Supply chain executives have plenty of challenges ahead of them in 2011. Which one do they think will test their mettle more than any other? Mastering demand variability in order to devise accurate product forecasts, according to the results of a recent survey of chief supply chain officers conducted by the U.K.-based research and event management firm eyefortransport.
Some 42 percent of the 340 global supply chain executives participating in the survey, which was conducted in September and October of 2010, said that dealing with demand variability would be among their biggest challenges this year. Another 39 percent cited cost containment and reduction, and 35 percent identified supply chain visibility as some of their biggest challenges. Inventory management and optimization, and escalating customer expectations followed close behind with 33 percent each. Multiple responses were allowed.
The majority of survey takers—nearly 80 percent—also said that they had begun or had already implemented a cost-containment project in their supply chains. Slightly more than 60 percent had also begun a project on inventory optimization, while about 45 percent were working on an initiative related to supply chain visibility.
Most of the survey participants considered the economy to be on the path to recovery. Sixty-six percent said that the worst of the economic troubles were over and the economy was improving. On the other hand, 24 percent said they were still bracing for a "double dip" recession.
A sign of hope: a number of companies have begun recruiting new members of their supply chain organizations. More than one-third (35 percent) of the executives surveyed said that their companies were currently hiring supply chain professionals.
Eyefortransport's Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Strategy Survey 2011 is available at http://events.eft.com/csco/pdf/Survey2011.pdf.