Half of supply chains still highly reliant on manual data analysis

Forty-nine percent of supply chain executives still combing data manually when making decisions, and only 23% have automated reporting on spending

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A new survey of 1,000 procurement and supply chain executives from SAP SE in collaboration with Oxford Economics, has found that much of the analytical work still fall on human shoulders.

The research found that 38% of the executives surveyed stated that most or all of their procurement processes are still manual only 23% have automated their reporting on spending and half rely on manual analysis when decision making.

Just 54% state that their procurement technologies enable them to make decisions that are data-driven.

 According to the report, companies that have embraced data and analytics, tapped into the power of AI and embraced new technologies are realizing better results.

The report highlighted the need for improvement in supplier risk management, with only 49% of executives said they regularly refresh risk mitigation plans to address potential disruptions, and a mere 32% said their supplier risk management is highly effective. The report concluded that this is due to the underutilisation of advanced analytics, and that bolder steps need to be taken to increase visibility into supplier performance.

Just 35% of executives said they use technology to help manage their contingent workforce, and 70% said they use technology for services procurement. Given the external workforce is a large, strategic spend category fuelling business agility, the report concluded businesses must begin a broader adoption of vendor management systems.

The research has been distilled into five separate reports, each examining key areas of spend management. One of the reports focussed on the leaders of those surveyed, considering those who had a high degree of process automation, used data and technology to inform decisions and had fewer challenges in managing procurement than other respondents. These were found to achieve better results in comparison to other respondents in operational efficiency and therefore cost reduction.

Superior business results were also seen from direct spend leaders embracing automation and treating suppliers as partners. Ninety-two percent of leaders said they use a network to collaborate with suppliers, compared with 69% of other respondents. Additionally, 76% of leaders said they provide critical suppliers visibility into future demand for their goods, compared with 44% of other respondents.

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