Our 2016 research agenda, shaped by you

By November 20, 2015Guests, Power of the Profession
Our 2016 research agenda, shaped by you

If you’ve visited the SCM World website this week, you may have seen that we have a new strapline: “Shaping the Future of Supply Chain”. One of the most important ways we do this is through our primary research among the many different companies and industries in our global community.

Unlike analyst and consulting firms, we believe that practitioners like you know more collectively about supply chain than anyone else. And so to set our research agenda for the following year, we rely on extensive structured direction from our “Executive Advisory Board – a group of over a dozen C-level executives at leading companies like Caterpillar, Kimberly-Clark, Schneider Electric, General Mills and Microsoft. Discussion takes place over a period of several months and culminates in an agreed list of topics for my team to work on.

After our most recent conference call, I’m excited to announce that some of the highlights for 2016 will include the following:

Procurement leaders and the value of leverage

The power of procurement continues to grow as supply chains increasingly rely on centre-led organisations to maximise not only leverage but also operational advantage based on supply chain “platforms”. This movement involves deepening category management skills, closer collaboration with key suppliers on product and technology innovation, and a model of supply management that provides sustainable advantage. This report will seek out best-in-class examples of this emerging high-leverage approach to procurement and explore transferable lessons.

Mapping the patient-centric healthcare supply chain: a country comparison

Healthcare value chains are complex and driven by a unique type of demand, since no one wants to be sick, but everyone occasionally is. The payer/provider/patient nexus behaves very differently around the world based on what type of insurance model applies and whether the population is rich or poor. By mapping the value chains with a patient-centric approach in the United States, Great Britain and Ghana, this report will attempt to identify lessons that could be transferred for the greater good of all, both in terms of human health and financial performance.

B2B e-commerce and the need for innovation in supply chain strategy

E-commerce is highly visible at the consumer level, but what processes, technologies and tactics are effective in helping business-to-business supply chains perform better? Collaboration, visibility and agility all stand to gain from better exploitation of e-commerce concepts in B2B supply chains. This report will look at practical strategies that are working and why they are effective.

Disentangling distribution

Evolving customer expectations of fulfilment and new technologies for transportation and manufacturing are forcing logistics leaders to rethink their distribution strategies. Disruptions and resource constraints are affecting bulk transport, long-haul trucking and parcel delivery in mature markets like the US, as well as in vital developing markets like China. How will product distribution look in 2020? What moves can be made now to prepare for everything from driverless vehicles to “uberisation” and drones? This report will examine the path forward for distribution.

Activist investors and operational advantage

Billions of dollars’ worth of under-utilised money is presently available to activist investors seeking to unbundle large companies thought to be underperforming. The potential exists not only for these investors to gain power and influence on boards, but also to take over and restructure companies very quickly. A key consideration for all is whether operational leverage justifies keeping separate businesses together because of either cost synergies or market access advantages. This report will examine how supply chain leaders can prepare for such questions.

Digital demand and omnichannel update: deep dive in the UK

No single force is driving more change in the global supply chain than the digitally empowered consumer. Retailers and manufacturers all over the world are scrambling to respond, but no country is farther along this path than the United Kingdom. E-commerce penetration is higher here than anywhere else and pioneers from Tesco to Burberry have learned plenty about what works and what doesn’t. This report will investigate the supply chain learnings of Britain as a crucible of digital demand innovation.

India: a supply chain perspective

India offers one of the world’s greatest remaining consumer markets and is among the most attractive in terms of investment targeting new supply chain infrastructure and jobs. At the same time, India’s poor infrastructure and legacy of bureaucratic impediments can pose significant barriers to growth. This report will take a detailed look at the supply chain readiness and market attractiveness of India.

If you have comments about any of these topics, or would be willing to share your insights and experiences as part of our research process, I would be delighted to hear from you.


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