Chief Supply Chain Officers have an opportunity to take on a more strategic role inside their companies, but around two thirds of CSCOs view themselves as a support function.

According to research from Accenture, 71 per cent of supply chain leaders believe that by the end of 2020 the supply chain will be a key driver of better customer service for their organisations.

The research report, Drive Your Own Disruption: Is your supply chain in sleep mode?  reveals that the 900 supply chain executives surveyed were more likely to say that they see their function in two years as a cost efficiency driver (60 per cent) or a support function (68 per cent) than as a competitive differentiator (48 per cent) or a growth enabler (53 per cent) within their organisations, which can leave significant value on the table.

Source: Accenture Drive Your Own Disruption: Is your supply chain in sleep mode?

“Supply chain executives should take no comfort in being categorised as a support function,” said Mohammed Hajibashi, a managing director at Accenture and global Supply Chain lead in its Products industry practice.

The disconnect between supply chain and the rest of the c-suite results in missed opportunities, the research argues.

“In this digital era where customers demand speed to market and hyper-personalisation, these executives need to ensure that their supply chain function is not only a key differentiator but also ensures the sustained growth of their organisations. The fast and efficient adoption of the right new technologies that enable a new way of working, along with increased c-suite engagement with the supply chain function, are the keys to achieving growth via new digital business models that create new customer experiences, craved by the consumer.”

The Accenture research found that 80 per cent of the supply chain executives surveyed identify the chief information officer or chief technology officer – not the CEO, chief operating officer (COO) or chief financial officer (CFO) – as key stakeholders, even despite the major role the CFO has in making  technology investment decisions and the COO’s role in designing the operating model.

The research also found in many organisations, the supply chain isn’t seen as a driver of differentiation and aggressive growth. Meanwhile, the CSCOs blame the absence of a clear business strategy (cited by 43 per cent of CSCOs surveyed), together with an inadequately skilled workforce (48 per cent) and incompatible legacy systems (44 per cent), for their function’s inability to drive value for the organisation.

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