The Global Supply Chain Is Not “Future-Proof”, Says New Study

By Logan Wamsley

Recent market analyses have painted a disturbing picture for the future of the global supply chain, at least in the short term. What is even more disturbing, however, is that supply chain leaders seem to be making few steps to meet the anticipated tough times ahead.

According to a new study from consulting company Accenture, 81% of supply chain leaders say the pandemic has been their organization’s greatest stress test and that they’re facing technological change at “unprecedented speed and scale.” However, only 4% say they’re “future-ready,” while 34% expect to be at point they can call themselves “future-ready” by 2023.

“The pandemic exposed just how much the supply chain can make or break a company’s success,” reads the report. “It has revealed hidden vulnerabilities. And in the process, the crisis has moved Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) to the forefront of change. The days when their sole focus was on cost management are gone.”

These concerns have reached the highest levels of national discussion, and have even been included in White House reports. One recent action has called for the creation of a “Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force,” which will leverage data to track and monitor supply chain performance, as well as convene at a global forum on supply chain resilience. This came as a result of the “Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-Based Growth” report, which conducted a 100-day review of the supply chain for certain products as commissioned by Executive Order 14017.

But increased focus by federal governments should only be part of the solution. Manufacturers have an obligation to both themselves and their consumers to re-evaluate how their supply chains are equipped to navigate the lingering shortages and delays that continue to loom. Whether this is through an Inventory Ownership Solution or other related offering from a dedicated supply chain partner, it is clear that action must be undertaken. The consequences are too significant to consider otherwise.

Manish Sharma, group CEO of Accenture Operations, encapsulates what the goal of supply chains should be moving forward. “Future-readiness,” he says, “starts with breaking down silos and executing an integrated and centralized supply chain strategy that brings all parts of the value chain together around a shared set of business and customer outcomes.”