Study: Supply chain managers have trouble keeping up with business demands, agility


Hundreds of supply chain managers met at the recent Data Warehousing Institute World Conference to discuss trends, concerns and occurrences in their varying industries.

At the event, agile information management software vendor Kalido polled 119 attendees and found that 85 percent of respondents said they can't keep up with the changes taking place in their industry and the demands being asked of them by their organization.

 cant keep up with demand

More than half of the surveyed organizations said they believe their business plans and IT technologies were aligned well, according to the study.

However, when Kalido investigated the matter further, it found that such sentiments were not entirely true, as the majority of companies have little to no agility and it takes them a long time to make adjustments to their business plans. In fact, Kalido found that it takes more than a month to add room for a new informational resource, making the company as a whole slow down.

Additionally, the study revealed that adding more money or people doesn't necessarily help businesses keep up with these demands. Around 24 percent of supply chain managers spend more than $1 million annually to upkeep their data warehouse. However, only 12 percent of these individuals feel their supply chain can remain in tow with the evolving demands, the study noted.

Meanwhile, these decision-makers were also nearly twice as likely to reorganize their supply chains as those that spend less than $1 million, Kalido reported.

"This survey reemphasized the gap between the need for business agility and the capabilities of the information supply chain," Kalido vice president of marketing Allen Johnson said. "More than anything, it spotlights the futility of throwing more money and people at a dated approach."

One potential way to improve supply chain agility is to take a new approach to manufacturing, sourcing and logistics flexibility. For example, businesses should have the ability to change delivery schedules in response to variables within the supply chain. Meanwhile, organizations should take a different stance on demand, according to an Infosys report by industry expert Ganesh Subramanian.

Rather than building the supply chain management plan, decision-makers should prepare for improvisation.

"Don't focus much on planning; execution is crucial because the plan may change due to uncertain environment," Subramanian said.

In other words, supply chain management should loosen up and embrace flexibility to improve agility.