Technology, data and collaborative culture the key difference makers among resilient supply chains finds research

Higher performing organisations had more collaborative cultures, better data management, more focus on digital transformation and deeper visibility into their supply chains

A survey of European supply chains has found that organisations that are more resilient to supply chain shocks have more robust approaches to visibility, data and collaboration and are more to have deployed key technologies.  

The Reuters Events, Supply Chain survey, produced in partnership with Maersk and free-to-download here, separated out companies that reported they had swiftly tackled supply chain disruptions in 2023 and did not suffer financially from them. The research then compared them with firms that said they failed to rapidly tackle disruptions and experienced higher costs than expected from issues.

Collaborating across supply chains

Resilient firms were noticeably more likely to have partial or full visibility over goods being shipped or stored by partners (88% versus 71%), in maritime transit (84% versus 70%) and in ports and customs (84% versus 52%).

They could then share that information more effectively within their organisation and with their partners. While 45% of the lower performing group said they are efficient at sharing data internally, 95% of better performing firms said the same. This pattern was repeated for external data, with 80% of resilient companies reporting they are efficient when sharing with third parties, compared to 59% in the other segment.

Resilient firms were also 25% less likely to report that they struggle with a lack of collaborative culture.

“Engaging our people on the journey is key,” says Roman Manthey, Global Supply Chain VP, System Value Creation, The Coca-Cola Company an subject matter expert quoted in the report. “We focus on building a culture of learning, agility and ownership. We help our teams to utilise the systems correctly, and to pivot effectively when new data is available, and to challenge better ways of working. This helps us to continuously iterate and improve processes.”

A strong foundation in data management

Alongside organisational culture, a more coordinated approach to data management and technology underpins these capabilities.

Higher performers were:

  • 23% less likely to find siloed data an issue.
  • 22% less likely to face poor connectivity hindering visibility.
  • 15% less likely to encounter a technological gap between themselves and partners.
  • 13% more likely to say digital transformation is their top priority.

Resilient companies frequently had higher deployments of key systems, which were key for supporting this performance improvement.

Seventy-five percent have or are building a single source of truth, compared to 41% of less resilient firms. Breaking this down further, 40% of higher-performing organisations already have a single source of truth, but that fell to just 18% for the remainder.

“Looking at the myriad of integrated systems that exist today, and their evolution, it’s clear that one of the priority areas is master data management,” comments Manthey.

Beyond a single source of truth, further areas where high performers had noticeably higher levels of deployment are in sales and operations planning platforms (+14%), global trade management software (+18%) and control towers (+10%).

“Investing in visibility, reliability and predictability will allow higher supply chain certainty and reductions in safety stocks and overall inventory levels,” believes Mikkel Rasmussen, Senior Vice President – Global Head of Sales, Maersk.

Download the complete report, and all of its findings, for free here.

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