Conflicts and silos are holding back the supply chain, say 68% of industry execs

More than two-thirds of supply chain and logistics heads (68%) say that tighter integration between network design, demand and supply is being hampered by disjointed tools and planning processes along with conflicting business objectives, a new poll has revealed.

Almost all the supply chain and logistics executives (98%) polled by Barloworld Supply Chain Software, provider of strategic and tactical supply chain solutions to optimise network design, demand and supply planning and inventory management, said that closer collaboration across their business is being hindered by the way different elements of the supply chain are measured.

Half of these (46%) said inconsistencies in the types of metrics used to measure performance in different parts of the supply chain, such as sales, marketing and logistics, were too disconnected. The other half felt performance-related metrics are locking individual teams into target-led behaviour that prevents collaborative working across different departments.

"Clearly, there are still stubborn silos in the supply chain that sales and operations planning is yet to overcome," said Fraser Ironside, Head of Strategic Modelling at Barloworld Supply Chain Software.

"However, the fact that many supply chain leaders are also highlighting conflicting business objectives as a barrier is a more recent development. The challenge is that, in most organisations, there are no cross-functional metrics and no single supply chain custodian that is 'owning' or leading the essential process of supply chain integration."

The poll also looked at the lack of available talent in the supply chain. Asked to identify where the issue was most acute, just over a quarter (27%) felt it was in supply, demand and inventory planning roles. The majority (64%) said that it was in jobs such as network design, performance analysis, risk management, as well as data and process analysis.

"The modern supply chain must have the necessary agility to move with the market," added Ironside. "To do this, organisations need to be in a position to use the data-driven insight that technology brings to connect their strategic supply chain plans with operational performance. If they don't have the right talent and the right skills, they will struggle to optimise their supply chain and achieve true efficiency."

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