Most Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) recognise the power of big data analytics, machine or deep learning, blockchain, 3D printing and robotics. Many are adopting and applying these technologies but at the most superficial levels – mainly support functions.
Why is this so? According to managing director at Accenture, Mo Hajibashi, it’s because many CSCOs are not collaborating strategically with the right people in the C-suite.
In an article with Supply Chain Management Review, Mr Hajibashi wrote that many CSCOs still reserved about using new IT to transform the supply chain into a growth engine. In the article, it was published that almost two-thirds (68%) continue to see of CSCOs seem themselve principally as a support function; 60% prioritise the pursuit of cost efficiencies over chasing growth opportunities (53%); and fewer than half (48%) believe that the supply chain will be a competitive differentiator by the end of 2020.
The key then, to success for the CSCO would be to engage with their fellow C-suite members across three areas: Leadership, Labor and Legacy Systems.
To build a new and productive working relationship with the business, Mr Hajibashi writes that CSCOs need to build conviction in the C-suite, particularly with the CFO and COO. They need to create an authentic and convincing case for new IT.
The CSCOs also need to build a workforce that embraces and adapts to the changing technology that we have. They need to create an environment where AI/Robotics and humans can work productively and effectively together. They can leverage their C-suite connections to secure support for a re-skilling strategy founded on continuous learning.
Lastly, CSCOs can choose to decouple legacy technology systems instead of spending on new, more compatible systems. This could require lesser resources and still be significantly more impactful.
According to the article, CSCOs should replicate the decoupled data and move it, in real time, to cloud-based data “lakes” that are accessible to customers. This will then create the flexibility to scale new product and service offerings exponentially, opening up new businesses and new markets, as well as accommodating diverse application workloads.