Best Of 2011: Top 10 Supply Chain Concerns

By Freddie Pierce
It's the holidays, and we've got a special gift for you this year. Each day this week, Supply Chain Digital will select one top daily story fro...

It's the holidays, and we've got a special gift for you this year. Each day this week, Supply Chain Digital will select one top daily story from 2011 to feature here in our Best Of: 2011 section. Enjoy!

Crimson & Co, the UK’s leading end-to-end supply chain management consultancy, revealed 2011’s biggest concerns within the supply chain, with Inventory Management and Planning topping the list of issues that are keeping supply chain leaders awake at night.

The new research conducted by Crimson through face-to-face interviews with 300 senior decision makers from over 200 companies identifies key supply chain issues that organizations view as most significant.

The top ten issues ranked in order of frequency of occurrence are:

  1. Inventory Management and Planning
  2. Demand Management and Forecasting
  3. Supply Chain Network Optimization
  4. Supply Chain Segmentation
  5. Training and Development
  6. Supply Chain Risk Management
  7. Sales and Operations Planning
  8. Performance Improvements in Warehouses and RDC’s
  9. Material Purchase Price Reductions
  10. Green Supply Chains


The interviews were dominated by pressures resulting from the continued economic downturn, along with a combined desire to squeeze every last drop of cost and cash out of the supply chain whilst supporting revenue growth, largely in emerging markets.

“For most, the issues included within this top ten will come as no surprise, especially when it comes to Supply Chain Segmentation, given the recent increased emphasis on this subject,” Dave Alberts, Director at Crimson & Co explains.

The majority of those interviewed reported only a moderate reduction in cash-to-cash cycle times, despite an escalated understanding of the importance of cash in these difficult times, and the many initiatives underway.

Interestingly, whilst green issues made the top ten, the majority expressed a view that this topic had slipped down the corporate priority list.

The interest in topics such as Inventory Management and Planning, Demand Management and Forecasting, and Sales and Operations Planning were in most cases linked to the need to have more agile responses to changes in customer demands, whilst still achieving higher inventory turns and, as a minimum, maintaining current service levels.

Dr Janet Godsell from the Supply Chain Research Centre at Cranfield School of Management believes that the Crimson research provides insight into the challenges facing the supply chain.

“It reinforces the positioning of the supply chain as a key competitive weapon in enabling companies to reduce costs and increase sales. It highlights the need for excellence in planning (to balance demand and supply) and to provide the visibility of different demand patterns to enable the implementation of segmented supply chain strategy.”

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Edited by Kevin Scarpati

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