Which challenge do supply chain executives think will test their mettle more than any other in 2011? According to the results of a recent survey of chief supply chain officers, it's mastering demand variability in order to devise accurate product forecasts.
Some 42 percent of the 340 executives participating in the survey, conducted in late 2010 by the U.K.-based firm eyefortransport, 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. Escalating customer expectations and inventory management and optimization followed close behind with 33 percent each. Multiple responses were allowed.
The majority of survey takers—nearly 80 percent—also said that they had either begun or had already implemented a cost-containment project. Slightly more than 60 percent had also begun an inventory-optimization project, 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. However, 24 percent said they were still bracing for a "double dip" recession. A sign of hope: more than onethird (35 percent) of the executives surveyed said that their companies were currently hiring supply chain professionals.
The report, "Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Strategy Survey 2011," is available here.