In today’s era of ever-growing focus on the customer, only a small number of forward-thinking companies are realizing the unique opportunity their supply chains offer to better meet customer needs, fuel competitiveness and uncover growth, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Based on a survey of 1,350 business executives, the report “From Inventory to Influencer: The Mover Becomes the Shaker” reveals that more than three-quarters (78%) of executives and their companies — named the “Laggards”— are missing opportunities to leverage the power of the supply chain as a driver of revenue growth. The remaining 22% of companies, referred to as “Leaders,” are making smart moves in three areas — digital investments, customer-centricity and ecosystems. This is enabling them to shift their supply chain strategy from driving cost efficiencies to powering growth opportunities and achieving competitive agility. According to the report, the Laggards need to quickly transform the supply chain and operations function into a collaborative engine of growth and innovation or else they risk their future success.
“We’ve discovered that a small set of companies have supply chain and operations executives who are using digital with a purpose and collaborating across the C-suite, and other business functions, to create and implement customer-centric strategies that enable growth,” said Don Schulman, senior managing director in Accenture’s Supply Chain and Operations group. “As a result, the supply chain and operations executives at these companies are taking a more influential role at the board table and adding a new unique perspective.”
Building the digital enterprise
While most supply chain and operations executives recognize the benefits of digital technologies, Accenture’s study shows that the Leaders actively infuse digital intelligence throughout their supply chains and operating models. Leaders scale digitally-enabled solutions in the supply chain at a rate almost equal to that of their product design and customer engagement functions, and even surpass the digital investments made in their sales functions. And their efforts are paying off, with nearly two-thirds of Leaders (46%) meeting or exceeding the return on invested capital in digital over the past three years, compared to just 36% of Laggards.
Collaborating across the C-suite on customer centricity
The report notes that Leaders have a unique approach to customer centricity — i.e., putting customers at the center of everything. They recognize that each C-Suite member can benefit from the insights that are generated across the supply chain and operations and enable the entire company to become more customer-centric. That puts chief operating officers (COOs) and chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) in a unique position to help accelerate collaboration that leads to customer-fueled growth.
Maximizing ecosystem opportunities
The majority of both Leaders (78%) and Laggards (64%) embrace the idea of becoming ecosystem orchestrators. However, Leaders look beyond traditional partners like suppliers and recognize that technology partners, universities, innovation incubators, start-ups and even competitors can help drive relevant new offerings to customers as quickly as possible. This is a game-changing realization not just for COOs and CSCOs, but also for their C-Suite counterparts, according to the report, offering an opportunity to transform what was previously known as a support function into a growth engine.
“The intense focus on digital, customer centricity and ecosystems has enabled the Leaders in our study to shift their supply chain strategy from chasing incremental cost savings to creating new value, as part of a zero-based mindset, that fuels sustained growth,” said Kris Timmermans, senior managing director and Supply Chain, Operations & Sustainability Strategy lead at Accenture Strategy. “Their investments and emphasis on these areas help them better understand high-value customers and meet their needs to accelerate competitiveness.”
To learn more about “From Inventory to Influencer: The Mover Becomes the Shaker” please visit: www.Accenture.com/gamechainger.
About the Research
Accenture conducted a global survey of 1,350 executives across a range of discrete and process producers in 12 countries and across 17 industries. To gain a firsthand view of the actions being adopted by Supply Chain and Operations executives, Accenture also conducted qualitative interviews with 20 Supply Chain and Operations executives. All companies surveyed had a turnover exceeding $1B. This research was conducted during November 2018 to January 2019.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions — underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network — Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 482,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
Accenture Strategy combines deep industry expertise, advanced analytics capabilities and human-led design methodologies that enable clients to act with speed and confidence. By identifying clear, actionable paths to accelerate competitive agility, Accenture Strategy helps leaders in the C-suite envision and execute strategies that drive growth in the face of digital transformation. For more information, follow @AccentureStrat or visit www.accenture.com/strategy.