Nov 13, 2020

Gartner: Adaptation Will Define the Future

Supply Chain
Supply Chain Management
Sam Scane
4 min
Gartner recently released a study, identifying three critical areas to combat future supply chain challenges...

With the weight of the global pandemic still felt across the globe, it’s clear that Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) are under a lot of pressure to not only continuously adapt but prepare for the uncertain future that lies ahead. 

During the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, which took place virtually across the Americas, Gartner analysts discussed the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for supply chain leaders, and certain aspects that require adaptability above all else, to see businesses thrive. 

According to Tom Enright, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice “Companies that achieve long-term efficient growth over their industry peers during turbulent times, do so because they are better at protecting large, transformative growth bets across the business cycle; they avoid reactive responses to macroeconomic conditions and take advantage of uncertainty to break away from industry competitors.”

Part one - Strategy

The saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but what happens when everything else breaks? Well, by then, it’s usually time for a change of strategy. Gartner found that 80% of companies were still using annual calendar-based strategic planning cycles, which runs the risk of that particular strategy being outdated in that very year, or sooner. This could leave companies with little-to-no resources to change their course or adopt new approaches for the changing winds, something like the gust of change that COVID ushered in. 

To combat this, companies will have to invest in an adaptive strategy that changes alongside the landscape of the supply chain world, dynamically allocating resources and monitoring trends as they come, allowing for growth in the right areas, elevating them above their competitors. “It’s crucial to regularly update the strategy to reflect changes. Adaptive strategic planning is an always-on activity to navigate and succeed through any turn, in any version of the future” noted Enright. 

Part two - Investments

No doubt a key part in future planning, the strategy itself requires insight and funding, the ability to allocate additional funds to initiatives as and when priorities start to shift. Gartner found that 72% of strategists said slow budget reallocation is the biggest barrier to more adaptive strategies, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that a major internal shift waiting for correct funding could see mismanagement between imperative internal processes. 

Lisa Callinan, vice president team manager with Gartner Supply Chain practice, shared insight on this strategy “A second option is to mimic the approach that venture capital firms use when assessing whether to fund early-stage start-ups. Success with a prototype or trial is the basis for developing more accurate estimates on how much further funding is needed. Teams feel less constricted and feel less pressure to present a solution that guarantees returns from the start.”

Part three - Leadership

The fallout of COVID put a lot of pressure on the leadership skills of CSCOs and how they manage their teams. From implementing new internal structures to consistent remote working environments, it’s been more present than ever that effective leadership skills are what will drive teams in the future. It’s no longer enough to lay down a strategy, let it roll and adapt where possible, hoping your team can do the same; anxiety, worry and other factors can affect core parts of organisations, even more so in modern times. 

Enright concluded with “This next phase will demand another set of skills from leaders. They will need to balance their leadership style and develop skills as a master communicator to empower change and adaptability within the supply chain organisation.”

It is clear to see that things are going to have to change internally for supply chains to keep up with a new take on modernity, one perhaps none of us truly expected. But with adaptive planning, investments and leadership, it’s far from impossible to thrive in the present and the future. However, like a lot of things, only time will tell, and smarter industry leaders will adapt and make the most of the quickly changing global stage, while others may be left behind, and their tactics with them. 

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Jun 22, 2021

ASCM: Supply chain pay gap closes in under 40s

2 min
Women under 40 in supply chain now earn more than men, according to ASCM’s 2021 salary and career report, though POC and older women still face imbalance

The pay gap between men and women working in supply chain under the age of 40 has finally reached parity, according to the Association for Supply Chain Management’s latest annual Supply Chain Salary and Career Report

The gender pay gap in this age group had been narrowing over the past two years, the ASCM’s previous surveys show, and in 2021 has closed entirely. Women report a median salary of $81,000 annually, while men earn a median annual salary of $79,000. Across all age brackets, men report a median salary of $82,000 and women $80,000.

Other highlights from the ASCM report

  • 95% of supply chain professionals kept their job through the pandemic
  • The typical starting salary for a supply chain professional is $60,000
  • 48% of supply chain professionals now work from home
  • 88% of survey respondents find supply chain a fulfilling career path


But there is still work to be done in closing the divide in those over the age of 40. Older men are still earning far more than their female peers, with a discrepancy of between $12,000 and $23,000 annually. ASCM’s report does not definitively conclude why this disparity remains, but says women who began their careers several decades ago may have started out on lower salaries. They may also have missed out on steady wage increases and career development after taking time away from work to have and raise families. 

It is also likely that the pay gap in over 40s is affected by a lack of women in executive leadership positions. A recent Gartner study found that, while women now represent 41% of the supply chain workforce - a five year high - only 15% of executive level positions are held by women. That figure is a decline of two per cent on 2020. 

ASCM 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report
Source: ASCM 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report

Supply chain’s racial pay gap remains

For the first time, ASCM’s annual survey also looked into the pay gap between ethnicities, finding that the median salary for black professionals was 12% less than their white peers, and Latinos earned on average 14% less. That represents a divide of between $9,000 and &10,000 in real terms. Asian professionals earned a median salary of $80,000, compared with the $83,000 for white professionals. 

Abe Eshkenazi, the ASCM chief executive, said reporting on and acknowledging lingering wage disparity was not enough: “Supply chain organisations must lead the way by creating environment where diverse talent is valued, included and developed. The need for supply chain professionals has never been greater, so now is the time to expand the aperture to include diversity of thought, influence and input — particularly for women and people of colour.”    

Read the full report: ASCM 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report

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