Oliver Wyman: Blockchain & Digital Supply Chains
The supply chain of today is complex and consists of many players worldwide.
An increasing number of supply chains face challenges that have substantial implications in terms of cost, speed and product quality. The most pressing supply chain hurdles, despite years of efforts and significant investments, are a lack of transparency due to inconsistent or even unavailable data, high proportion of manual (paper) work, lack of interoperability and limited information on the product’s lifecycle or transport history. In many cases, blockchain applications can counter these inefficiencies and create a new value.
Blockchain was initially introduced commercially in the financial services industry to make trade/claims settlements and international payments more secure and efficient. The technology is more recently becoming more prominent in other industries, such as retail and consumer goods, as blockchain applications are trialled. By leveraging blockchain’s decentralised cloud database, this records data in non-changeable blocks that can be shared with global players such as Walmart or Carrefour and increase transparency and drive value through every step of the supply chain.
Blockchain is more than a pure electronic data interchange (EDI) - it is the backbone of digital supply chains, providing distinct advantages over today’s conventional supply chain infrastructure and analytics capabilities. Blockchain is scalable - any number of players might be seamlessly integrated into the blockchain without losing data consistency. Blockchain is independent of adjacent and legacy systems, making implementation quick. After data is recorded in a block, it is non-changeable and the distributed-storage features makes cyberattacks very difficult. Every player along the chain holds a complete copy of the data, however, by defining specific access rights, players can ensure that confidential corporate information is kept private.
Oliver Wyman believes that a three-step approach to gradually integrating blockchain into supply chains is most likely to be successful. To begin, a company-internal blockchain should be set up to give the company time to get used to the technology, while ensuring data availability and consistency. Next, extend the blockchain to adjacent players, such as third-party logistics and direct suppliers, fostering data exchange. Finally, integrate all players along the supply chain, including the end customers, to the blockchain. At its full potential, blockchain improves the customer experience, drives value end-to-end and decreases inefficiencies and lower costs.
For more information into Oliver Wyman's report, click here!
Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high
Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey.
The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.
- Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
- Women now account for 42% of the workforce
- Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
- Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
- 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women
It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership
But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership.
The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities.
Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers.
Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.”