Supply chain is topping news headlines – and CEO agendas – to an unprecedented degree. The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020 was more significant than ever with thousands of supply chain leaders seeking knowledge on how to navigate volatile times and capitalize on opportunities. We are living through an impactful period of disruption that is challenging conventional supply chain thinking, and there is a deep need for supply chain professionals to understand trends and identify strategies that will drive companies to organizational growth and success.
Some highlights of the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020:
Digitalizing the Ecosystem Requires Supply Chain Support
At the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020, the analysts reported that 80% of CEOS are telling them it’s a priority to make their businesses more digital. This is nearly a 20% increase from the survey conducted last year, reinforcing that digital transformation deserves the attention of every supply chain professional. Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, digital twins, and machine learning topped the list as the most important digital investments. Even more importantly, progressing from the digital world to the smart supply chain was the number one force reshaping future supply chains. Organizations need a digital roadmap paired with supply chain support to enable success.
Adapting Supply Chains to Disruptions
New competition, trade disruptions… and of course, pandemics… are key risks that supply chain professionals must be prepared to encounter. Supply chain leaders need to lean into the opportunities that disruptions present, and adapt. In order for organizations to manage through unpredictable times, they must be adaptive at their core – able to be agile as they address strategy, investments, and leadership. For strategy, organizations need to continuously plan for uncertainty. For investments, organizations need to create infrastructure to assess and adjust investments outside of the annual budgeting schedule. For leadership, the focus must be on building engagement and purpose in teams that empower them to embrace change. The supply chains that will win in the future will have the ability to adapt engrained within the organization.
Embracing a Circular Economy End to End
In the supply chain of the future, waste is not an option. Nearly two thirds of organizations plan to invest in a circular economy by 2021. To remain aligned with customer demands, organizations need to embrace a circular economy operating model, adopting a waste free standard throughout the entire supply chain. As discussed at Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020, a key component of this is integrating reverse logistics into supply chain design. Organizations need to define a business model with a circular mindset, and ensure operational metrics align with that circularity to measure progress. Reducing environmental impact is an imperative that will undoubtedly persist in the future.
Final Thoughts on Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020
Predicting the future of supply chain is not an easy endeavor or an exact science, but bringing together great supply chain minds at an event like the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2020 helps to highlight some of the key trends that leaders should be aware of. At Clarkston Consulting, we remain committed to helping organizations navigate through uncertainty, using our decades of supply chain experience to manage the challenges of today while preparing for the world of tomorrow.
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Coauthor and contributions by Mikayla Doane.