"Several trends identified in the study demonstrate that a number of major challenges lie ahead as the world becomes a more complex place in which to operate logistically," said Robert Handfield, professor of supply chain management at North Carolina State University.
Among key trends found:
Customer expectations. Rising customer expectations was ranked by survey respondents as the most important trend, and meeting customer requirements was ranked as the number one logistics objective by more than 20 percent of the respondents. In essence, the results indicate that logistics and supply chain management should primarily enable a company to satisfy its customers' needs. However, as customers become ever more demanding and critical, traditional measures often fail when pursuing strategies to satisfy customers.
Networked economy. In the past, companies typically considered themselves to be independent players in the market and, at best, managed interfaces to direct suppliers and customers. That is no longer enough in today's networked economies. Companies are often forced to collaborate with partners both vertically and horizontally in their extended supply chain network, and these partners expect them to integrate their processes and systems. That requires network thinking rather than company thinking.
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