Future Forecast: What will Happen in 2023?

Expect the unexpected in 2023.

That’s the message from Michael Wilson, vice-president of Afflink, a member-based sales and marketing organization for distributors, manufacturers and end-customers in a variety of industries.

For instance, Wilson says that while there will likely be a recession, it will be different.

“The job market will remain tight in many industries. Instead of the customary layoffs, many employers will still find it hard to fill staff positions.”

Here’s what else to anticipate this year.

Hiring Contractors
While remote working is now a fact of life in most industries, what is also evolving is a shift from hiring employees to hiring independent contractors for many positions.

Product Origins
China emerged as the world’s leading supplier in the past decade. However, due to Covid-19 and ongoing shutdowns, many manufacturers no longer depend on Chinese suppliers. Expect manufacturers, distributors and end-customers to want to know where a product is made before making purchasing decisions.

Everyone’s a Startup
Traditional business operations, from marketing to manufacturing, will fly out the window.

“Businesses must become very innovative,” says Wilson. “(They must) develop unique products and services, create new product categories and be willing to allow traditional ways of thinking and doing business to be disrupted.”

More Proactivity
For the past two years, most manufacturers and distributors have had no choice but to react to an ever-changing business climate. But now, with less volatility, they will become more proactive, creating new business goals and re-focusing on business growth.

Supply Chain Issues
“The great unknown is geopolitics,” says Wilson. “The conflict in Ukraine is very volatile. This caused supply chain complications in 2022. We will just have to wait and see how the war impacts the supply chain in 2023.”

Many in the distribution industry have limited protection against cyberattacks and data breaches. Because of this, they may fall victim to online attacks, especially if they have an active e-commerce platform.

Carrier Rates
Carrier rates have been going down and this is likely to continue. They’ve decreased because of reduced fuel costs, the end of the pandemic gridlock, a more stable workforce and supply chain environment, and less consumer demand due to recessionary concerns.

Supply chain managers want to track components, goods and shipments in real-time, and new technologies are helping accomplish this. Plus, artificial intelligence will play a more prominent role in the supply chain, eliminating human errors, improving efficiency and lowering costs in 2023.

Interest Rates and Inflation
Interest rates and inflation will remain high throughout 2023. Further, inflation will be unpredictable, jumping up in some months and coming back down in others.

Suppliers and distributors will continue to operate in a greener and more sustainable manner because they are realizing the cost benefits. Additionally, they will be pressured to do so due to more international regulations requiring a reduction in greenhouse gases.

Business with a Purpose
Business-to-consumer and business-to-business consumers want organizations to give back to their communities in meaningful and impactful ways.

“There will be many examples of ‘businesses with a purpose’ in 2023,” says Wilson. “What businesses must remember is something said 2,500 years ago, ‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’.”

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