From strategy and transformation to metrics, demand forecasting, and the Internet of things supply chain leaders are facing great challenges in the digital world. Though they must continue to focus on the day-to-day of the business, they must also look ahead to creating digital business models that will allow the enterprise to grow. Ahead of the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, we talked to a few of the Gartner analysts presenting at the event about the biggest challenges in supply chain today.
What is the biggest challenge for supply chain leaders today?
A huge challenge is how supply chains can be partners in the CEO’s top priority — growth — in addition to their traditional role of controlling costs while ensuring timely, reliable service to customers. This challenge is playing out in a time of enormous disruption across business models, customer expectations and the global trade environment. Today’s leaders are leveraging advanced analytical capabilities and top talent to engineer supply chains in delivering on this expanded charter.
The biggest challenge to supply chain leaders today is ensuring their supply chain capabilities support the CEO’s No. 1 priority — growth. Today’s supply chains must be agile and flexible while at the same time able to balance cost and service.
The biggest challenge is digitalization — how to get the supply chain to support new digital business models, take advantage of digital technologies to expand customer intimacy and build smart manufacturing.
One of the challenges with digitalization is the ever-growing tsunami of available data and the woefully rudimentary ways to make sense of it. This problem is getting worse; on one hand, we are getting more connected things, more trading partners and more digitally active consumers, and on the other hand, adoption of analytics is still in its infancy at many organizations. Companies need to seriously, quickly and wholeheartedly adopt advanced analytics in their supply chains. That’s the only way to turn data from a burden to an asset.
Supply chain executives and their teams need to be able to do both: transform and continuously improve their supply chains. They need to be experts at continuous improvement — driving efficiency, productivity and cost improvements to support existing customer segments, markets and business models. They must also be adept at transformation — particularly to support new customer segments and emerging business models that require developing and piloting processes and practices that are different from how the supply chain operating model is currently optimized.