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Survey reveals disconnect in supply chain automation adoption

Supply chain executives see automation as crucial.

Usage of supply chain automation technology does not match industry recognition of its importance.

According to a new survey of supply chain professionals from Precisely and SAPinsider, 89% of respondents believe process automation in the supply chain is either “important” or “very important” to attain digital transformation objectives.

However, the survey reveals a major gap between industry appreciation and adoption of supply chain automation. More than seven in 10 (72%) respondents indicated that less than 50% of their supply chain processes are currently automated, with this figure dropping to 25% for one-third of the respondents.

The survey also shows that the key objectives for deploying process automation have become more strategic over time, and include the realization of benefits such as:

  • End-to-end process visibility (82%).
  • Increased process efficiency (79%).
  • Defining and documenting standardization (77%).
  • Integrated processes across end-to-end supply chain (75%).
  • Building internal skillset (72%).

Other notable findings:

  • 51% of respondents cite resiliency as the top supply chain concern driving the need for process automation, with agility close behind at 46%.
  • Nearly half of all respondents (47%) said intelligent automation, such as AI and machine learning, is a key capability they are considering implementing over the next 24 months.

“Ultimately, supply chain resilience relies upon a programmatic approach for improving end-to-end process visibility and risk monitoring,” said John Reda, senior VP, product management for data integration at Precisely. “To be successful, supply chains must become both digital and autonomous to keep pace with disruptive global events and changing consumer expectations. It’s clear that process automation is critical, but the success of digitized processes and workflows will also rely upon the accuracy, consistency and context of the data feeding them. Supply chain transformation, fueled by data integrity, will be the key to confident decision-making during the uncertain times ahead.”

SAP: Supply chains prepare for disruption
According to a recent survey of senior U.S. supply chain business decision-makers from SAP, respondents are also making changes to prepare for future disruptions and to fortify their supply chains. Popular preparations include:

  • Adopting new technology to overcome challenges (74%).
  • Implementing new contingency measures (67%).
  • Moving from a “just in time” supply chain to a “just in case” supply chain by increasing the amount of inventory they store (64%).
  • Prioritizing U.S.-based supply chain solutions (60%).
  • Finding new environmentally friendly supply chain solutions (58%).
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