To permanently establish supply chain’s strategic role within the organisation, chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) must identify new opportunities to deliver value, beyond cost savings, according to Gartner.

Gartner has revealed four high impact areas to focus on to create greater value, including:

* Multi-Value Contributions, where singular investments drive multiple forms of value;

* Antifragility, which creates gains from uncertainty instead of merely responding to the moment;

* Designed Simplicity, a user-experience approach to business transformation that seeks to enhance productivity by simplifying processes; and

* Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Generative AI (GenAI), the technology that can unlock new value from the workforce.

“Supply chains have and will continue to be champions of efficiency and cost savings for their organisation,” says Tom Enright, vice-president analyst in Gartner’s Supply Chain practice.

“We also know that the supply chain value is much more. Supply chain leaders can also deliver value in the form of supporting customer experience, sustainability, risk reduction, innovation and growth – while continuing to keep their eye on cost.”

For the supply chain function to regain influence in a “post-crisis” state, CSCOs must deliver multi-value contributions where their investments create maximum impact across key priorities.

To accomplish this, CSCOs must:

* Define Focus Areas and Limits: CSCOs must chart a course between a narrow focus on cost reduction and a “do-it-all” approach that is destined to failure as resources dwindle and employee fatigue mounts from years of disruptions. This is achieved by confidently defining what to prioritise and communicating areas that will be focused on, and those that will be intentionally de-emphasised.

* Rethink Supply Chain Roles: Gartner recommends transitioning away from centralised or decentralised frameworks that lack nuance. Instead, consider which activities need to be integrated at the enterprise level and which should be differentiated at the business unit or segment level – both for operational and design activities.

* Identify and Deliver Multi-Value Plays: CSCOs should identify the investments that allow them to achieve multiple objectives within one initiative. Enright noted that many organisations are finding synergies with initiatives that combine sustainability and cost objectives, while others are investing in new technologies to improve customer experience, enhance their employee value proposition, and drive growth.

“Many stakeholders perceive that the worst of the supply chain crisis has receded, and CSCOs now face the prospect of being allocated fewer resources and returning to a more siloed role within the enterprise,” Enright adds. “However, opportunities exist to create more business value. It is up to CSCOs to identify and prioritise those investments that will deliver simultaneous sources of value, in line with their team’s strengths and stated priorities.”

Enright adds: “For example, consider the digital transformation journey enterprises are undertaking. By helping pave the way for adoption of AI and GenAI by equipping teams with the tools and training needed and developing clear use cases with targeted goals, CSCOs will build trust and demonstrate their commitment to providing multiple forms of value to the enterprise.”