I spent last week in Orlando at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium. If you’ve never attended, think of it as Lollapalooza for senior level supply chain executives: It’s an event where what we do every day out of the limelight is celebrated in the limelight. This year, digital transformation was a big part of the conversation. That’s a topic I had the opportunity to explore with supply chain leaders from Maersk and Colgate that I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks.
But first, Gartner is also a place to understand the trends that are impacting supply chain leaders today. That’s what I talked about with Sumit Dutta. He’s is a principal in EY’s Chicago office, where he co-leads the EY Americas Supply Chain & Operations team. His practice brings him in contact with chief operating and chief supply chain officers. Given that high level view, I wondered, what is keeping the supply chain C-Suite up at night? Dutta identified four trends driving what he calls “supply chain reimigination.”
The next level of supply chain resilience: If nothing else, the pandemic made us all realize just how fragile and dependent global supply chains had become. Building resilience across all of the supply chain functions has become a major focus of chief supply chain officers “and is keeping us busy,” Dutta said. He noted that inventory planning is not as critical today as it was during more than a year of disruptions. Instead, at a high level, firms are focusing on planning functions like S&OP and Integrated Business Planning that span processes; and they’re looking at where and how to “weed out wastes.” In manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, the emphasis is on consistent and reliabler operations. And, while a lot of attention is being paid to technology, Dutta said the starting point is to identify the basic KPIs drive the supply chain, “and then look for technology that can strengthen those processes.”