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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities in supply chains for many organisations, who were left grappling with imbalances in demand-supply and were forced to reinvent their global supply chain models.

The lack of a cohesive strategy and planning made it difficult for many companies to meet the new demand patterns and the pandemic came as a kind of reality check that businesses need to be prepared for the unprecedented, which can neither be predicted nor avoided.

As the world limps back to normalcy, one thing is clear: we need future-ready and resilient organisations that can respond, recover and thrive. A recent study by Accenture found only a small core of “future-ready" organisations were 1.7 times more efficient and 2.8 times more profitable than peers. How?

Despite all the disruption that we have witnessed in the past year and a half, only 4% of Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) surveyed have retooled operations for future-readiness.

But the good news is that another 34% expect to be there by 2023, a goal that is ambitious and one that requires a significant transformation of both supply chain and enterprise operations.

The need for digital-powered, data-driven operating models

Supply chain is the lifeline of every organisation and literally can make or break a company’s success.

Four in five (81%) supply chain leaders reported the pandemic has been their organisation’s greatest stress test. This forced leaders to rethink their strategies and come up with a supply chain mechanism of three – Relevant, Resilient and Responsible – that delivers sustainable value to all stakeholders.

The supply chain industry is now at the crossroads of constructive transformations and ground-breaking sustainable innovations, apparently the best time to build a career in this industry and be a part of the change.

A new order out of chaos

Organisations can leverage the power of data and analytics to help supply chain leaders transform their businesses. The focus today needs to be on making the right investments in technology like artificial intelligence (AI) to gather real-time insights and intelligence which can help make informed decisions across all links of the supply chain – from design through service.

By fully embracing technology, businesses can create a sustainable supply chain that influences all its dimensions, including product engineering, planning, procurement, manufacturing, fulfilment and service management.

In today’s environment, ecosystem relationships are essential to establish trust, transparency and accountability. It is imperative to choose the right technology partner that can help keep supply chain functions ahead of the competition. The right partner must also maintain comparable standards of social and sustainable environmental responsibility, which is becoming a benchmark for organisational success.

Bold leaders for breakthrough results

Future-ready supply chains are intelligent, and only individuals with the right blend of domain expertise and digital skills such as in-depth knowledge of automation, Artificial Intelligence and data-driven decision-making, can win stakeholder trust in the new reality world.

“Today, companies expect their supply chains to deliver more—to be responsive to demand and resilient to change, to optimize costs and do good for society. That’s why the industry needs the right people who are committed to creating a responsible impact with AI," added Arundhati Chak, senior managing director, who leads global business process service delivery, Accenture Operations.

“The need of the hour is smart leaders who can drive this change. Supply chain practitioners have a pivotal role to play in organisations today as they lead the transformation journeys to prepare their businesses better to avoid the pitfalls of 2020. Today, they are embracing sustainable practices at the heart of all decisions and helping build supply chains that are resilient and flexible," added Kishore Durg, senior managing director, who leads network, Industry X and supply chain, Accenture Operations.

Be a driver of change…

The Sustainable Digital Supply Chain is an engine of growth through new customer experiences, improving profitability and adapts to disruption. Do you want to be part of history creation for solving the obvious? Do you have it in you to look beyond the horizon and work at the heart of change? Explore Operations careers at Accenture.

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