An ‘explosion in complexity, volume and urgency of demand’ highlighted in survey of supply chain...

Gurjit Degun
1 October 2014

Globalisation, reshoring and disruptive technologies have been indentified as “hot topics” by supply chain managers in research by SCM World.

The Chief Supply Chain Officer Report 2014 Pulse of the Profession points to an “explosion in complexity, volume and urgency of demand”.

It said: “Among 14 specific supply chain risks considered, respondents’ top overall concern was customer demand volatility. Just over 40 per cent of all respondents say they use social media as a source of real-time customer feedback, but less than 20 per cent say it helps to improve demand sensing and forecasting.”

The data found fewer than 17 per cent of those polled view emerging markets as low-cost sourcing opportunities. It said 34 per cent of the 1,068 respondents are looking mainly for new sales growth and 48 per cent equally seek sourcing and sales in emerging markets. “Globalisation from here on out is very much a two-way street,” the study said.

Almost three-quarters of manufacturers said they will have a “significant share of in-house production” within the next five years. Nearly a quarter of respondents will focus on “producing modular platforms and critical parts in-house” supported by outsourced manufacturing.

In terms of disruptive technologies, big data analytics is the top disruptive technology in the supply chain. "The importance of volatile demand as a concern in 2014, coupled with the hope that better visibility may come from drilling into huge new data sources, makes big data a big winner,” the report said.

SCM World also found supplier relationships are changing “with consolidation of supply bases and deeper collaborative relationships linking those chosen few who make the cut”.

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