Study finds supply chain leaders lagging in use of analytics

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by Emily Atkins

Supply chain leaders cite the need to reduce costs, improve the customer experience and expedite delivery times as their top-three challenges, yet fewer than half are using their supply chain data to inform their strategy and 14 percent aren’t using supply chain data at all to make decisions. 

That’s according to survey findings released today in a new report, “Data-Driven Decisions: Why Many Supply Chains Are Falling Behind,” by FourKites.

FourKites partnered with international research data and analytics group YouGov to poll 500 supply chain leaders across every industry in the US and UK to understand how they’re digitizing their supply chains and mitigating risk.

While most respondents (72 percent) recognize the importance of connecting disparate supply chain data, and nearly half (42 percent) plan to invest in technology over the next six to 12 months, the majority of supply chain leaders are struggling to extract the information they need to make the data-driven decisions that will help them meet their strategic objectives. Specifically, 48 percent of respondents say their supply chain digitization is sub-par, and 43 percent say they have no single source of truth for their data. 

“Two-thirds of responding companies are using supply chain data only for simple, day-to-day tasks — many have yet to realize the opportunity to look at their supply chain end-to-end to make informed, strategic decisions,” said FourKites chief strategy officer Fabrizio Brasca.

“At the root of this issue is the ongoing struggle to fully digitize the supply chain and have a single source of data. For instance, with a real-time view of inventory levels across facilities, supply chain leaders can proactively mitigate the risk of stockouts and prevent orders from being cut, leading to a better end-customer experience.” 

Key findings from FourKites’ report include:

  • Only 45 percent of respondents are using supply chain data to make strategic decisions, while 14% say that supply chain data isn’t being used at all to make any type of decision.
  • 48 percent rate themselves as “not great” or “struggling” at digitizing their supply chain.
  • 43 percent struggle to integrate internal systems and have a single source of truth.
  • 42 percent are investing in technology in the next six to 12 months to reduce risk in their supply chains. Investments are even more pronounced among enterprise companies, where 70 percent plan to increase tech investment.
  • Nearly 52 percent of companies are diversifying their supplier/provider base in their efforts to minimize risk in their supply chains.