22 March 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
The UK is at the bottom of the European supply chain maturity league table, according to research issued this week from consultancy PRTM.
Analysing the results from its annual survey of more than 150 top companies in Europe, the European Supply Chain Trends Survey 2006 reveals the biggest single barrier to improvement is the failure by senior management to recognise their supply chains as an asset.
Gordon Colborn, UK director at PRTM, which focuses on supply chain and business strategy, said: "The survey results signal a warning for the UK - to fall behind European competitors is a dangerous position, particularly at a time when there is such intense pressure to compete on a global, let alone European basis. This indicates the need for essential and urgent supply chain improvements."
The company rates countries on stages one to four for maturity and therefore efficiency. Stage one is characterised by those with basic processes and stage four shows a high level of integration with suppliers and customers, including sharing information to carry out forecast planning and using compatible IT systems.
The results place the UK at the bottom of the European league table with an average level below stage two, along with Ireland. In contrast, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands have the highest level of maturity with 42 per cent of companies at the higher end of the scale.
Overall, European supply chains have increased in maturity and improved levels of performance, moving from an average of 2.2 in 2004 to 2.5 in 2005.
Companies in the computers and electronics sector were the top performers, scoring an average of 3.5, it said.