Over half (51%) of firms have said they can only manage one supply chain challenge at a time despite the fact supply chains are becoming more complex, a report has found.
A survey, conducted by software firm Körber, found that almost half (48%) of respondents said supply chain complexity had grown in the last year due to an increase in products, distribution channels and customer expectations.
Körber surveyed 1,200 global supply chain professionals to understand how firms are coming to terms with growing supply chain complexity and how they are planning to transition away from manual processes towards automation.
Nine in 10 (91%) supply chain professionals said they felt their firms could not keep up with supply chain challenges, while nearly half (46%) said managing complexities around end-to-end integration of different components of their supply chain was their greatest challenge.
Technology integration and meeting customer demand were cited as two of the critical supply chain issues firms are facing.
While firms are aware of growing supply chain complexity, one in four supply chain professionals said they still rely entirely on manual methods somewhere in their warehouse.
Some are using automation technologies to pick, pack and ship products efficiently, with packing and shipping discussed as the most automated functions, but fewer than a third of supply chain professionals said the processes are fully automated.
However, nearly three-quarters (73%) said senior executives viewed the supply chain as “mission critical”, demonstrating their understanding of the importance of supply chain to business.
“This is an important step in gaining support for upgrading warehouses and last-mile technology”, the report said.
Rene Hermes, chief marketing officer for Körber Supply Chain, said: “Now isn’t the time for supply chains to break under pressure, yet 48% of companies have experienced growth in complexity this past year.
“It’s good to hear so many executives see this business area as mission critical. Now we must transform that understanding into action.”
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