Canadian Packaging

Profile of supply chain leaders on the rise: study


September 2, 2010
Andrew Joseph

According to a recent survey conducted by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium (TSCC), companies are now more likely to have supply chain leaders holding executive-level positions.

Researchers found that over the past five years, the organizational level of the most senior supply chain professional in an organization has gradually moved higher. Nearly half the retail and manufacturing companies surveyed have a supply chain leader at or above the executive vice-president level. In addition, the title of chief supply chain officer (CSCO) is growing in use.

Bruce Tompkins, executive director of TSCC, shed some light on the trend.

“With supply chains becoming more dynamic and agile, organizations need to able to keep up with the pace,” he said. “And these companies are beginning to realize the significance of having a high-level supply chain executive influence their business strategies.”

What departments are reporting to these senior supply chain execs? Transportation and distribution operations are the most common, followed by supply chain network design, demand planning and supplier selection. The areas least likely to report to a senior supply chain exec are customer order processing and manufacturing ordering.

The survey also probed how companies keep supply chain departments on the same page. Manufacturing companies tend to achieve goal alignment by reporting to a single executive, while retail companies generally have their common supply chain goals established by the senior leadership team. But more than a quarter of retail companies and 14 percent of manufacturers have no formal process of aligning supply chain goals.

“These gaps in goal alignment indicate significant opportunity for better communication and integration of supply chain functions,” Tompkins adds. “However, companies are discovering these opportunities for improvement, and there is an increasing trend toward resource sharing across divisions and business units.