Creating an integrated, real-time supply chain

Customers are demanding global access to products and services, further pressing enterprises to meet these needs with faster operations that are enabled by real-time information

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A recent report from Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services titled Supply Chain Innovation Driving Operational Improvements illustrates how crucial innovative supply chain tools are for corporations that want to meet performance expectations and complete complex processes. The survey polled 318 vice presidents, directors, and C-level executives who represent companies in several sectors for the report. They indicated that the next two years will see an increase in the adoption of supply chain tools to better manage business processes. While 75 percent of decision-makers said forecasting and planning tools help achieve certain goals, supply chain visibility technology that optimizes real-time data is becoming more important.

To achieve an integrated, real-time supply chain, advanced management solutions are needed as well as data analytics technology that can translate real-time reports into actionable insight to support changes or strategies moving forward. Real-time information supports decision making and enables a more flexible environment in which supply chains can respond quickly to market dynamics and consumer demand.

Seventy-three percent of survey participants said supply chain analytics tools are important to their companies' goals, and 71 percent said analytics tools need to be more predictive. To enhance the ability to forecast supply chain performance, 73 percent of respondents said that by 2014 they plan to upgrade their software with supply chain analytics tools, and 71 percent said they will install supply chain traceability tools.

Other key findings in the report are:

  • Demand-driven supply forecasting/planning leads all supply chain tools in level of importance and level of adoption. Getting this task right is seen as key to supply chain management
  • Although deployment of supply chain management tools lags the expressed level of importance, adoption and upgrading will grow over the next two years across the board for these tools
  • Supply chain tools that support the creation of real-time supply chains, such as multilevel inventory optimization, demand signal repository, sales and operations planning, and leveraging point-of-sale data, are not widely adopted yet. However, they are recognized as highly important and are on track to be adopted more quickly over the next two years than most other tools.
  • Mobile access to supply chain tools and data is gradually happening. Fifty-one percent of respondents expect employees to have mobile device access to demand and supply forecasting/planning data by 2014, up from today's 28 percent, who say it is available now.

Click here to view the complete report.