Report: Supply chain management evolving in 2013

While the supply chain is an integral aspect of business, some may still view it as less important than other areas. But a recent report from PricewaterhouseCooper suggests more business leaders are increasingly strategizing their supply chain to contribute to overall success. They're doing so by using new, revolutionary methods companies may be unfamiliar with, but with the help of supply chain recruiters, can excel in.

Supply chain a valuable asset
In "Next-generation supply chains: Efficient, fast and tailored," PwC found only 45 percent of respondents to a 2013 global supply chain survey actively view their supply chain as a strategic asset. The firm also found 70 percent of those that do achieve better success than their peers. “Leaders,” those who identify supply chain as a crucial asset, enjoy twice the profitability as “laggards,” those who don't, while also maintaining an on-time delivery percentage advantage of 17 points.

Leaders also take their diverse consumer base into accounts. Eighty-three percent of leading businesses in supply chain management tailor their configurations and channels to fit the needs of different customer segments. The report said laggards would be more inclined to take a "one-size-fits-all" approach that would serve neither the business nor its customers.

Technology, sustainability becoming crucial to better supply chain
An overarching theme of the report is the influence that advances in technology and logistics have in aiding businesses to formulate a superior supply chain. Fifty percent of respondents said they will implement new tools for process automation and another two-thirds said automation would be vital to supply chain by 2015.

"Leaders are investing in next-generation supply chain capabilities that enhance profitability while meeting the needs of individual customers," said Mark Strom, global operations leader for PwC. "Responsive supply-chain configurations not only drive performance, but allow companies to serve their customers seamlessly in turbulent market conditions."

The report also underscored the growing importance of sustainability in supply chain – more than two-thirds of all respondents said sustainability would play an increasingly important role in the future of supply chain. Some strategies already undertaken by leaders include investing in technologies that reduce carbon emissions and the exclusion of supply chain partners that do not mesh with ethical and environmental standards.