Majority of Supply Chain Improvement Efforts Focus on Short-term Gains

CSC Survey: Focus on cost, lack of strategy and limited collaboration constrain benefits


However, progress is being made on one collaborative front. It involves the relationship between supply chain leaders and their counterparts in information technology (IT). In 2003, 39 percent of respondents said that their work relationship with IT leadership regarding the introduction of new technologies had not been very effective or was only marginally so. That number decreased sharply to 14 percent in 2004. In addition, 37 percent of this year's respondents said that the relationship was moderately to very effective, compared to 30 percent in 2003. According to Poirier, it looks as if the message of collaboration between the supply chain (responsible for process improvements) and IT (responsible for the systems to enable the improvements) finally is getting through.

Perhaps the most important insight from the survey is that the real business benefit of advanced supply chain management remains largely untapped, said Frank Quinn, editor of Supply Chain Management Review. The results only hint at what can be achieved in terms of cost savings, revenue increase, profit improvement, customer satisfaction ratings and more. If business executives keep an open mind and dedicate themselves toward real advancement, they can start to see breakthrough results in every area.

Conducted this summer, the 2004 Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress was sent to supply chain professionals in North America, Europe and selected countries around the world. The names were drawn from readers of Supply Chain Management Review and other publications of Reed Business Information, as well as clients of CSC.

A total of 236 respondents completed the eight-page questionnaire. The majority of responses came from North America (128), mainly the United States. European companies represented the next highest geographic segment with 60 respondents. Thirty-five responses came from countries outside of North America and Europe. Thirteen did not indicate location.

Organizationally, 56 percent of the respondents represented corporate entities; 28 percent were from divisions, wholly owned subsidiaries or strategic business units; and 16 percent from groups or multiple divisions. More than 20 different industries were represented in this year's survey. They ranged from aerospace and defense to retail and consumer packaged goods to high-tech and telecommunications.

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