Part of a Series
This Reflection is a part of the
2018 Next Generation Operations Summit Report.
To see the complete report, click here.
More than ever, operations and supply chain leaders are in the driver’s seat on shaping the future of business value. In today’s dynamic world, this means supply chain leaders will need new strategies for building supply chains that are robust enough to maintain stability, but also agile enough to offer choices, delight customers, and drive growth.
The backdrop for shaping the future of business value is one with a relentless pace of change. In fact, at this year’s Summit, 86% of attendees said they are facing “significant or extreme change” in their operating environment – punctuating the idea that shaping strategies will take vision, ingenuity, and perseverance.
This constant – and ever increasing – change pressures next generation operations executives and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) to continually adapt their organizations to a new value proposition and methods of producing that value. This continual adaptation presents a challenge for executives as they navigate three dimensions:
- First, the day-to-day focus of the CSCO function is generally on Optimizing Current Business Value – executing strategy that preserves core and organic business value while managing for risk. The focus is on “current state” supply chain models and supporting activities such as building and scaling infrastructure, navigating the regulatory environment, mitigating natural disruptions to the supply chain, and managing workforce and capital structures.
- Second, while maintaining supply chain performance is a must, CSCOs are increasingly taking a central role in Generating New Business Value – leading strategy that builds inorganic/new business value. The focus is on ideating and incubating “future state” supply chain models based on disruptive technologies and innovations, fostering partnerships and alliances, building ecosystems, as well as financing and scaling viable models.
- Third, the CSCO of the future must work across the c-suite and be a central figure in Creating Dynamic Capacity – aligning operations and its people with a continually evolving value proposition and business model. The focus here is on adopting and integrating new skills and competencies, while embedding dynamic capabilities in the firm’s and supply chain’s structures, systems, processes, and people.
Compounding this balancing act is that increasingly – particularly in a hyper-digital world – supply chains have to reach outside their own boundaries to bring in new capabilities – essentially building a collaborative ecosystem of ideas, technologies, products, and services. These new capabilities – whether they are “home grown” or brought in from the outside – then have to be integrated into the current organization, which means executives will have to grapple with an array of governance, structural, procedural, and cultural barriers. Thus, for operations and supply chain leaders there is a valuable journey to embark upon. As you will see from the cases and insights in this report, progress is being made already, and the future is unfolding before us.
Before diving into the report, I would like to thank Accenture Strategy – as without their generous insights, resources, and support, – this important research and Summit would not have been possible. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Executive Leadership Group – their subject matter knowledge and insights on operations and supply chain innovation provided a solid foundation for this Summit and for the advancement of organizational transformation as a whole. And last but not least, thank you for investing your time and energy into this Summit and report. I’m certain it will help you shape your growth agenda.
Now, let’s get to work!
Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie
Fellow, Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard
Executive Director, Leadership for a Networked World
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
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