Manufacturers identify areas for improvement in their supply chain

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A new survey* commissioned by DHL Supply Chain has revealed UK manufacturers' priorities for further improvement in their supply chain. Although just 1% of respondents outsource inventory management processes, 30% recognise it as an area of their supply chain that needs improving. Similarly, only 13% outsource their warehousing and storage, yet 16% feel it needs improving.

The survey exposes a lack of awareness about where supply chain efficiencies can be generated, with only 54% expecting it to have a significant impact on the profit growth of their business.

One respondent to the survey said: "Supplier Management has been the key challenge for us. We agree in board meetings that we need to improve our supply chain, but unfortunately it is always last on the priority list."

The research also showed that maintaining deliveries at the right time and in the right quantity is a key concern for UK manufacturers' customers, with 83% of respondents stating that this is a key area for enhancement within the supply chain.

Additionally, an agile and responsive supply chain also proved significant, with 75% of respondents suggesting this is a key customer demand, alongside shorter lead times (72%.)

Ian King, Business Director of Engineering and Manufacturing at DHL commented: "Manufacturers recognise that there is room for further improvement in their supply chain, but it seems that one area they might be overlooking is the impact that improving supply chain efficiency can have on their bottom line.

"There is a fine line between balancing customer expectations with your supply chain's capacity - it's an area that needs constant fine-tuning, especially given the spotlight on UK manufacturing to help rebalance the economy."

*Methodology - This survey was carried out by Benchmark Research for DHL Supply Chain over a three-month period (April - June 2011.) Representative of a cross-section of UK manufacturing organisations, 120 management level supply chain employees of companies with over 200 staff and a turnover of 20 million were surveyed to better understand how UK manufacturing defines its supply chain and how to understand the challenges and issues faced within the sector.

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