Four Supply Chain Trends Worth Watching

Just 10% of companies were on the right path to building customer-centric supply chains that are resilient and enable growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Accenture.

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As we approach the mid-point of August, we thought it might be worthwhile to examine a handful of developments that may soon change the global supply chain landscape.

Falling behind. Just 10% of companies were on the right path to building customer-centric supply chains that are resilient and enable growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Accenture. While supply chains have traditionally been a driver of efficiencies and scale, the report discusses how their role in recent years has evolved beyond mere efficiency and toward lasting growth. Based on a global survey of 900 senior executives from nine major industries across 10 geographies, the report, titled “A License for Growth: Customer-centric supply chains,” identifies major supply chain challenges that have only been magnified by the ongoing COVID-19 global crisis including: inflexibility to deliver undifferentiated customer offerings; poor ecosystem design lacking the right partners; and a siloed technology architecture that stifles collaboration and co-innovation. The report also outlines leading practices of a few selected companies that have transformed their supply chains.

Hear them roar. While supply chain organizations deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, they still pursue gender equality goals. According to Gartner, Inc.’s 2020 Women in Supply Chain Survey among 177 supply chain professionals, 17% of chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) are now women – a 6% increase compared to 2019 and the highest rate since the first edition of the survey in 2016. “The increase in women executive leaders over the past year is a positive sign, however the survey showed that women don’t consistently make it through the pipeline,” said Dana Stiffler, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice. “Lack of progress is not something the industry can afford at the moment. Supply chain’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery is crucial, with lives and livelihoods at stake. This is a pivotal time for many women in midlevel and senior management positions.

“Mobile First.” The transportation and logistics (T&L) industry has experienced significant disruptions due to the steep rise in e-commerce and rapidly changing consumer expectations. With a greater variety and quantity of purchases being shipped directly to consumers’ homes, combined with expectations that necessitate rapid, often same-day deliveries, last-mile delivery strategies have never been more important. Yet, in a new global report titled “The Last Mile Sprint: State of Mobility in Transportation and Logistics” commissioned by SOTI in partnership with Arlington Research, last-mile delivery is the most inefficient process of the entire supply chain, according to 59% of T&L companies in the U.S. and 78% in Canada. To create powerful and transparent customer experiences, 82% of respondents in the U.S. and 88% in Canada agreed that it is critical for T&L companies to ensure a mobile-first strategy around last-mile delivery. A mobile-first strategy is defined as viewing smartphones, tablets and task-specific apps as the primary tools for getting work done.

Vive la France. While the global transport and logistics community is currently dealing with COVID-19 pandemic, there’s positive news surfacing now that the work to create sustainable sources of energy has not been curtailed. Corporate and Investment Bank, Engie, Faurecia, Michelin, Schneider Electric, Total and Wärtsilä have formed an international coalition. Nine concrete projects for developing energy solutions to accelerate the energy transition in transport and logistics. At the Rencontres Économiques d’Aix-en-Provence, an economic forum attended by many organizations from around the world, 11 international groups have announced they have joined forces to form an international coalition open to new members. AWS, Carrefour Group, CMA CGM Group, Cluster Maritime Français, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Engie, Faurecia, Michelin, Schneider Electric, Total and Wärtsilä are the existing members. The Coalition was launched in late 2019 during the French Maritime Economy Conference (Assises de l’Economie de la Mer) and has received the backing of French President Emmanuel Macron.

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

View Patrick 's author profile.

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