Better use of technology will help emerging market supply chains, says Accenture

Gurjit Degun
10 September 2014

Companies are not making the most of technology in emerging market supply chains, according to research by Accenture Strategy.

It found that only 48 per cent of the 1,014 surveyed use technology “extensively” in their emerging market supply chain “despite the vital role it plays in helping manage the complexity and volatility in global operations”.

Supply Chain Success Factors in Emerging Markets added that 45 per cent of firms make “moderate use” of technology. Accenture said they “automate some essential activities” but support them with manual processes.

The study identified supply chain leaders from the sample and found that 73 per cent use technology “extensively in the supply chains that support their emerging market presence”. This is compared with just 31 per cent of lower performers.

According to the research, almost three-quarters of the leaders said they had made “heavy investments” in tools such as manufacturing systems, ERP and supply chain systems.

“The commitment to technology by supply chain leaders is significant as the study revealed that companies with leading supply chains are more likely to generate stronger growth in emerging markets than those with average or low-performing supply chains,” the study said. “They are more than twice as likely as other respondents (58 per cent versus 22 per cent) to have achieved growth of 20 per cent or more in their priority emerging markets in the past two years.”

Mark Pearson, senior managing director or operations at Accenture Strategy, added: “Volatile conditions continue to complicate growth and production in emerging markets, and the strategic use of digital technologies in supply chains, particularly big data analytics, can be instrumental in providing the up-to-date information needed to make decisions and respond rapidly. Supply chain leaders make extensive use of technology in their operations and show that enhanced agility turns uncertain market conditions into a source of competitive advantage.” 

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