The Innovator's Solution


Supply Chain Innovation: What Drives Your CEO in the Corner Office

Posted by Jeff Bodenstab on Sep 2, 2014 3:05:00 PM

CEO_in_OfficeThere is a shift happening in executive priorities. One that reflects what this new blog is all about.

CEOs are focusing now on growth. It’s not just about driving the last dollar out of the supply chain anymore. It’s about out how to take the company to the next level. And this change has a direct impact on supply chain executives, because CEOs are expecting them to help power that growth, to be an integral part of the growth engine.

Before we talk about how to accomplish that, let’s check out the findings from a recent Gartner Survey called, appropriately: The 2014 Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey: What the Executive Focus on Growth and Digital Business Means for Supply Chain Organizations (by Dana Stiffler, May 14, 2014).

Their first headline: In supply chain-intensive industries, CEOs currently prioritize global growth over cost savings by 5 to 1. So it’s not just a preference, but an overwhelming majority of CEOs focused on growth. It ranked number one among the top 10 list of strategic business priorities, with the next highest priorities — cost management and IT-related issues — trailing far behind.

Gartner recommends that Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) take on the dual roles of growth partner and operational caretaker. They say, “Supply chain leaders must ensure that their initiatives are seen by executives as engines for growth,” while still “serving as the primary guardians of profitability, efficiency and quality.” Much like CEOs themselves, supply chain executives must still manage the day-to-day operations, but also look for ways to grow the business.

Gartner sees CSCOs making this happen by adopting advanced technology, using “IT as a strategic differentiator”.   Or as I heard one consumer goods company supply chain executive say recently about his supply chain systems, “I want muscle at the core, innovation at the edges.”

And that’s what this blog is all about: supply chain innovation. Innovation that is a driver for getting back to growth. Innovation that “moves the needle” and accelerates business performance.

Luckily there is a lot to talk about on this topic. The current landscape and near-term pipeline are populated with many new supply chain planning innovations and new technologies.

We’ll explore a wide range of them in future postings. We’ll cover strategic, planning and execution functions. We’ll cover a broad range of topics such as demand sensing, machine learning, demand modeling, promotion forecasting and even areas of potential disruptive innovation, such as “big data” and the cloud. And we’ll see how each contributes towards impacting long-term sustainable benefits and supporting your CEO’s agenda.

Next week … We’ll take a look at Lora Cecere’s “Voice of the Customer” survey and what supply chain executives are saying about where they are finding the opportunities for growth and innovation.

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