75 percent of companies plan to make changes to build more resilient supply chains

Published: Wednesday, 18 November 2020 09:23

BluJay Solutions has released the findings from its third annual supply chain research study in the report, 'Creating Resilience Amid Disruption: Research on How Supply Chains are Changing for Success and Survival'. Commissioned by BluJay and conducted by Adelante SCM, in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the research gains insights into how supply chain organizations have navigated the exceptional global disruption from COVID-19 and how companies plan to make their supply chains more resilient. Supply chain professionals from industries including manufacturing, retail, and logistics service providers (LSPs) were surveyed, with 233 qualified respondents.

Key findings from the survey include:

Forging a more resilient supply chain

While on one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a great disruptor of supply chains, it is also serving as a catalyst for change and innovation.

Overall, 75 percent of the respondents expect to make moderate-to-extreme changes. More than a third of survey respondents (34 percent) expect their companies will make Many or Extreme changes in how they design and operate their supply chains to become more resilient.

When asked which functions or processes within their supply chain will require the most changes or re-evaluation, respondents rank IT capabilities (61 percent) and human resources policies (58 percent) as the top two. For many companies, the quick and unexpected shift to working from home uncovered shortcomings in their HR policies and IT capabilities, especially for companies dependent on on-premise applications that are not accessible via the cloud.

A majority of survey respondents agree that creating a more resilient supply chain begins with developing stronger, more transparent relationships with key suppliers. This was the top-ranked action (53 percent) that respondents expect to take to create a more resilient supply chain, followed by cross-train employees (49 percent) and expand/diversify supplier base (43 percent).

Visibility into demand and supply will be even more critical moving forward; the top four responses point to a key lesson learned from the pandemic: the importance of having real-time visibility to demand and supply in order to respond quickly and efficiently to changing conditions, and the ability to model and simulate different scenarios ahead of time in order to proactively prepare for whatever lies ahead.

Customer experience survives the pandemic

While providing an enhanced customer experience has been particularly difficult during the pandemic due to stockouts and delayed deliveries, companies retain their belief that customer experience will become the number-one brand differentiator over the next five years.

62 percent of the survey respondents Agree or Strongly Agree with this – a slight increase from 2019 when 61 percent responded the same.

Emerging drivers and barriers to innovation

Considering the large economic and financial impact of the pandemic, it’s not surprising that reducing costs is the top factor driving supply chain innovation. This year ‘To reduce costs/become more cost-competitive’ ranked first overall with 31 percent of top-factor votes.

On the flip slide, the top two barriers to innovation were ‘Siloed systems and/or processes’ (17 percent), followed by ‘Existing IT systems are outdated’ (14 percent), which remained consistent with the previous year’s results.

Read the full report