Bain and Microsoft: Retail's Supply Chain Modification
A new research study into how COVID-19 has transformed consumer goods supply chains reveals that companies worldwide are willing to change tactics to meet demands. The research “It’s Time to Build Resilience into Retail and Consumer Goods Supply Chains” released by examines over 70 companies and how they’re adapting internal strategies.
“When COVID-19 paralysed global supply chains, it also triggered a massive surge in online sales—a double shock that few retailers and consumer goods companies were prepared to handle,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain & Company’s Retail practice and co-author of the report. “Our research revealed that companies with supply networks designed for maximum cost efficiency were unable to respond quickly to these sudden supply shocks and demand spikes. The prize of efficiency came at the cost of resilience.”
Prior to 2020 many senior executives who once viewed their supply chain as a cost centre now see it as a strategic capability, with 90 per cent planning changes to their supply chain networks, and more than 40 per cent expecting to increase their investments with the intention of increasing resilience, agility and output.
Of the 70 companies surveyed 47 per cent expect to receive input from supply chain organisations on most or all strategic decisions pertaining to merchandising, store operations and product strategy, a reported 17 per cent increase over the 12 months prior to March 2020. This prioritisation of supply chain input only goes to highlight the importance of companies coming together to combat the rising demand in the e-commerce industry.
“We are seeing a significant shift in supply chain strategies as our customers adapt to meet the demands caused by COVID-19. While cost reduction and efficiency remain a critical priority, we are seeing supply chain agility rise to the top of the list for executives. This need for agility has prompted an overwhelming consideration for cloud-based architecture,” said Shelley Bransten, CVP Consumer Goods & Retail Industries at Microsoft.
The research also shows that companies are actively looking to prepare for another supply and demand shock - 60 per cent of retailers and consumer goods companies are planning to increase their investments in facilities that can respond to online orders.
While 40 per cent of respondents admitted they did not yet have internal solutions or external partners needed for their goals, tech giants like , and teaming together to create independent, safe and efficient workforces may be the future these companies need to compete in the modern COVID-19 world.
EY and Harvard Law discuss barriers in Contract Management
Contract management is a crucial discussion for procurement professionals as negotiations require a more specific outcome. However, some organisations are experiencing significant barriers to developing their contracting processes. Ernst & Young and Harvard Law School Center have discussed survey results in relation to the current state of contracting and explain where the issues arise.
The Legal Profession survey (part of the 2021 EY Law Survey) highlights the perspectives of 1,000 professionals from across the globe in law, procurement, business development and commercial contracting.
Out of all the major companies surveyed, over half of them say they are experiencing significantly reduced revenue and are missing out on important opportunities due to poorly managed contracting processes.
Some of the key findings from the survey:
- 92% of organisations in the survey said they plan to transform their contract handling procedures.
- 98% of respondents said they face critical barriers in the process of developing contract management.
- 38% of organisations said they have tried and failed already to implement a better contract management procedure.
- 57% said they had experienced less positive revenue due to inefficient contracting systems.
- 50% of respondents said they had missed profitable business opportunities.
Kate Barton, Global Vice Chair, EY, has expressed her opinion on the survey, “Revenue growth is a fundamental goal for any commercial organisation and effective contracting processes play a crucial role in making that possible. Contracting teams around the world know the value they can bring, and they are making real efforts to transform, but the survey brings into sharp focus a whole range of obstacles that they must navigate if they are to make the improvements they are aiming for.”
What will organisations need to address to develop their contracting methods?
Many organisations are under pressure to reduce costs, specifically contracting professionals. This is something that nearly all of the survey respondents will be looking to do in the next two years, while a third of larger organisations aim to scale this to a 30% reduction in contracting costs.
There is a certain lack of clarity among organisations as to who is responsible for contract management. It is unclear to most how the contracting process should be managed; perhaps this could be because it involves an agreement between various stakeholders. Around 59% of legal departments believe they have the leading role, while a similar number of contracting staff also share this view. 39% of business developments professionals believe they are to hold the decision-making power.
Utilisation of Technology
There seems to be a lack of capability among organisations to analyse and manage contracts. According to the survey, around 70% of organisations have a technology strategy in place to manage contracts; the majority still lack the necessary data to utilise it to full capacity. This is likely caused by insufficient knowledge for implementation that is likely a direct result of a skills shortage, which 34% of organisations have reported as an issue that limits them.
Insufficient Contracting Processes
A lack of a defined contract drafting process will significantly limit how effective the contract will be. Global Legal Managed Services Leader at Ernst & Young, John Knox, explains, “the importance of getting contracting right cannot be underestimated.”
Around 49% of survey respondents say they don’t follow a defined procedure, and 78% say they do not have a system for monitoring contractual obligations.
Knox says, “with the right transformation efforts focused around people, process and technology, contracting can actually become a business enabler and differentiator. The survey shows that one way in which organisations aim to tackle these challenges is through working with subject matter leaders and external providers.”
Meanwhile, David B. Wilkins, Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession, and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School, says, “Contracts are at the core of every business. They determine how growth happens and how risks are managed. It is therefore absolutely crucial that organisations have effective systems and processes to manage every aspect of the contracting process, from negotiation and execution to termination or renewal, as well as an accurate understanding of the obligations, benefits, and risks across the entire spectrum of their contracts.
For more procurement insights, check out Procurement magazine.