The annual Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference is taking place in Phoenix on May 20-22. In the run up to the event, we asked Steven Steutermann, research vice president at Gartner and conference chair, to share his thoughts on what to expect at the conference, and his outlook on the supply chain market.
Q: What are some of the hot topics within the supply chain industry being addressed at this year’s conference?
A: Every year Gartner does extensive research to understand what supply chain executives are interested in and what they expect to experience at our upcoming supply chain conference series. , The supply chain organization is being asked to deliver against both top line growth objectives and bottom line savings for reinvestment back into the business. As a result of these increasing demands, the top five supply chain topics that will be addressed include: successful strategy development and transformation, supply chain performance management, supply chain collaboration best practices, supply chain planning to address demand volatility and customer demands and data analytics for use in the supply chain. We plan to deliver insights that the supply chain executive can use to address priorities across plan, source, make and deliver functions within the supply chain.
Q: The conference theme is “Leading the Decade: Creating and Sustaining Excellence in the Supply Chain”. What are the supply chain strategies from the past decade that will remain vital in delivering business value over the next 10 years?
A: This year marks our tenth year anniversary of Gartner’s annual supply chain top 25 ranking which is both an acknowledgment of supply chain excellence and a celebration of supply chain success. Our top 25 ranking also serves to elevate the role and importance of supply chains in business today. Those companies that have organized around delivering customer value, who have created agility and responsiveness in their supply chain and who operate a differentiated service model have had past success. Vital to delivering value over the next decade means having the ability to make conscious profitable trade-off decisions, improving supply chain talent, optimizing sourcing decisions, acting in real-time and leveraging data analytics to best serve customers.
Q: What affect does the digitized world have on the supply chain market?
A: We are already seeing the effects of digitalization on the supply chain today from robotics to analytics. While there is both challenge and opportunity, digitalization stands to impact the supply chain in a large way. This will affect talent development, supply chain processes and future technology selection. We see data analytics moving from being predictive in nature to more prescriptive. That is, analytics will not only predict outcomes, but predict outcomes under many “what-if” scenarios and provide insights that no one thought to ask. Data analytics capability will certainly distinguish tomorrow’s leaders and is an indicator of supply chain maturity.
Q: How can businesses successfully evaluate supply chain performance measurement and metrics?
A: What to measure to achieve desired outcomes is a challenging task for most supply chain organizations. Performance measurement must be aligned to business strategy, but it must also serve to align the organization cross-functionally and drive continuous improvement. Most companies measure too much or measure metrics unimportant to customers. We know metrics are right when they serve to create a culture of continuous improvement and when execution is connected to strategy. Ultimately it’s the customer who decides how successful companies are in their supply chain performance driven by metrics. It’s not about making every metric best in class, but balancing metrics to achieve desired outcomes.
For more information on the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, taking place May 20-22, 2014 in Phoenix, please visit http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/supply-chain/. Members of the media can register for this event by contacting [email protected]