80 per cent of supply chain managers don’t believe their supply chain enables business strategy

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
20 December 2013

Some eight out of 10 supply chain managers do not see their supply chain as an “enabler of business strategies” within their organisation, according to a survey.

The poll, conducted by Hitachi Consulting, also found 55 per cent do not regard their business’s supply chain as a “fundamental source of business value and competitive advantage” and 29 per cent see it as “purely an operational function”.

Cathy Johnson, vice president at Hitachi Consulting, said: “These figures are far from reassuring. For the most part, it seems that senior executives understand the strategic importance of the supply chain, yet the managers who deal with the supply chain on a day-to-day basis do not.

“A supply chain that doesn’t support the overarching business strategy, and which doesn’t deliver competitive edge – and which isn’t going to deliver a material change in performance over the next five years – is clearly not a desirable asset.”

The survey, involving 100 supply chain managers and directors from nine European countries, revealed almost half did not believe their organisation’s supply chain would deliver increased profitability over the next five years, just a third believed it would deliver an improved customer experience over the same period, and half did not think it would deliver a “reduced working capital requirement”.

Greg Kinsey, vice president of marketing for the EMEA region at Hitachi, said: “The results from our survey make one thing very clear: the disconnect between a company’s business transformation strategy and the day-to-day management of the supply chain remains a serious, yet hidden, problem for many organisations. Our real concern is the lack of alignment, sense of urgency and change readiness within the operations. This should be a wake-up call for both senior executives and operational managers.”

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