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I recently came across an interesting infographic from SAPinsider and insiderPROFILES that showcased a survey around the State of Supply Chain 2014. You can find the infographic at the bottom of this post. The survey, conducted in late 2013, asked supply chain management (SCM) professionals about their priorities for the coming year.

From the findings, it was interesting to see that supply chain 2014 is going to be of greater focus for executives in 2014, with 71% of the respondents agreeing that it would be a higher priority in 2014 than in the recent past. This was supported by the fact that 47% are planning to increase spending on supply chain related IT and 48% saying that they will continue to spend at the current rate.

When asked about their top organizational challenges, it was interesting to see that 53% of supply chain executives put optimizing their supply chain processes on top. Not surprisingly, 13% said finding the right supply chain technology was key. This goes to show that it is critical to have the correct processes in place before having the technology to implement the processes. That is why, in today’s world, a third party logistics provider needs to be more than a technology house to give you a transportation management system, but also provide custom solutions and services (people) to expertly guide you through creating process that truly continually improves your ability to have better supply chain management.

When asked to identify which technology will have the greatest impact on supply chain in the long term, it was good to see 3 of SAP’s major focuses at the top of the charts with mobile (50%), in-memory computing (27%), and cloud (23%) leading the way.

The State of Supply Chain 2014 Infographic Mirrors Other Major Studies and Reports

What I find interesting, is that this study mirrors a few others I have read. Namely IDC Insights Manufacturing trends for 2014, which essentially said that manufacturing executives are focused on operations (process) improvement and investment in technology.

Even further still, this State of Supply Chain 2014 is in line with Capgemini Consulting’s 2013  Third Party Logistics study, where 55 percent of companies surveyed recognize that supply chain management can be a source of competitive advantage. Further, collaboration with supply chain partners results in a supply chain that allows companies to outperform the competition.

It seems as if the next few years continues to be a focus on how to get the most out of your business operations, supply chain, and logistics through improved process/operations and the use of technology. This really gets me excited, as it means we no longer look at COSTS as the driver of business, although cost containment and good purchasing are key. The focus now is on how to run your business and supply chain better, even if that means investing in outside providers or new technology to make you more effective. CEOs are no longer scared to “not do it all” but to focus on their own core business and let expert providers of services and technology help improve bottom lines.

State of Supply Chain 2014 Infographic

Looking at this infographic, what are strikes you? Additionally, as a manufacturing executive or business owner, how does this apply to your business? Are you looking at improved operations and improved technology investments? Let us know in the comments below!

supply chain 2014