As supply chains continue to become even more complex due to expansion and new business models, greater collaboration and deeper integration of data analytics into supply chain management can help with visibility, flexibility and planning. As a result, supply chain was the number one area where respondents said they will increase investment the most over the next 12 months.
Supply chain also topped the list when companies were asked which issues would be most challenging over the next 12 months (38 percent of respondents) -- especially for retailers (50 percent of non-food retailers and 40 percent of food/beverage retailers identified supply chain as a top challenge).
Human resources: An emerging skills gap
Another challenge for expanding companies is the struggle to find the talent required to support their growth strategy.
The survey found that more than half of all companies (52 percent) say that human resources development will be 'very' or 'critically important' to their company’s strategy over the next 12 months.
When asked about their current capabilities, the companies surveyed acknowledged that they possess only modest abilities in the areas that will be of greatest competitive value over the coming years. Only 39 percent said their capability in terms of analyzing and using customer data was ‘good’ or better, and just 42 percent said they have ‘good’ or better capabilities in leveraging digital technologies—a shocking one-third said they have 'weak' capability, or none at all.
Despite the significant lack of talent and required skills, interestingly less than 25 percent of companies are planning to invest in human resources this year. These numbers suggest that consumer goods executives may be underestimating—and therefore underfunding—the importance of recruiting and training the appropriate people to execute their strategies.
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