Supply chain leaders at companies around the world share similar challenges: They want to improve supply chain visibility, manage risks, know and serve customers better, contain costs and succeed at globalization, according to a new IBM study involving nearly 400 executives. But the report also reveals that few companies have adopted solutions that can provide them with a complete and real-time view of their supply chain operations-a finding that surprised the IBM executives who worked on it.
"The fact that, over and over again, we heard about the lack of visibility [was surprising], because a lot of people say, 'Oh my gosh, that issue is 150 years old,'" says Karen Butner, global lead of the IBM Institute for Business Value, who worked on IBM's inaugural chief supply chain officer study, entitled "The Smarter Supply Chain of the Future." The 72-page report offers a glimpse into the minds and agendas of 393 supply chain executives at companies located in 25 countries and serving 29 separate industries, including retail, industrial products, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, electronics and government. The results, Butner says, are based on in-depth interviews conducted with these executives that typically lasted 90 minutes.
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