Fast-changing customer needs require digitally networked and autonomous supply chains, but just a quarter of supply chains currently have such advanced capabilities, according to a recent Supply Chain Reinvention Survey by consulting firm EY Americas.
Digitally networked supply chains connect suppliers and customers via the cloud or by directly integrating data, with end-to-end visibility up and down the supply chain, according to the study's authors. Autonomous supply chains are fully automated and require little to no human presence; they also use robotics to fulfill orders and are beginning to use driverless forklifts, the authors said. Although the study showed that few supply chains have such capabilities today, more than 50 percent of executives surveyed said they expect autonomous supply chains by 2025, according to the survey.
This is putting many companies on the fast track to adopting advanced technology systems that can help them improve market share and customer satisfaction. The study authors noted that:
"We know today's transformative age will force all aspects of an organization to evolve-and the supply chain is no exception," Glenn Steinberg, EY Global and EY Americas Supply Chain Leader said in a statement announcing the survey results. "Supply chain executives have an opportunity to be the drivers of change, bettering the customer experience while improving speed, efficiency, and safety in the process. Our [survey] underscored that digitally networked supply chains will be best positioned to thrive in the future. We also saw supply chains that are digitally networked or autonomous report increased market share and customer satisfaction compared to their linear supply chain counterparts."
EY Americas' Supply Chain Reinvention Survey 2019 also touched on other issues that are reshaping today's supply chain, including a talent shortage and sustainability issues. According to the survey: