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Manufacturing Industry Updates Supply Chain Industry Updates

Supply Chain Visibility Far from 20/20 for Most Organizations

Is this you trying to “see” your complete supply chain? (iStock/vchal)

If you find yourself squinting to read labels or street signs, then it’s probably time for a new pair of glasses or contact lenses. Likewise, it sounds like it is time for a visit to the optometrist for many supply chain professionals.

Not literally, of course, but a lack of “visibility” is a major problem for many. Two studies released today make that 20/20 clear.

Close to 90% of companies confirmed that end-to-end supply chain visibility is important, according to research conducted by Cleo Integration Cloud. However, Cleo noted, “only about half of companies surveyed said they can use their data to foresee changes to their transportation plans (48%) or delivery schedules (47%), and just over one-third (37%) can see real-time changes to pricing.”

Also today, the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) and Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released “The Resilient Supply Chain Benchmark: Ready for Anything? Turbulence and the Resilience Imperative.” Some of its findings were similar to Cleo’s. For instance, as ASCM and EIU summarized, “Over half of companies lack end-to-end visibility into their supply chains because they rely on a picture of supply and demand that is based only on internal data from the company itself.”

A further 37% of companies reported that “their visibility was hampered by either internal siloes or was not data-driven at all.” That’s not good, especially if the goal is to achieve greater supply chain resilience.

EIU and ASCM, which began their joint project last year, surveyed more than 300 publicly-listed retail, pharmaceutical and consumer electronics companies, as well as groups such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association, about management of supply chain risks.

“While each industry faces unique supply chain dynamics, in a time of increased turbulence it has become critical to reconsider the balance between efficiency and resilience,” ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi explained. “The Resilient Supply Chain Benchmark provides both data and analysis to better understand the critical capabilities driving resilience, where the most common vulnerabilities lie and how to strengthen operations for the future.”

Visibility wasn’t the only target of ASCM and EIU’s inquiries. Other findings from their report included:

  • Benchmarked companies ranked supply chain sustainability as a top way to build resilience over the next three to five years, but there is a gap between rhetoric and reality.” 
  • Business continuity plans and playbooks should include triggers outlining actions to be taken across a range of disruptions. Overall, only 57% of companies benchmarked claimed that they had business continuity plans that met this criterion, a number that is shockingly high with today’s complex and dynamic threat matrix.”
  • Companies are building strategic supply chain resilience by forging strong long-term relationships with key suppliers and customers. Over half [55%] of companies benchmarked stated that they directly helped suppliers remain solvent during times of crisis.”

“We hope that the benchmark will give companies a first step in assessing their own resilience-building capabilities against their industry peers,” said Sabu Mathai, EIU project lead and a senior manager.

The full benchmark report can be accessed here. ASCM and EIU scheduled a podcast about the report for Wednesday, Feb. 24. To register, visit https://bit.ly/2M68W97.