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Author's profile photo Richard Howells

Update from “The World’s Most important gathering of Supply Chain Leaders”

Now the title of this blog is making quite a claim, but that is exactly how Gartner are billing this year’s Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix.

The 1st day didn’t disappoint as over 1300 of the “world’s most important suply chain leaders” heard discussions from Colgate-Palmolive GlaxoSmithKline, Create & Barrel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Amgen, SanDisk, PwC and, of course numerous Gartner analysts.

The theme of the Gartner keynote by Debra Hofman and Noha Tohamy of Gartner was Leading the Decade.  They described how much things have changed over the past decade and how the span of control of supply chain executives has widened considerably. In fact Debra pointed out that “We have seen the rise of the Chief Supply Chain Officer who reports to the CEO 40% of the time. Supply chain executives are even being promoted to CEO”.

Noha pointed out that :

  •   “Sustainability is now a stated goal in the supply chain strategy of leading companies”
  • “Forecasts were what sales ‘thought they were going to sell’. We are now leveraging real time demand signals. “
  • “Deployments are moved from on premise to a steadily increasing cloud adoption (with a 40% increase last year).
  • 71% of companies now have a supply chain center of excellence.
  • There has been a 20% increase in enrolled in undergraduate SCM programs since 2011
  • These SCM graduates have had a 100% placement (verses 85%  of general business degrees)

However, Noha also discussed some challenges. The biggest one being that 65% of companies are still in stage 1 or 2 of the Demand Driven Value Network (DDVN) maturity level. I am sure we will be hearing how to fix this over the next 48 hours!


Debra and Noha also made some predictions about the next decade:

  • Supply chains will lead business innovations
  • The Gartner defined Nexus of forces  –  cloud, information, mobile and social – will enable this innovation.
  • The “internet of everything” will enable the interconnection of people, places, systems and things.
  • We will see the rise of the digital business – the creation of new business designs that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds. 

All very interesting “food for thought”. We will be delving more into these topics over the next few days.

And the 1 thing that was not pointed out in this session. Over the past decade, with all the changes that have happened in supply chain management, one thing has remained constant.  According to Gartner numbers, “SAP has been the market share leader within the aggregated supply chain market for more than a decade“.


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      Author's profile photo Denis Kefallinos
      Denis Kefallinos

      Thanks Richard for the summary..