Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) should prepare to stay the course, navigating disruptions and ensuring business continuity as the economic recovery from the pandemic continues, according to a Gartner survey of nearly 200 CEOs and senior business executives, released Tuesday.
The research reveals concerns about the need to continue to optimize costs and create resilient supply chains in the wake of challenges brought on by the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic; 17% of business leaders ranked cost optimization as the number one issue that CSCOs should focus on in the near term, followed by supply chain resilience (16%).
“CEOs are tasking their CSCOs to focus on navigating through the ongoing disruption and ensure business continuity,” Thomas O’Connor, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, said in a statement. “This includes dealing with pandemic-related lockdowns in key markets, supply chain shortages–as seen in the semiconductor industry–and challenges with the global flow of goods and increasing distribution costs.”
At the same time, CSCOs must prepare for an expected economic boom by the end of 2022, according to 60% of CEOs surveyed. Digital transformation and business restructuring will rank high as they prepare for economic expansion.
According to the survey, most respondents want to focus on technology, and they plan to increase year-on-year investments in digital capabilities (80%). The trend appears to be shifting from a general, undefined ambition for digital business transformation toward more targeted initiatives, the researchers said. Survey respondents’ most popular areas of digital business were e-commerce/e-business (16%), customer interactions (9%), data analytics (9%), and customer experience (7%).
In addition, more than two-thirds of survey participants indicated they will use the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on redesigning the business. Nearly 80% of CEOs said they expect to see significant and enduring behavioral changes in society, the organization, and individuals that are a direct result of the pandemic. This means supply chain leaders should prepare for their business, key ecosystem partners, and/or competitors to undergo organizational behavioral shifts, the survey found.
“Already, a range of companies have committed to social responsibility and sustainability goals – a huge integration challenge for supply chain leaders that manage global networks. This means supply chain leaders need to establish metrics and goals for themselves and their partners, and ensure their targets are met across the whole value chain,” O’Connor concluded.