CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
October 19, 2018
Forward Thinking

Supply chain analytics tops executives' priority list for technology investment

Most respondents to an IBM survey said they plan to implement advanced analytics and modeling in the next two to five years. Visibility was second on their priority list.

Chief supply chain officers plan to invest in analytics, business intelligence, and other software tools to bring more visibility to their supply chains, according to "Orchestrating a customer-activated supply chain," a report issued by the IBM Institute for Business Value. IBM canvassed 201 chief supply chain officers from 16 countries for the research.

The study found that 92 percent of supply chain executives said they expect to have implemented advanced analytics in the next two to five years, and 80 percent said the same for modeling to optimize flows. (Those figures include a small number of respondents who already have those capabilities in place.) In addition, 62 percent said that in the next three to five years they plan to invest in software and tools that will help them achieve supply chain visibility.

The report also noted that 96 percent of the supply chain executives surveyed expect to have achieved a higher level of collaborative planning and execution with their partners within the next two to five years. (Forty-seven percent of respondents report that they have already reached that goal.) In that regard, 64 percent of survey respondents plan heavier use of software for collaborative intelligence during that period.

The research found that supply chain organizations are still struggling to gain a big-picture view of their operations. When IBM conducted a similar study in 2010, 70 percent of chief supply chain officers who participated predicted that their supply chain flows would be optimized within five years. But in the 2014 study, only 9 percent of respondents said they had accomplished that goal.

The study covers considerably more ground on a host of topics related to strategy and planning. The full report is available here.

Investment areas for supply chain chiefs
Cost reduction/cost containment 75 percent
Supply chain visibility 62 percent
Sales and operations planning 56 percent
Business intelligence/analytics 54 percent
Inventory optimization 54 percent
Source: IBM Institute for Business Value, "Orchestrating a customer-activated supply chain" (2014)

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