Companies Not Meeting Visibility, Environmental Responsibilities in Global Supply Chains

July 22, 2009
78% of companies rate the level of synergy and accountability in their global trading network as suboptimal

While 90% of supply chain and operations professionals say their management subscribes to enhanced trading partner visibility, flexibility and sustainability across the entire supply and demand chain, nearly two-thirds have marginal or no visibility across all tiers and levels of their value chain. This is according a report from BPM Forum and E2open released on July 20.

Even more concerning is the fact that 78% of companies rate the level of synergy and accountability in their global trading network as suboptimal.

The report, "Acceleration of ECO-Operation: Achieving Success & Sustainability in the Supply Chain," surveyed more than 125 supply chain, operations, finance,and executive professionals around the world across multiple industries to measure and quantify just how companies are managing the complexities of supply chain demands, distribution costs and environmental concerns. The study was conducted in Q2 2009.

The study looks at progress in achieving ECO-Operation, or optimal visibility, collaboration, and sustainability throughout the multiple layers of supply and demand chain networks. Among the key findings of the study are:

  • The top benefits achieved through better ECO-Operation programs include more environmental responsibility, better sustainability compliance, more efficient product manufacturing and better customer responsiveness.
  • Lack of leadership, visibility and standardized sustainability metrics are holding companies back from achieving bottom line benefits.
  • 42% of companies do not consider their carbon and energy footprint as including their entire extended supply chain, and only 55% say their customers would agree.
  • 76% of respondents say their customers have not yet asked them to reveal their carbon footprint, but two-thirds expect customers to demand this in the next year.
  • More than half of respondents say that their competitors use green or ECO-Operation practices for competitive advantage.
  • An overwhelming 85% of respondents say they are actively involved in new programs that drive operational efficiency, CSR and cost-savings across supply and demand chains.

"Unifying and controlling complex, globally-distributed value networks in turbulent, unpredictable times requires real-time operational insights down to the product level, accurate sourcing and sell-through intelligence, and relentless dedication to eliminating waste in all areas of the go-to-market process," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the BPM Forum.

Commentary from the corporate leadership committee shows the following common themes:

  • Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration to supply chain management executives.
  • Most companies are still struggling with obtaining verifiable, consistent data to measure value chain effectiveness and environmental responsibility.
  • Consumer awareness and increased regulation will put added demands on companies to drive green initiatives and efficiencies in the supply chain.

To view the report visit

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