Supply Chains Are Looking Up, Literally

by Olaf Schatteman and Juliane Stephan

Cloud-based software and agile ways of working can provide the resiliency that companies urgently need.

  • More than one-third of companies say their supply chain technology falls short in providing real-time insights.

  • Emerging technologies are transforming companies’ ability to respond to rapidly changing market dynamics.

  • Leading companies are moving to a core-light architecture and Agile ways of working to increase supply chain resilience and competitiveness.

It was a painful lesson. Companies that once boasted the world’s leanest, most efficient global supply chains have suffered the greatest disruptions from Covid-19 and geopolitical tensions. Saddled with inflexible networks, their organizations now are struggling to meet a quadruple challenge: soaring customer expectations for faster delivery, customization, lower cost, and sustainability.


To stay competitive, companies need to build more resilient, flexible supply chains. More than one-third of companies say their technology fell short in providing real-time insights needed to adapt operational strategies to a changing market, according to a recent Harris poll. But many senior executives are uncertain about how to proceed. The traditional practice of upgrading and replacing supply chain backbone technology every 12 to 15 years is far too slow to meet urgent new challenges. Starting a multiyear transformation today risks producing a technology backbone that’s obsolete as soon as it’s launched. It also will be unable to integrate innovative digital solutions quickly in response to market changes.


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