CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
November 20, 2017
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No one in the driver's seat

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A new study from GT Nexus finds that most manufacturers are operating without a chief supply chain officer.

Who is in charge of your supply chain? If you're like most of the respondents to a survey conducted by GT Nexus, which provides cloud networking for global trade and supply chain management, the answer is "nobody in particular." According to GT Nexus' "State of the Supply Chain Report," 76 percent of manufacturers are operating without a chief supply chain officer (CSCO).

The report is based on a survey of 250 U.S.-based senior manufacturing executives. The study not only looked at the prevalence of CSCOs, but also sought to identify the most notable supply chain challenges as well as companies' goals for improvement.

Article Figures
[Figure 1] Do you have a chief supply chain officer role?
[Figure 1] Do you have a chief supply chain officer role? Enlarge this image

Less than one-quarter of respondents (24 percent) indicated that they have a chief supply chain officer in place. An additional 32 percent said that they had something similar, but GT Nexus assumes that it's not at the C-level. Two percent reported that they have plans to create the position, and 41 percent said they don't have the position and do not plan to create it.

GT Nexus suggests that this lack of C-level supply chain leadership is troubling. Manufacturers today have increasingly outsourced supply chains. As supply chains become more complex, risk levels rise and the need for strategic guidance increases. Forty percent of the manufacturers surveyed reported that they had experienced a disruption in the past 12 months that impacted their business. These disruptions included both external events, such as labor strikes and bad weather, as well as internal events, such as technology problems and difficulty hiring qualified staff. Companies with a CSCO, according to GT Nexus, are better able to implement broad initiatives that can improve visibility and collaboration across the supply chain, which help companies better respond to these disruptions.

"Unfortunately, without a strategic C-level leader, supply chain strategies are shorthanded or misguided," a GT Nexus spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. "Without a champion of end-to-end visibility or a visionary who can move the enterprise towards a supply network approach, many initiatives collapse."

The full report can be downloaded here.

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