Delivery demand challenges supply chain professionals

posted by Lucy Patchett
13 November 2019

Delivery has become a crucial capability that is challenging supply chain professionals, according to two studies.

Supply chain teams are under pressure to deliver goods at an increasing rate due to customer demand caused by developments such as the growth of e-commerce.

A report by project44 based on a blind survey of 300 supply chain professionals found that 73% were experiencing pressure to improve and expand delivery capabilities. 

The survey also found 55% of respondents were faced with the expectation to process and deliver goods faster, and almost half (44%) believe this is the hardest challenge to meet.

Over three quarters (79%) reported using a “suboptimal method” such as emails and spreadsheets to manage the processes around the supply chain.

Tommy Barnes, president at project44, said: “Supply chain professionals are feeling the pressure of customer demands for faster, cost effective and more transparent delivery.

“These demands only stand to increase, and meeting them will require the adoption of better processes and technology combined with organization-wide collaboration. From marketing to transportation, and from managers to the board room, it is imperative that businesses close the communication gap, so that the entire delivery ecosystem is poised to successfully face a rapidly changing landscape.”

The survey also found attitudes of supply chain managers and executives were misaligned and this has created barriers to faster, more affordable delivery strategies. 

While 82% of managers said they were experiencing pressure to change capabilities, only 57% of executives reported “feeling the same urgency to offer precise, affordable, fast and transparent delivery services”.

In another report from real estate firm JLL, effective and efficient supply chain and logistics management was identified as a “critical differentiator for retailers”. 

The retail sector has evolved, according to the report, and its success now depends on the efficiency of the supply chain. “Buying decisions often rest on how quickly and efficiently retailers can get goods out of the warehouse and into their hands.”

JLL also highlighted the adoption of technology and the importance of sustainability and transparency as critical aspects of future supply chains. 

Digitalisation of the supply chain and use of advanced technologies such as AI, big data, and the internet of things has enabled retailers to reduce costs, bring efficiencies to operations in the supply chain and improve inventory management, said the report.

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