What Separates Leaders in the Supply Chain From Those Falling Behind?

Deloitte conducts an annual survey of leaders in the logistics industry to discover the most important issues relating to the supply chain, and also to ask how these issues are being addressed. On of the main points from the 2015 edition is that a high number of respondents where putting extra emphasis on finding and nurturing talent. This is due to a trend for a talent void—which is noted by Deloitte in the survey–and it’s having an adverse affect on many supply chain operations. Only 38% of supply chain executives claim to have a sufficient amount of confidence that their supply chain has the necessary quota of competencies.

Perhaps even more startling is the disparity between answers from the main respondents to the survey, from leaders in the supply chain, to followers. In order for leaders to be identified, senior executives were polled. They were asked for their opinion of the company they represents supply chain in comparison to other companies in their industry according to two metrics; turnover of inventory, and the percentage of deliveries which are fulfilled on time and fully. If they were of the opinion that the performance of their company is performing above average in both metrics then they were designated as supply chain leaders, this accounted for 8% of respondents. If they felt that their performance was less than above average, they were designated as supply chain followers, and the remaining 92% fall into this category.

Leaders in the supply chain display performance characteristics that set them apart from followers. One of the main indicators is superior financial performance. They are also much more innovative, this is apparent from the fact that they have recruited from a much wider range of capabilities. These include using the latest technologies such as 3D printing and utilizing optimization tools.

There is a wide range of answers presented in the supply chain survey, but the question where the biggest difference appears is when it comes to how respondents view the talent and supply chain capability they have at their disposal. Leaders are more likely to acknowledge that their company will make use of external experts and staff by a margin of close to 25%. These external resources will come from companies who are dedicated to supply chain performance, and can only enhance the status of supply chain leaders.

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