Supply chains and sustainable competitive advantage

Analytiqa’s latest research “European Supply Chain Director Survey 2009” reveals that perceptions of the supply chain function have evolved and continue to evolve amongst Europe’s leading retailers and manufacturers.
Characterised by their supply chains, modern businesses face higher levels of scrutiny as they are pressurised to meet sophisticated customer requirements on an ongoing and increasingly demanding cost-efficient basis.
The report, sourced directly from the opinions of supply chain directors, evaluates the influence and contribution of the supply chain function at a strategic decision-making level and the relationships supply chain directors have with their logistics contractors in today’s challenging business environment.
Analytiqa’s research provides comprehensive guidance and key action points for retailers, manufacturers and contract logistics providers seeking to maximise the strategic potential of their supply chain and outsourcing relationships.
A rise in supply chain credibility…
Comparing the June 2009 survey findings with Analytiqa’s Supply Chain Director Survey conducted in October 2003, there has been a tremendous increase in appreciation of the contribution a company’s supply chain brings to achieving sustainable competitive advantage.
Supply chain issues are getting more ‘air time’ in the Board Room. While in 2003, 48% of supply chain directors specified that logistics strategies were assigned top level discussions, in the latest research 85% of supply chain directors acknowledge that, to varying extents, strategies relating to the supply chain function are discussed and decided upon at the top of their organisational hierarchy.
However, this does not mean that supply chain directors necessarily hold board-level positions. There is still a significant share of companies who have yet to incorporate the supply chain function into their regular board level decision-making process. Despite the strategic, decision-making and budget-holding responsibilities of a supply chain executive, over 40% of European retailers and manufacturers fail to include such a knowledgeable and experienced supply chain professional as a board member.
Indeed, 10.0% of companies that have stopped having a supply chain director (or equivalent) as a board member, despite the fact that the majority of retailers and manufacturers with a presence in Europe have increased the head count within their supply chain division.
There is always room to enhance and strengthen a company’s supply chain. In an ever changing, competitive and cost-driven market, retailers and manufacturers must strive to establish, deliver, and communicate business value throughout their supply chain, thus driving supply chain directors and their managerial and operational subordinates to follow in the same strategic direction.

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