Business leaders have said optimising costs should be the top focus for supply chains in the near future, according to research
A recent Gartner survey found that 17% of CEOs and senior business executives in supply chain-intensive industries believe cost optimisation is the main issue chief supply chain officers should focus on.
Supply chain resilience was the next most cited important issue, named by 16% of those surveyed.
The 2021 CEO Survey: CSCOs must balance desire for growth while driving optimization and resilience, was conducted from July to December 2020. It showed 60% of the 199 respondents expected an economic boom to start by the end of next year.
However, respondents anticipated that the pandemic would have a lasting impact, with more than two-thirds having said they would use it as an opportunity to redesign their business.
In addition, 79% of respondents expected to see significant and enduring behavioural changes in society as a direct result of the pandemic.
Chief supply chain officers will face ongoing challenges as a result of these shifts, Gartner stated. They should prepare for their business, key ecosystem partners and/or competitors to undergo organisational behavioural shifts.
The majority of respondents planned to increase year-on-year investment in digital capabilities (80%). Gartner observed a trend towards more targeted initiatives replacing a general, undefined ambition for digital business transformation.
Respondents’ most popular areas of digital business were e-commerce/e-business (16%), customer interactions (9%), data analytics (9%) and customer experience (7%).
The report recommended that chief supply chain officers confirm their CEOs’ intended meaning of digital business within the context of their organisation or industry.
Thomas O’Connor, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, said CEOs have been asking their CSCOs to focus on navigating through the ongoing disruption and to ensure business continuity.
“This includes dealing with pandemic-related lockdowns in key markets, supply chain shortages, as seen in the semiconductor industry, and challenges with the global flow of goods and increasing distribution costs,” he said.
Different regions of the world are recovering at different paces, O’Connor added.
“CSCOs need to prepare for a dual-speed recovery for both supply and demand, where markets with high vaccination rates bounce back far more quickly than those without,” he said.