Digital innovation to support future supply chains

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Companies are embracing digital innovation as a tool to help them manage future supply chains, as found by a recent global study carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank.

The study surveyed individuals in senior executive, senior management and C-level or board roles in 13 countries in early 2017.

The report found that companies will pursue a stronger embrace of innovation over the next five years to help their businesses adapt to potential disruptions and intensifying competition.

‘Rebooting supply chains: Shorter, smarter and more sustainable?’ found that 93 per cent of companies surveyed recognise the importance of innovation in supply-chain management.

Furthermore, 55 per cent of companies described digitisation as either an important or very important five-year objective for their supply chains.

Companies also reported a need for greater visibility across their sourcing networks, with 54 per cent stating that achieving complete transparency about where and how their products are made is an important or very important goal.

Companies expect operational improvements and innovations will help them reduce the length and complexity of their supply chains. Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they expect their supply chains to become shorter and simpler in the next five years.

However, the study concluded that shorter supply chains may not necessarily be more simple, particularly for consumer-facing industries, where customisation and personalisation are becoming important trends.

Kevin Plumberg, Editor of the report, said, “We don’t expect supply-chain complexity to relent anytime soon when it comes to doing business internationally. However, digitisation of supply-chain information, increased transparency and more internal collaboration between functions can help companies with global supply chains become more efficient and effective.”