Conference Updates

September 13, 2021

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo EMEA: Day 1 Highlights

We are bringing you news and highlights from Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, taking place this week virtually in EMEA. Below is a collection of the key announcements and insights coming out of the conference.

On Day 1 from the conference, we are highlighting the opening keynote,  discuss the benefits of regional and local networks and feature sessions on the future of supply chain, the retail revolution and purpose-driven organizations. 

Be sure to check this page throughout the day for updates.

Key Announcements

From Cause to Cure - Purpose-Driven Outcomes for a Fractured World

Presented by Dana Stiffler, VP Analyst, Gartner, and Simon Bailey, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner

Supply chains have been stressed and strained by multiple high-impact disruptions that have left our profession in the spotlight and our energy depleted. In their opening keynote, Dana Stiffler, VP analyst, and Simon Bailey, senior director analyst, Gartner, discuss new challenges for supply chain leaders and how to tackle them.  

Key Takeaways

  • “Leading supply chains recognize that profit and purpose are not opposites, they’re complimentary components of sustainable profit.” 

  • “The supply chain workforce has evolved. Workers are more skilled, regardless of where they sit - on a shop floor, in an office, or now at home. In fact, we are all knowledge workers.” 

  • “Today’s professionals want to do meaningful work. They want to help their organizations do the right thing, perhaps even save the world. But they don’t want to be left exhausted on the way.”

  • “Fifty-one percent of supply chain professionals expect their focus on circular economy strategies to increase over the next two years. But most of these leaders also told us that their organization lacks the capabilities needed to design out waste, keep materials in use longer and move to regenerative practices.”

  • “The future of sustainable profit lies in balance. We need balanced ecosystems, where all participants bring capabilities which are traded through equitable value exchange.”

Reinvent Supply Chains for the New Normal: Balance Regional Designs in Global Networks

Presented by Kamala Raman, VP Analyst, Gartner

Growing protectionism, and the need for higher agility, have challenged the integrated global supply chains multinational companies excel at. Kamala Raman, VP analyst at Gartner, explains in this session how smaller, regional networks can add to the stability of global networks. 

Key Takeaways

  • “Companies are pulled into opposite directions. Efficient, global networks on the one hand, and nimble, regional ones on the other.”

  • “It’s going to take commitment to intentionally design and build a network that can provide the operational agility that you need.”

  • “If you are in a scale-based industry, Play to your strengths of agility and reliability. Focus on introducing in-region sourcing whether the customers are asking for it today or not.”

  • “When it comes to regionalization, some large companies will be doing a lot of the critical work on their own, but many others will pursue regionalization by using a contract manufacturer's existing global footprint.”

  • No matter what trade wars may be happening, or nationalistic trade policies that may be drawn up by different countries, interconnected supply chains are here to stay.”

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The Retail Revolution and How to Win in 2022 and Beyond

Presented by Thomas O'Connor, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner

The end of 2021 is approaching fast, and with it the traditional annual peak for retail. In this session, Thomas O’Connor, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, outlined the key challenges facing the retail supply chain at this time and how to meet them.

Key Takeaways

  • “There is some work to do to future-proof supply chains as the industry goes through a revolution and moves even further toward the strategic center of businesses. It starts with operating model change and supply chain purpose.”

  • “How supply chains operate has been a critical area of focus and adaptation during the pandemic. Post-pandemic businesses have new capabilities that need to be consolidated and optimized to drive profits and better enable growth.”

  • “The pandemic has shown that supply chains need to be more agile and resilient, yet 59% of retail supply chains are designed for cost-efficiency over resilience or agility.

  • “Financial goals remain critical but now other key factors must be considered. This can most clearly be seen in the area of sustainability with most large-scale supply chains now publishing sustainability reports and sustainability goals.”

  • “Supply chain professionals need to find ways to sustainably grow their businesses. Sometimes this means rethinking business models.”

Purpose Driven: Doing Well, by Doing Good

Presented by Sarah Watt, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner

What role should supply chain organizations play to enable the organization's purpose? In this session, Sarah Watt, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, discussed how creating a purpose-driven supply chain is not only positive for shareholders, but also enables improved supplier relationships and employee engagement.

Key Takeaways

  • “If the pressure to become purpose-driven was coming from one quarter or one group perhaps it could be ignored as an anomaly or as a blip, but we’re also seeing investors talking about being purpose-driven.”

  • Supply chain  leaders need to identify what their enterprise purpose actually is.

  • “Purpose is linked to what supply chain leaders do. It is linked to their product offering in the market. They also need to consider how their product portfolios change over time, and if they are still aligned to their enterprise purpose.”

  • “It’s not only about products and services that you produce. It’s about how you make those products and services.”

  • “It’s about understanding those positive and negative impacts. It’s about minimizing the negative, amplifying the positive. But it’s also about understanding the environmental impacts of your products.”

Signature Series: The Future of Supply Chain

Presented by Pierfrancesco Manenti, VP Analyst, Gartner

2020 was a tumultuous year that put supply chain leaders in the spotlight and required them to think about the future role of their organization. In this session, Pierfranceso Manenti, VP analyst, Gartner, illustrates the tremendous changes supply chain leaders must implement in order to thrive in the new normal.

Key Takeaways

  • “Not only the pandemic has affected our supply chains. Risk events seem to be everywhere - from global trade wars and tariffs change to intense climate-change events.”

  • “Everything in supply chain is changing - the way we work, the value we deliver to our customers, and the way we source, make and deliver products globally.”

  • “Being purpose-driven means giving weight to stakeholder groups in decision-making, including customers, suppliers, communities and employees while still considering the need for shareholder return.”

  • “Unfamiliar risk events are increasing in cadence. Sixty-eight percent of supply chain leaders report that they have been constantly responding to high-impact disruptions since the beginning of 2019.”

  • “Having risk as a goal means cascading it down to an action plan using appropriate metrics to evaluate progress.”

  • “Supply chain leaders are in their comfort zone with digital optimization and cost-cutting. [...] However, optimization isn’t enough anymore. Digitalization must also support new operating models and improve the customer experience.”

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