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?



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