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Supply Chain Issues: What’s Keeping Supply Chain Managers Awake at Night?

Although some of the themes presented in this paper may not be surprising, it is valuable to note that the executives interviewed, who represented more than 50 different firms, shared a common perspective about issues disrupting their businesses.

This is the third in a series of white papers reporting the results of the Beyond the Horizon supply chain research project by Michigan State University, conducted in partnership with the APICS Supply Chain Council.

This aspect of the Beyond the Horizon project investigates the current business practices of more than 50 firms through surveys and interviews with executives and studies what executives identify as critical issues they are “wrestling with.”

The question posed to the executives was: “What keeps you awake at night?”

They were asked to focus on both the new opportunities that they were evaluating and the challenges that were disrupting their sleep.

Although many of the challenges identified by participating executives are interrelated and overlapping.

However, common problems were identified among the professionals.

The six most common issues were:

  1. Capacity/resource availability
  2. Talent
  3. Complexity
  4. Threats/challenges
  5. Compliance
  6. Cost/purchasing issues

Knowledge of the common challenges identified in this study can provide insight and awareness for others evaluating their own firms’ problem areas.

Future reports from the Beyond the Horizon study will address in more detail the range of practices utilized by firms to overcome these challenges.

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