A recently released report highlighted the state of supply chains in 2012. The annual survey, the Chief Supply Chain Officer Report, was conducted by SCM World, which describes itself as "the leading global community and think-tank for senior-level supply chain executives." The report was based on information from an estimated 1,400 industry executives.
Dr. Hau Lee, chairman of SCM World, and a professor of operations, information and technology at Stanford University, said the survey revealed there are still some people who need to understand the full importance that the supply chain has to a business, but an increasing number of professionals are recognizing that improving performance related to the supply chain will result in significant business advantages.
"Our research shows that more and more companies are using supply chain excellence as a means to create value and competitive advantage," Lee said. "Those that still view supply chain management as a supporting function, or see it only as a way to reduce operating costs, have a lot of catching up to do. They are missing great opportunities."
The majority of the participants understood that the supply chain is just as important as sales and marketing or research and development when it comes to the success of a business. Only 10 percent of the respondents said they think the supply chain is just a service function.
According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they are looking to decrease the cost of their supply chain function, while 50 percent said that increasing sales revenue and creating a customized customer service initiative are crucial to improving their performance. In addition, participants provided their insight on other topics they believe would improve their supply chain functions, including faster production, launching new products on schedule and receiving priority treatment from their suppliers when a product is short on stock.