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Liberating the Supply Chain Workforce

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Robots, prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence (ai) are liberating untapped human potential in the supply chain, are you taking action to embrace them? By Accenture Strategy

U.S. supply chain executives now have an unprecedented opportunity to drive a deep shift in supply chain operational performance.

No longer relegated to the factory floor, robots are supplementing and augmenting human roles in such knowledge-intensive areas as supply chain planning, customer order management and inventory management.

The combined power of humans and machines is already improving operational efficiency. In time it will deliver significantly better business outcomes.

Key findings

  • Seventy eight percent of U.S. supply chain executives agree that over the next three years supply chain performance will rely to a great extent on their supply chain talent. But the supply chain workforce must move beyond traditional roles and responsibilities.
  • Significantly better supply chain operational performance lies ahead - and what a shift it will be.
  • The collaboration between humans and machines will create new sources of value for the business. For example, most U.S. executives (81 percent) expect the combination of technology and humans to enable more forward looking and strategic decision-making to support business goals.
  • Humans will need to become internal entrepreneurs, or “intrapreneurs” - dynamic innovators who can proactively identify growth opportunities and manage the associated risks. One critical role ripe for intrapreneurship is supply chain demand and supply planning.
  • Advanced technologies will be needed to support the human intrapreneurs tasked with driving future innovation and growth. The most promising opportunities for value realization will align operational goals, i.e. reliability and efficiency, or speed and flexibility, with customer characteristics and business objectives. Targeted investments can then be made to increase the competitiveness of the supply chain.

This Accenture Strategy research paper shows that the vast majority (90 percent) of business and supply chain executives agree that over the next three years supply chain performance will rely to a great extent on supply chain talent.

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