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The consumer is the biggest driver of economies, and supply chain models need a better grasp of the demographics that define who tomorrow's consumer will be, says Carnes. "People in the supply chain spend a lot of sleepless nights on contingency planning for disruptions and disasters that may occur over the next one to two years," he says. "I think the bigger question is what the consumer will look like in the next five to 10 years. That needs to be figured into supply chain modeling as well."
Whether it is a business cycle or a market's shift from a growth stage to a mature stage, "it all stems back to the demographics of consumer demand," he says. "And when you look around the globe, the biggest change happening in consumer demographics is the aging of the population."
For the first time in history, the number of people over age 60 is greater than the number under five years of age, Carnes notes. This is most obvious in the developed areas of North America and Europe, he says, but India and China also are affected. Between now and 2050, China's over-50 population will grow from 62 million to 300 million, he says, and India will experience a similar trend.
The questions companies should be asking are who those future consumers will be, where they will live and what their consumption will look like, Carnes says. "A consumer who is 65 or older has a different consumption pattern than someone who is between 30 and 50 years old, and supply chain modeling needs to start taking those factors into consideration."
MIQ Logistics is incorporating these factors into its modeling and encouraging its customer base to do so as well, Carnes says. "If we are, in fact, a consumer-driven economy, then the changing consumer profile needs to be part of our calculations."
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Keywords supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain management scm, 3pl, global logistics, logistics management, logistics & supply chain, supply chain planning
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