For all the talk of a global economy, it seems that U.S. enterprises have a lot of catching up to do where IT systems are concerned. A new study from Aberdeen Group, Global Supply Chain Benchmark Report, reports that the typical large company's global supply chain is only 50 percent as automated as its domestic supply chain.
That's left supply chain executives worried about their ability to manage global operations effectively. The top concern among respondents to Aberdeen's survey was lack of visibility. More than half the supply chain executives who responded to the survey (and 79 percent of those working for enterprises with revenues of $1 billion or more) said visibility was one of their three biggest concerns. "To help improve the bottom line, we need more accurate forecasting and overall supply chain visibility," said one respondent, identified as a large North American industrial equipment manufacturer.
The number two worry—cited by 37 percent of all respondents and 56 percent of those working for large enterprises—was a lack of coordination among multi-tier supply chain processes, which causes an imbalance of supply and demand across tiers. "It's challenging to get multitier upstream supply commitments in response to demand changes within an acceptable time (one day)," said a respondent from a large high-tech company.
Among other survey findings: Three-quarters of companies lack enterprise-wide automation for global supply chain processes, and 41 percent of large companies report a fragmented IT approach. The lack of automation not only affects the supply chain organization but also creates uncertainty in the finance department. An astounding 90 percent of enterprises report their global supply chain technology is inadequate to provide finance with timely information. This information includes accurate costing and delivery dates for budget and cash flow planning and management.