Britain lags behind Germany in supply chain digitisation

A new survey of 150 supply chain executives, divided evenly between Britain and Germany, has…...

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A new survey of 150 supply chain executives, divided evenly between Britain and Germany, has found that while a quarter of German purchasers reported their company supply chains were fully digitised, only 5% of UK respondents have undertaken this change.

Anyone involved in procurement transformation projects, spend analytics and supply relationship management will be aware that, while the personal touch counts in most areas of the procurement process, the job becomes less laborious and more effective with the correct deployment of new digital technologies.

In the survey conducted by Infosys Consulting, an advisory group based in the US, 23% of those polled in both Germany and the UK reported that their supply chains are expected to be fully digitised over the next one to two years. 39% estimated that it would take two to five years to complete, while 24% estimated five to 10 years. Half of the respondents believed that supply chain digitisation has a positive effect on profitability.

The chief obstacle identified in the survey to adopting Industry 4.0 Technologies (e.g., the Internet of Things, robotics and Artificial Intelligence) in procurement and supply chain management was investment in expertise and skills. This was closely followed by security (data theft threats, hacker attacks and industrial espionage dangers), which 25% of those polled cited as the primary obstacle.

Almost a quarter (24%) considered the cost of buying and installing new-gen technology as the biggest challenge, raising an interesting question as to whether it may be more economical to access this tech via third party procurement as a service firms.

An unexpected finding was that 38% of respondents did not regard ethical consumption as an increasingly important consideration, indicating that they appear to be failing to put ethical business practices “at the heart of what they do.”

The report continues: “This is surprising, considering that, according to Ipsos MORI, 38% of consumers say they will spend more on a product if a company acts in an ethical way.”

Nick Ford

Nick has over 30 years procurement experience in consulting, outsourcing and line roles within industry with international experience across many sectors and industries and led many procurement programs with blue chip organisations.

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