coming from 5 different European countries plus UK in a joint research and dissemination effort to develop and achieve the aims of the project.
ReSChape is coordinated by Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (CNR), from October 2022 to October 2025, and will reshape supply chains for positive impact.