The ninth annual PwC Global Supply Chain Survey shows that strategy is everything when it comes to supply chain success. Businesses that realize the strategic importance of their supply chain achieve 70% higher performance and are more profitable.
In 2013, PwC surveyed more than 500 supply chain experts around the world, representing a range of industries. “The Leaders in our survey point to the future. They have supply chains that are efficient, fast and tailored — a model that lets companies serve their customers reliably in turbulent market conditions and that differentiates between the needs of different sets of customers.”
Survey results show three key drivers behind the most successful supply chains. Reducing costs remains a priority, but flexibility and perfect order delivery share the spotlight in today’s market. From retail and communications to pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, leaders in every industry know that the end-user is a vital link in any successful supply chain. They also know that their customers don’t have cookie-cutter needs. “They’ve created different supply chain configurations for different customer segments by using distinct processes and supply networks to offer different levels of service at different prices.”
PwC found that the most successful companies outsourced more than half of their manufacturing, assembly, and logistics activities. Regional facilities handle about 75% of these outsourced tasks to keep the supply chain as flexible as possible. Strategic functions, however, are almost always managed by in-house professionals, including sales, research and development, operations, and procurement.
Collaborative planning, real-time data sharing, and vendor-managed inventory are the latest techniques used by successful supply chain experts. New technology, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) and automated systems, were also found to boost productivity. Over 65% of those surveyed believe that sustainable supply chains will become increasingly important.
The Leaders according to PwC significantly outperformed those that fell behind, but less than half of the companies surveyed seen the strategic value in their supply chain. Less than 10% think their supply chain gives the company an edge over the competition. According to PwC, “That needs to change, because better supply chain efficiency has a measurable impact. Supply chain managers across the globe need to step up to their top management and claim their rightful place as one of the major elements in the success — or failure — of their company.”