Accenture: supply chain challenges post COVID-19

By Sean Galea-Pace
Following the latest Accenture research, it was found that just 10% of companies were building customer-centric supply chains prior to COVID-19...

The report, called “A License for Growth: Customer-centric supply chains ”, is a global survey of 900 senior executives from nine major industries across 10 geographies. The report found the major supply chain challenges that have only been magnified by the ongoing COVID-19 global crisis, which includes inflexibility to deliver undifferentiated customer offerings, poor ecosystem design lacking the right partners and a siloed technology architecture that stifles collaboration and co-innovation.

“The supply chain has always been the lifeline to humanity. The COVID-19 health crisis has brought to light the critical need for a resilient supply chain that produces and delivers all essential goods and services quickly, safely and securely,” said Kris Timmermans, a senior managing director and global supply chain and operations lead at Accenture. “Companies have moved quickly to prioritise transparency and enable faster decision-making. Now they must double down on building more customer-centric, purposeful supply chains that will lead to growth as economies rebound.”


On average, the companies in the report have invested US$153mn over the past two years to transform their supply chains. But, just 10% of those surveyed are effectively using their investments to transform their supply chains and meet increasing and evolving customer experience demands. The Accenture analysis uncovered that the leading companies surveyed followed four key practices to cement their position as leaders:

Begin with the customer in mind

Base supply chain strategy on what the customer values, which is a more complex endeavour than ever before because customer experiences are now purpose-led and personalized. 71% of the leading companies create supply chain strategies to deliver experiences linked to key customer value propositions, such as sustainability, data privacy/security and customized delivery and service.

Turn insight into innovation

Invest in building analytical, asset-light collaboration architectures, which could significantly increase the supply chain’s impact on revenue and shared success within and outside their ecosystems. In fact, more than half of the average revenue growth that the leading companies experienced came from collaboration tools and data-driven insight technologies.

Develop targeted abilities

All of these leading companies, whether B2B or B2C, have built capabilities to segment customers and products in real-time. They’ve partnered with procurement to design products and services and identify potential suppliers to achieve target margins. They also invest in advanced cybersecurity capabilities to address the growing security threats from data breaches and data theft.

Engage the CEO beyond conversation

Support from the top is key to true supply chain transformation. The CEOs of these leading companies are more likely to drive supply chain discussions with their boards and translate those discussions into results. 53% of these CEOs allocate funding to drive supply chain innovation, and 49% allocate top talent to accelerate supply chain transformation

“As we continue to navigate the uncertainty of fast-changing shifts in customer behaviors, a customer-centric supply chain is essential to the well-being of companies and society as a whole,” added Mark George, a managing director and North America lead for supply chain and operations at Accenture Strategy. “The good news is that the approaches that leaders are taking is an imitable formula that all companies can follow to transform their supply chains and sustain the operations that serve their customers and communities, as well as Main Street and Wall Street, with purpose and growth.”

Interested in reading the full report? Click here! 


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