Full supply chain visibility has risen from sixth most important strategic priority in 2015 to third in 2017, according to a survey.
However, only 6% of firms said they had achieved this aim, according to the GEODIS 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide survey.
The survey, which canvassed 623 supply chain professionals across 17 countries, found 57% of respondents considered their supply chain to be a competitive advantage that would enable the development of their company. Two thirds of firms spent 5-15% of turnover on their supply chain.
The survey found 67% of supply chain leaders in companies were positioned either at the top management or corporate level. And companies that had appointed a supply chain leader as a board member were more likely to see earnings rise, while those whose head of supply chain was a middle manager seemed to be less profitable.
Seven in 10 firms considered their supply chain to be either very or extremely complex. Almost three quarters used five different transportation modes in their supply chain, with the two most popular being road and air freight.
Eight in 10 firms were using between one and three KPIs to assess supply chain performance.
The top five most important challenges were to contain cost increases, face global competition, adapt to changes in customer expectation on quality, meet customer expectation on reduced transit times and develop reliable logistics infrastructure.
Ensuring on-time, in-full delivery remained the primary goal of respondents when asked about the top objectives demanded from supply chains.
This was followed by improving product availability or delivery, improving end-to-end supply chain visibility, optimising inventory costs and reducing transport and warehousing costs.
Asked about the next big thing in supply chain technologies, data analysis was ranked top by 41% of respondents. This was followed by internet of things and connected devices and cloud computing, which both scored 39%.
Information security, predictive analysis, apps and addictive manufacturing, such as 3D printing, brought up the rest of the table.
Only a small majority of respondents, 53%, declared themselves be engaged in advanced innovative practices within their supply chain.
And even practices like process mapping or lean management are far from being universal, being implemented by 60% and 55% of respondents respectively.
“These moderate results could be explained by the fear of implementing uncertain practices, particularly while the current growing necessity of ensuring a reliable supply chain exists,” said the report.
“However, first-in-class companies are agile and ready to invest in order to implement optimisation of their supply chain.”
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