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Report: How supply chain leaders minimize risk, maximize opportunities

The current pandemic is not the only disruption companies must prepare for any eventuality whether it be natural or man-made. In a report by technology company SAP together with Oxford Economics, it came out that supply chain leaders possess a more visionary attitude that is useful during a business disruption.

“The world we live in, while often turbulent, has been turned on its head recently with the impact of COVID-19,” said Martin Barkman, SAP senior vice president and head of Digital Supply Chain, Solution Management. “This unprecedented situation has led to a severe disruption in supply chains, making it challenging for businesses to deliver products on time and meet customer needs. Now more than ever, we need supply chains that are resilient.”

COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis in modern times that put the supply chain at risk during orders of lockdowns.


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The survey examined the practices of “Supply Chain Leaders” wherein 12% of respondents showed to have more resilient supply chains and higher levels of innovation, customer and employee satisfaction, and growth numbers in comparison to other respondents. While all supply chains are vulnerable to risks in a global economy, the research suggests organizations embrace the traits of industry leaders to be best set up for success, especially during times of disruption. Supply Chain Leaders are identified as those who share the following four traits:

  • Base most of their product value chain decisions on customer needs
  • Factor in sustainability issues from product design through delivery
  • Capture and act on real-time information, often using artificial intelligence or predictive analytics
  • Deploy advanced technologies at scale across their organizations

“The findings show that supply chain executives need the visibility to make informed decisions with speed and accuracy by leveraging technology that helps their business to sense, predict and respond to these global dynamics,” said Oxford Economics Senior Research Analyst Ben Wright.

The survey was completed in the early days of COVID-19 before the supply chain disruption reached crisis levels, SAP believes the findings are applicable to today’s challenges.