Only 1 in 100 manufacturers able to fully automate processes and just 14% redesigning to reduce scope 3 emissions – Kearney


The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with global consultancy Kearney, has released a new White Paper exploring the actions manufacturing leaders are taking to redesign their global value chains along key trends that are reshaping those and transforming manufacturing systems.

From Disruption to Opportunity: Strategies for Rewiring Global Value Chains’ is based on a survey of 300 global operations executives as well as 30 consultations, revealing a playbook of proven strategies enacted by leading manufacturers to redesign and future-proof their value chains  in response to global challenges. However, the results also indicate a significant gap between strategic intent and operational delivery.

Mapped against the five key trends that are shaping the rewiring of global value chains, a gap exists between strategic intent and operational delivery:

1. From global to globally connected, multi-local value chains 

a. 92% of organisations are regionalising their manufacturing footprint, but only 28% aim to have nearly all-in-region-for-region operations by 2030.

2. From “doing” digital to “being” digital across end-to-end operations

a. 64% or executives perceive AI solutions as the key to driving supply chain improvements, but only 1 in 100 have been able to eliminate manual Excel-like spreadsheets.

3. From economies of scale to economies of skill

a. 60% of the workforce needs training to bridge today’s skills gaps, but 23% of operations executives estimate the majority of their workforce is equipped with supply chain and operations skills they need by 2030.

4. From regulatory compliance to innovative sustainability 

a. 45% of respondents highlighted sustainability as one of the two most important drivers for supply chain reconfiguration, but only 14% are redesigning their manufacturing network to reduce scope 3 emissions.

5. From cost-driven to customer-value driven operations

a. 60% of those surveyed rated customer value as one of the priorities in driving supply chain reconfiguration, but 15% cited tangible actions taken to simultaneously strengthen performance, resilience and sustainability.

Proactive approach needed to bridge gap between rhetoric and reality

The scale and complexity of the required changes are one of the biggest obstacles to the rewiring of global value chains, along with opportunity costs in the form of time, energy and resources. To address these challenges, manufacturers must leverage the scale and interconnectedness of their networks by embracing new, holistic and data-driven methods to increase efficiency, while simultaneously driving sustainability, resilience and agility.

Per Hong, Senior Partner at Kearney, comments: “With today’s report revealing five clear trends shaping the next generation of supply chains, it is evident that industry leaders recognise the need for a wholesale rewiring of value chains in response to societal, environmental, and geopolitical upheavals. However, there is still work to do when it comes to operational delivery, largely due to the scale and complexity of the necessary changes, along with the opportunity costs. Closing this gap will require resources, patience, flexibility and agility, but must be a focus to overcome future value chain disruption.”

Kiva Allgood, Head, Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains, World Economic Forum, says: “Value chains are being reshaped by increasingly frequent disruptions stemming from emerging technologies, climate change and geopolitical challenges.  As these disruptions grow in intensity, it is important that manufacturers prioritise redesigning and fortifying value chains to not only navigate turbulences but also design value chains that are fit for the future, delivering positive economic, social, and environmental impact."


In response to the evolving landscape of global value chains and the pressing need for insights into how businesses are rewiring, the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Kearney, carried out a survey of over 300 global operations executives, together with more than 30 consultations between October and November 2023, to understand the latest approaches and most effective strategies for redesigning and preparing for the value chains of the future. This white paper sheds light on manufacturers’ progress and actions taken to redesign their value chains in line with these five key trends, and highlights a set of foundational and groundbreaking strategies that manufacturers are using to overcome present and future value chain disruption.

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