3 Key Challenges for Chief Supply Chain Officers

The Blume Global Team

Supply chains are at the center of how a company does business and what kind of experience it ultimately delivers to its customers. That’s why the chief supply chain officer (CSCO) has become a must-have leadership role in the C-suite.

The Evolving Role of CSCOs

According to the Deloitte Industry 4.0 Investment Survey 2018, 62% of respondents said the supply chain is the most frequently prioritized function for future digital investment, ahead of product design, marketing and sales. Additionally, 63% of respondents noted that they have digital transformation efforts for their supply chains already underway.

It’s clear that the supply chain is a high priority and focus area for CSCOs and their organizations. However, only 22% of the respondents noted in Deloitte’s survey that CSCOs are highly involved or key decision makers in digital technology investments. The chief supply chain officer role is still a relatively new one within the C-suite and needs to become a strategic leadership role for organizations worldwide.

“In this digital era where customers demand speed to market and hyper-personalization, these executives need to ensure that their supply chain function is not only a key differentiator but also ensures the sustained growth of their organizations,” says Mohammed Hajibashi, managing director at Accenture and global supply chain lead in its products industry practice.  “The fast and efficient adoption of the right new technologies that enable a new way of working, along with increased C-suite engagement with the supply chain function, are the keys to achieving growth via new digital business models that create new customer experiences, craved by the consumer.”

Key Challenges for CSCOs

CSCOs must bring efficiencies and cost savings fundamentally into the fabric of their supply chains; increase revenue growth through better agility in their supply chain networks—from visibility to orchestration to settlement; and empower their supply chain teams to focus on high-value work that transforms customer experiences.

Improving Efficiencies and Reducing Costs

Just having visibility is not enough for CSCOs anymore. With widespread shortages in warehouses, containers, chassis, trailers, trucks, truckers, material handlers and more, CSCOs need to have the ability to convert every single container into a warehouse and redirect containers as needed in real time, through the Internet of Things and sensors.

Siloed parts of the supply chain, especially in the first- and last-mile shipping segments, are particularly disruptive to a CSCO’s business operations. For example, from a port to a distribution center, if trucks are not available for an immediate pickup or there is unexpected traffic to the rail ramp, these ground transportation delays can result in high accessorial charges that quickly add up.

With in-transit, real-time and end-to-end visibility, CSCOs can track their inventories at SKU levels and make precise, informed decisions—ultimately boosting the efficiency of their supply chains and reducing costs.

Increasing Revenue Growth

The supply chain can no longer be viewed as a cost center where CSCOs help their organizations minimize costs, lower distribution center inventory and quickly ship in bulk. Now, CSCOs must make their supply chains key business enablers that increase speed to market and revenue growth.

Automation and acceleration of repetitive, manual tasks, including financial settlement, allows CSCOs and their teams to do more strategic, high-value work. With an automated and adaptive supply chain, teams can put their focus on improving speed and service across multiple channels with smaller, more frequent replenishment cycles­­­ to accommodate shorter product lifecycles.

To transform their supply chains into revenue-generators, CSCOs need to leverage the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). AI delivers real value for supply chain management by extracting important data from customers, suppliers and documents, and streamlining supply, demand and inventory management. Data analysis and insight from AI creates actionable business intelligence that drives continual improvement across the supply chain.

Delivering Better Service and Customer Experiences

It’s a world of Amazon now. CSCOs must reinvent their logistics and fulfillment operations to meet and exceed ever-growing customers’ expectations in an Amazon-driven retail landscape. If retailers don’t meet customers’ demands, customers will move on to another retailer for their purchases—and may never come back.

As buyers’ demands change, CSCOs need to have their supply chains adapt to them. CSCOs must ask themselves, “Do I have the right supply chain data and can I execute on that data?” Ultimately, CSCOs need a need a data-driven platform that allows them to forecast and respond to demands in real time—turning a reactive approach to supply chain visibility into a proactive one.

By seeing problems—such as competitors’ promotions and big in-stock seasonality needs—before they occur with predictive analytics, CSCOs can better understand the elasticity of demand for their products and respond accordingly.

AI-Enabled Supply Chain Transformation

To create sustainable growth and service delivery, CSCOs must create the vision and strategy for the deployment and adoption of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT and blockchain. IDC predicts that by 2024, over 60% of G2000 manufacturing organizations will rely on artificial intelligence platforms to drive digital transformation across the supply chain, leading to productivity gains of over 20%.

Blume solutions empower CSCOs worldwide to drive AI-enabled digital transformation in their organizations for better efficiency, agility and resiliency.

Case in point: a CSCO at a leading manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment.

Like most manufacturers, this CSCO needed to improve service management and reduce costs. The CSCO chose Blume Global because of its advanced capabilities to automate the assignment of work orders, the validation of motor carrier invoices and the management of drayage event capture in and out of manufacturing facilities—drastically improving the company’s logistics efficiency and bottom line.

Learn more about how Blume Global is empowering CSCOs at blumeglobal.com/solutions/

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