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Gartner on Four Supply Chain Initiatives for Competitive Advantage



Includes Paying a Lot more Attention to “The Human Deal"

March 14, 2023
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Looking for some smart initiatives to give your supply chain and hence your company some competitive advantage?


Supply Chain Digest Says...


Loveland says that closing the gap between the time spent making a decision and then executing that decision is a focus for 96% of supply chain leaders.

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Recently, Gartner analyst Jennifer Loveland issued a research not with four such ideas that companies can pursue in 2023 and beyond


“Over the coming five years, 80% to 90% of supply chains plan to rethink these four areas of operations - but the high-performing ones have already started,” Loveland says.

Below, SCDigest takes a look at each one.

No. 1: Supply chain will move beyond customer satisfaction to customer enablement.

What does that mean? Loveland says that customers enabled by the supply chain to get their own jobs done better are twice as willing to repurchase as customers who were merely satisfied. Yet, only 23% of supply chain organizations focus on enabling customers.

Customer enablement involved “providing a customer experience that is reliable and simple and enables customers to get their jobs done better,” Loveland adds.

She adds that “To achieve customer enablement, you must prioritize it and ensure there is no one-size-fits-all across the supply chain and no one-size-fits-every interaction for a specific customer,” says Loveland.

No. 2: Supply chain will embed sustainability in operations.

Loveland cites research that engaging in circular economy activities is important to 75% of supply chain leaders, but that in support of achieving sustainability outcomes, only 19% believe they have sufficient capabilities.

“Though many organizations have seen soft benefits of sustainability, such as improved reputation, far fewer have seen more concrete business benefits. It’s time to move from talk to action,” Loveland notes.

She adds that high-performing organizations are pivoting away from profit-driven to purpose-driven across the entire organization spanning awareness activities (such as strategy, vision, goals and objectives) to alignment on roles and decision making (such as org structure, metrics, data and product development).

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But that’s going to take investment, Loveland notes.

“It’s clear that to achieve sustainability outcomes, all organizations must acquire more funding, embed sustainability in operations, and coordinate change across the end-to-end value chain to address the circular economy and Scope 3 GHG emissions of suppliers,” Loveland writes.

No. 3: Supply chain will move beyond real-time analytics to real-time execution.

Loveland says that closing the gap between the time spent making a decision and then executing that decision is a focus for 96% of supply chain leaders. Yet, on average, only 7% have real-time decision execution.“Nearly all supply chain organizations must react quickly to changing conditions, which requires automated decision making,” Loveland notes. “Yet without real-time execution on those decisions, the supply chain will know exactly what to do but will react too slowly.”

In three to five years, only about half of high-performing supply chains will have comprehensive real-time decision execution, Loveland says, with the implication it appears that the technology will move from analytics that provide decision-support to the software making the decisions on its own.

No. 4: Supply chain will implement human-centric work design.

Blue and white collar labor shortages are a top challenge for 60% of supply chain organizations, and the workforce is the top priority for board directors in 2023. Yet, Loveland says, one-third of supply chain organizations lack an effective employee value proposition (EVP) to attract, retain and engage the needed talent based on human-centric work desi

“To deliver an EVP that connects with employees, chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) must partner with human resources to create a culture and employee experience that is flexible, purposeful and fulfilling,” Loveland says.

She adds that employees want to be understood, autonomous, valued and cared for – something Gartner calls “the Human Deal. “

The four initiatives are “critically important to focus on now to become the supply chain of the future,” Loveland concludes.


Any reaction to Gartner's ideas? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.








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