No two supply chains are alike. While business is changing quickly, the supply chain processes are evolving slowly. The average supply chain organization is 14-years old, and as is shown in Figure 2, one out of three companies state that there is room for improvement in their supply chain.
Figure 2. Descriptors Used by Supply Chain Leaders to Describe Their Supply Chains
While companies desire a supply chain that is more aligned, fast, agile, and proactive, today the supply chain is controlled and becoming more global. In the building of today’s supply chain, as will be seen in this report, the tightly integrated IT infrastructure defined in the last two decades is an impediment to building an agile, proactive and aligned supply chain. In Figure 3 we contrast the current state of the supply chain with the desired state of supply chain leaders.
Figure 3. Supply Chain Descriptors: Current State versus Desired Operation
As shown in Figure 3, while supply chain leaders desire a more proactive, aligned and faster supply chain, these are areas for improvement. The current supply chain is controlled and global, but with significant opportunity for improvement. Ironically, despite the gaps in overall performance, many supply chain leaders term current practices as “best practices.” In this report we challenge the status quo. We do this by teasing out the data to understand business drivers. For example, in Table 1 we can see that a company which rates itself as “having a supply chain working well” is more likely to be in the process industry, and have a supply chain organization where manufacturing reports to the overall supply chain leader. In addition, within the organization there is a greater understanding of the supply chain by the executive leadership team, stronger alignment of metrics cross-functionally, stronger capabilities in supply chain visibility, and the organization is better at managing change. The companies that outperform are also better at accessing and using data.
It is also significant to note that we do not find a correlation between “working well” and the presence of a Supply Chain Center of Excellence, fewer ERP instances, or maturity in Sales and Operations planning. The reason? These processes and practices are evolving.