The Key to an Optimized Supply Chain? Alignment with the C-Suite

Even in the most well-oiled operations, a disconnect between the supply chain and the C-suite will inevitably lead to friction. Despite the best efforts of people on the ground, some executives don’t see the supply chain as a key force for driving corporate growth.

A recent report from Accenture surveyed 900 supply chain executives about the direction they see their supply chain going over the next few years. While a little over half (53%) saw their supply chain as a growth enabler, the majority (68%) felt it would play the role of a support function by the end of 2020. And only 48% considered it likely to become a competitive differentiator.

This lack of faith in the supply chain illustrates one of the biggest problems facing many organizations today. When the C-suite is comfortable categorizing the supply chain as a support function, executives are less likely to invest in the vital resources managers need to optimize the supply chain—and support the company’s growth and bottom line.

Keeping the supply chain in the dark

The best supply chain managers and staff always strive to streamline and optimize their operations. The strategic use of new technology is often essential to these efforts. Unfortunately, getting buy-in for the technology they need can be next to impossible without support from all key stakeholders in the C-suite.

The same Accenture survey identified the core challenges supply chain executives face today. The top three issues respondents identified all related to tech: lack of compatibility with legacy systems, inadequate skills within the workforce to drive value with new IT systems, and no clear business strategy to leverage new technology to its full advantage.

With increased pressure on shippers to deliver high-quality results to customers as efficiently and cheaply as possible, outdated and inadequate processes can throw a serious wrench in the works—hurting operational efficiency, causing shipment delays, and impacting profit margins. From obsolete software to manual processes to paper records, there is no shortage of areas in which modern supply chain technology could save companies time, money, and frustration.

If a shipper isn’t already using a fully integrated transportation management system (TMS) to optimize processes, automate labor-intensive tasks, and streamline data flows, implementing one is a necessary step to ensure the success of the supply chain—and the organization as a whole. With this strong foundation established, shippers can focus on building more advanced processes and analytics into their operations to further drive value and sharpen their strategic edge.

But first, supply chain managers need to get buy-in from the top.

Bridging the gap between the supply chain and the C-suite

Accenture found that 80% of supply chain executives are more likely to turn to the chief information officer (CIO) or chief technology officer (CTO) as key stakeholders—as opposed to the company’s chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or chief financial officer (CFO).

While a partnership with IT can be helpful, helping supply chain teams hit the ground running after implementing new tech, this should not be their first port of call. The CFO will play a vital role in decisions relating to the allocation of financial resources for new tech, training, or staff. And since the COO focuses on the design of the organization’s operating model, they may be the key to turning the supply chain into more than just a support function.

To build these partnerships, it’s crucial that supply chain managers help stakeholders see the value their supply chain holds—and the potential that they can unlock with the right tech.

A partnership for success

CTSI-Global’s industry-leading TMS and business intelligence solutions can help supply chain managers make a clear and compelling business case for supply chain resources.

By bringing together all of a supply chain’s disparate data into one centralized location, our cutting-edge solutions make it easy for supply chain managers to analyze their data for actionable insights that drive improvement and profits. And with a range of visualization tools, dashboards, and reports, staff can quickly condense this information into digestible formats to present to stakeholders and prove their impact.

Don’t miss an opportunity to make the supply chain a competitive asset. Contact CTSI-Global today to find out more.

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