July 29, 2009
Companies Face Challenges in Improving Visibility of Supply Chains
by Robert Kropp
Respondents to a Business Performance Management Forum survey cite cost savings, environmental
compliance, and improved customer service as factors in enforcing sustainability throughout their
In a recent online survey of 125 global business professionals, the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum sought to measure
how companies are managing the complexities of supply chain demands, including environmental
concerns. Respondents indicated a need for "better standards and key performance indicators for
measuring sustainability levels of supply chain partners."
Entitled Acceleration of Eco-Operation:
Achieving Success & Sustainability in the Supply Chain, the report found that while nearly 90%
of respondents said that management at their companies subscribed to such principles as supply
chain visibility and verifiable sustainability, "a vast majority lacks the metrics to enforce
sustainability throughout their extended supply chain."
Respondents, 35% of whom reported
having more than 1,000 partners in their value chains, identified pressures to be more
environmentally responsible and sustainable, as well as cost savings, as key drivers of change in
their supply chain operations. Among the challenges most frequently cited to synchronizing supply
chain operations are the failure of partners to provide necessary information, and lack of access
to second- or third-tier trading partners.
Respondents identified operational cost
savings, environmental compliance, and improved customer service as the most likely benefits to
their companies of greater visibility in their value chains. Initiatives undertaken to achieve
greater visibility include corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and environmental
policies for their value chains, changes in methods of transportation, and procurement standards
The report found that less than a third of respondents have a goal of carbon
neutrality in supplier operations or customer product use. Seventy-one percent of those that do
expect to achieve carbon neutrality within four years.
Representatives of 22 industrial
sectors responded to the BPM Forum survey. The largest concentrations of respondents were in the
manufacturing, electronics, and technology sectors.
SRI World Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.