Many industries are experiencing more change during these times than they ever have… anticipating customer demand, staying ahead of emerging ecosystems, grappling with constantly-changing supply channels, regulations and logistics… the list of challenging for supply chain leaders is endless. So who’s helping enterprises stay ahead of these secular shifts in supply chains? Let’s hear from our very own Saurabh Gupta, who led our recent Top 10 research into supply chain services.
Saurabh – you’ve been researching supply chain services for 15 years (sorry, but I can remember when you started!)… how have they developed over the years, and why has the pandemic created the burning platform for the market?
Yes, Phil…about 15 years since my first report as an analyst … you’ve made me realize that I am getting older! The very definition of the supply chain has changed over the last two decades from linear supply chains (input, process, output) to circular sustainable supply chain (to re-use, re-make or refurbish). But I feel that the term ‘supply chain’ is a misnomer for meeting the realities of today’s world. It connotates constrained thinking. We need to break free. It’s time to unchain your supply chain.
For too long, supply chains have been shackled by the idea that they must be linear—a “chain.” But the pandemic shock changed the supply and demand equation. Business priorities changed overnight, creating new opportunities for some and threatening survival for others. Enterprise leaders finally recognized the need for supply networks. Supply chains need an ecosystem approach—both internally and externally. Organizations will need to collaborate across industries to pinpoint sources of disruption, where to disrupt, and how to keep reinventing themselves.
How have service providers evolved over the years to drive supply chain innovation? Which ones impressed in the recent study?
First, I’ve seen a convergence of third-party technology, business, and consulting services for the supply chain. They were three different market segments, but leading service providers realize that they need to operate at the intersection of all three. Second, the budding romance between the supply chain and emerging technologies is exhilarating. For instance, supply chain provenance (track-and-trace) is the no. 1 use case for enterprise blockchain technology adoption today. And third, the scope of third-party supply chain services has expanded beyond traditional areas like order management, inventory management, and sourcing & procurement into emerging areas like supply chain planning and design, aftermarket services, and sustainability services. Improving supply chain resiliency, transparency, and sustainability emerged as the top 3 areas of focus across 200 supply chain executives that we surveyed as a part of our 2021 OneOffice Pulse study.
We assessed 11 leading supply chain providers with robust supply chain credentials across a defined series of innovation, execution, and voice of the customer criteria.
The Top 5 service providers in the HFS winners circle were:
- EY brings together the capabilities of all its service lines (Technology Consulting, Business Consulting, PAS (People Advisory Services), Tax and Strategy and Transactions) for the supply chain practice to offer services that cut across consulting, managed services, and technology products.
- Accenture is delivering the promise of intelligent supply chains with its new “One Accenture” organization structure oriented around three markets (North America, Europe, and Growth Markets) that allows it to bring together all its services (strategy consulting, technology, and operations) to its clients in a simple and easy to consume way.
- Infosys has developed “Live” supply chain solutions designed to make supply chains adaptive and resilient, resembling living organisms’ ability to sense, reason, respond, and evolve to uncertainties
- TCS’ large scale, MFDM (Machine First Delivery Model) powered and end-to-end SCM offerings to deliver resilient, adaptable, purpose-driven, and future-ready supply chains
- IBM brings to the supply chain a triple-A trifecta (automation, AI, analytics) powered intelligent workflow along with exponential technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, and Quantum, as well as championing open supply chain innovation through investments like RedHat.
Other notable performances that stood out for me included:
- Genpact’s Barkawi Consulting acquisition enables it to deliver to clients global, end-to-end supply chain services bolstered by domain, digital, and data science expertise.
- Capgemini’s frictionless supply chain vision is strongly aligned with our OneOffice mindset
- HCL’s integrated digital portfolio and Inorganic strategy to build a services + product offering
- PwC’s industry-focused approach and investments in digitally fluent talent
- GEP’s expansion from sourcing & procurement provider to consulting, managed services, and products for supply chain
So finally, Saurabh, what will we talk about in the next couple of years as we see organizations become increasingly “hyper” connected? How fast is this new market moving, in your view?
Extremely fast, Phil! We are rapidly approaching Horizon 3 (the Hyper-Connected enterprise) of HFS’ Innovation framework. The scope of innovation is quickly expanding beyond the functional silos. It needs to extend beyond the four walls of your organization, and it requires collaboration across multiple organizations with common objectives around driving entirely new sources of value. Even the traditional boundaries of industry definitions are blurring, and new industries are getting created.
We need to embrace the change happening in front of us or be prepared for an “oh crap, I wish…” moment in two years.
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