Development of skills and not enough data collection are two big issues facing supply chains today, according to a recent report by SCM World. Kevin O'Marah, chief content officer at SCM World and co-author of the report, said supply chains need to embrace and catch up to the bigger role they have achieved over the last few years, but development and measurement have been lazy. More investment in supply chain optimization tools may also be necessary moving forward to make the most of these current trends.
The "Chief Supply Chain Officer Report 2013" stated the need to reduce costs while improving customer service was essential, as 68 percent of companies said reduction of costs is very important, up 4 percent from last year's survey. There is also a greater need to manage multichannel marketing, as 55 percent said mobile-enhanced customers and e-commerce make increasing the number of stock to support more important. Fifty-five percent said they are building new distribution centers and 48 percent are adopting new fulfillment capabilities that will be direct to the consumer.
Other findings from the report included:
- 47 percent expect lower costs and higher efficiency, up from 32 percent two years ago.
- 37 percent are "very concerned" about safety and quality incidents, while 35 percent are "concerned."
- 76 percent may need to work on a way to bring in new talent, as they said developing new career options for staff is challenging.
Data Should Be Used in Supply Chain
Becoming more advanced in the supply chain will likely not come easily for any organization, but using automated data collection to take in the vast amount of information gathered should make matters easier. FierceBigData editor Pam Baker wrote that every business is now inundated with loads of information, and even though it may seem counter-intuitive to think of supply chains in terms of these throngs of data, it may be essential to improve how the company works.
"For any big data project to succeed, it must first be based on high-quality data and not merely on quantity," she said. "In other words, not all the data any given company possesses has worth, and not all of it is dependable enough to be of use. Such must be purged from databases in order to ensure the big data results are sound. Further, it will become increasingly important in many big data projects to add external data to the mix."
Even past this, she said companies will need to stop looking inward only and start taking the outside market into consideration as well. This is why data collection - pertaining to both inside and outside information - in supply chains will become more important, as companies will need to find ways to process big data into useful information to improve revenue. Baker said enterprises that do not have a program in place for this will become more vulnerable as time goes on and will likely fall behind their competition. Analytics will become a much bigger thought across all supply chain ventures.