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June 01, 2018
Why Are Supply Chain Leaders Leaving So Much Value on the Table?
By: Raghav Narsalay

You may not realize it, but your supply chains hold the key to your competitive advantage in the digital age. But you must empower it first.

Think about the power that supply chains already have: Without them, no company can give customers what they want, when and where they want it, at the price they want. Now imagine if those same supply chains were empowered by New IT. They would become dynamos of differentiating top-line growth.

According to research we’ve done at Accenture, supply chain leaders clearly see the same potential we do. Almost all the 900 executives we surveyed across 12 industries are applying New IT tools, technologies and platforms in different parts of their supply chains. Yet although 71 percent of them believe that by the end of 2020 the supply chain will be a key driver of better customer service for their organizations, almost as many (68 percent) continue to see themselves largely as a support function. Only 53 percent view the supply chain as a growth enabler; significantly fewer than those see their supply chains as becoming drivers of competitive business differentiation.


71% of supply chain leaders believe that by the end of 2020 the supply chain will be best positioned to drive customer service for their organizations.

So why are supply chain leaders leaving so much value on the table? What’s really stopping them from leveraging digital technologies to unlock trapped value in their supply chains and digitally reinventing their businesses?

Digging deeper into the data, we discovered that the problem was a strategic one. The large majority (80 percent) of the leaders we surveyed said they approach the chief information officer or chief technology officer—and not the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or chief operating officer—when considering digital investments. That is a serious strategic oversight, especially given the critical role that the CFO plays in tech investment decision making, and the expanding role of the COO as an architect of the flexible operating model and extended, end-to-end processes.

This strategic disconnect between chief supply chain officers and important decision makers is presenting major challenges to creating value with New IT. So is an inadequately skilled workforce, and an incompatibility between New IT and legacy systems as well as the absence of a clear business strategy.

So how can CSCOs build better connections with the C-Suite and leverage New IT as growth enabler? To find out more, read our report, “Is Your Supply Chain in Sleep Mode?”

It would be great to connect with you and hear your views on the paths we suggest for the journey forward.

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