Trends in Global Supply Chain Management

Balance cost-efficiency and resilience in global supply chain management

Research on global supply chain management trends

Unprecedented supply chain disruption has stretched global supply chain management operations in ways few thought they would ever see.

Only 21% of supply chain leaders believe they have a highly resilient supply chain network today. Increasing resilience in global supply chain management will be a priority for many leaders as they emerge from the current crisis and reset strategies to anticipate disruptions as the "new normal" going forward.

Download the Gartner research "Weathering the Supply Chain Storm" to learn how your peers are responding to global supply chain management trends.

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    Gartner has been phenomenal helping us move through logistics strategy and operations challenges over the last 4 years. The Gartner model is supporting us in driving efficiencies across all our business units. There is probably around 10% to 15% ROI from using Gartner's ability and support in supply chain. They actually participate in our business to grow a better supply chain.

    VP of Global Supply Chain

    Oil & Energy Industry

    New demands on global supply chain management

    For more than 20 years, the goal of global supply chain management was cost efficiency. But disruptions like Brexit, tariff disputes, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have elevated the importance of resilience and agility in global supply chain management. In fact, Gartner’s “Weathering the Supply Chain Storm" research identified resilience and agility in the supply chain as the two main priorities for almost all organizations, with about 90% planning investments to make their supply chain more resilient over the next two years. But there is fear that prioritizing resilience and agility in global supply chain management will increase operating costs, and so supply chain leaders may be forced to make difficult trade-offs as part of global supply chain management decision making. 

    58% of supply chain leaders believe that resilience results in additional structual costs to the supply chain network.

    Keys to effective global supply chain management

    Global supply networks are complex, multitiered and often include highly specialized players in lower tiers that cannot be substituted easily. Visibility into extended supply bases has generally been poor. This is all an obstacle to effective global supply chain management, and that’s before any supply chain disruption occurs.

    To provide strategic leadership of global supply chain management, the Chief Supply Chain Officer should:

    • Create visibility in critical supply chains.
    • Use scenario planning to assess and address market needs.
    • Increase collaboration with key stakeholders including customers, suppliers, logistics providers and manufacturers.
    • Identify and prioritize key supply chain segments.
    • Prepare for volatility in supply and demand caused by supply chain disruptions.
    How resilient is your supply chain network today? 62% say moderately resilient and 21% say highly resilient.

    Global supply chain management: Insights you can use

    The fast-changing business environment puts new demands on global supply chain management. Gartner knows the keys to effective global supply chain management, and provides the practical, data-driven insights you need to balance cost-efficiency with supply chain resilience.

    COVID-19: Fact vs Fiction

    Separate fact from fiction: Gartner interviewed several of the largest third-party logistics players around the globe to get clarity on how vaccine distribution may impact operations. 

    Future of Supply Chain

    Discover the supply chain leader's new imperatives and get specific recommendations to reset supply chain strategy and operations.

    The Impact of the Biden Administration Policies on Global Supply Chain Management

    Assess 3 key policy implications of the Biden administration and how they will impact global supply chain management.

    5 Levers to Optimize Supply Chain Costs

    According to Gartner research, most supply chain management models remain short-term, siloed and functionally oriented. Download the research to learn 5 key levers for end-to-end supply chain cost optimization. 

    Questions about becoming a Gartner client?

    Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo™

    Join the world's most important gathering of CSCOs, supply chain executives along with Gartner experts to transform and innovate your supply chain strategy.

    Client Testimonial

    Discover supply chain best practices from your peers

    During this on-demand panel discussion, you’ll hear from supply chain leaders on how they are continuing to lead during times of disruption. 

    Watch “Panel Discussion: Lead Through Times of Disruption in Supply Chain” to hear:

    • Real-life examples of how companies leveraged Gartner insights and tools to navigate disruption
    • Supply chain innovation and agility during times of disruption
    • How to address your most pressing supply chain challenges

    Gartner experts

    Gartner’s supply chain experts include more than 100 people worldwide. Meet a few of our leaders who can provide strategic leadership of global supply chain management

    Kamala Raman
    Senior Director Analyst,
    Research & Advisory

    Miguel Cossio
    Director Analyst,
    Research & Advisory

    Koray Kose
    Senior Director Analyst,
    Research & Advisory

    Simon Bailey
    Senior Director Analyst,
    Research & Advisory 

    Global Supply Chain Management FAQs

    The COVID-19 pandemic placed a major spotlight on global supply chain management, with shortages of basic products from toilet paper and cleaning supplies, to critical supplies such as medical equipment and pharmaceutical ingredients.

    In response, U.S. President Joe Biden is mandating an audit of these critical supply chains: life sciences, advanced packaging, semiconductors, electric car batteries and rare earth minerals. The review seeks to drive visibility into these supply chains by better understanding their complexities and reliance on global capacities as well as interdependencies and risk exposure.

    Ultimately, the action aims to improve resiliency by increasing domestic production of critical materials and collaborative efforts with allies.

    Biden also issued a separate, 12-month audit of supply chains covering personal protective equipment, energy, high tech and food production. 

    According to Gartner’s Future of Supply Chain Survey, these are the top 5 strategies for improving supply chain resilience & agility, in response to global supply chain management challenges.

    1. Collaboration with key customers and suppliers (cited by 77% of supply chain organizations)
    2. Diversity supply base (multi-sourcing) (63%)
    3. Diversify products and/or geographic markets (60%)
    4. Redesign products and remove complexity (60%)
    5. Supply chain segmentation (55%)

    According to Gartner's’ Future of Supply Chain Survey, these are the top 5 barriers faced by supply chain organizations investing in supply chain resilience & agility.

    1. Product and portfolio complexity (cited by 57% of supply chain organizations)
    2. Balance trade-offs between cost-efficiency and resilience (54%)
    3. Organizational silos and different functional metrics (51%)
    4. Cost of investing in resilience measures (39%)
    5. Lack of technology for visibility and coordination (36%)

    Global Supply Chain Management Support

    Gartner provides trusted insights and objective advice to help its 2,500+ supply chain leader clients provide strategic leadership of global supply chain management.