Jim Tompkins CEO of Tompkins International

Competing Against Today's Biggest Supply Chain Challenges

April 30, 2013
How do you keep up with, much less compete, with the challenges facing today's supply chain?

I have often said that the job of being a supply chain leader is one of the most difficult jobs in a business.  So, I tip my hat to you.

I know, sometimes you can feel like you spend most of your day putting out “fires” and solving systematic issues. So, the Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium decided to explore this topic and question industry leaders about their greatest short-term and long-term challenges today.

The resulting hot topic report, Biggest Challenges for Today’s Supply Chains, reveals some interesting answers.

Industry executives—from manufacturers, retailers, and wholesale/distributors (just to name a few)—reported one of their greatest challenges is the rising cost of just about everything in the supply chain. From fuel and labor, to products and transportation, they are seeing costs go up. While this may not be a huge surprise, keep in mind there is also an added pressure to not only contain costs, but extract significant (sometimes double-digit) cost reductions from the supply chain.

In addition to costs, supply chain leaders will continue to be challenged to select and implement the right software/technology solutions. Better solutions will be available than most companies can keep up with. Businesses that stay ahead of the solution development curve and invest wisely in supply chain technology will increase the performance gap between themselves and those who don’t invest.

Also, on the top list of concerns and at the heart of many companies’ supply chain challenges are talent/people/labor. This will continue to be a major issue for the coming years. The needs exceed the capabilities, and the shortage of qualified employees will continue to accelerate.

So how do we fix this? Of course, there are no easy answers. You can begin by making sure your business has a game plan to identify and address the top supply chain challenges of your organization.

Read the full report to learn more about the challenges your specific industry is facing. Do you see these challenges in your supply chain? What steps is your business taking to overcome them?



About the Author

Jim Tompkins | CEO

Dr. James A. Tompkins is an international authority on leadership, logistics, material handling, outsourcing, and supply chain best practices. As the founder and CEO of Tompkins International, he provides leadership for Tompkins globally.

His 30-plus years as CEO of a consulting / integration firm and his focus on helping companies achieve profitable growth give him an insider’s view into what makes great companies even better. Listen to an interview of Jim Tompkins on the Business Leader Radio show.

As a high-level business advisor, his unique perspective prepares corporations and executives for the future.

To share his knowledge and provide up-to-date information on supply chain and business trends, he developed the GoGoGo! Blogand Global Supply Chain Podcast.

He has written or contributed to more than 30 books and eBooks, including Caught Between the Tiger and the Dragon, Bold Leadership, Logistics and Manufacturing Outsourcing, The Supply Chain Handbook, andNo Boundaries. Jim has been quoted in hundreds of business and industry magazines such as The Journal of Commerce, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, and FORTUNE, and he has spoken at more than 4,000 international engagements.

Jim has served as President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Materials Management Society, and the College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education, and Purdue has named him a Distinguished Engineering Alum. He has also received more than 50 awards for his service to his profession.

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