Increasing Supply Chain Performance in the Digital Era
Increasing Supply Chain Performance in the Digital Era
Feature Article by by Körber Supply Chain
A global benchmarking survey by Körber Supply Chain reveals how businesses are seeking to better understand the key factors that shape complexity in the supply chain post-covid. More than 500 respondents from 200 organisations shared their concerns and priorities for the year ahead.
In the last decade, the supply chain has emerged as a mission-critical function that can define the success or failure of an organisation. At the same time, global megatrends such as changing consumer behaviours, the rising interconnectivity of the global economy, and unexpected disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic have increased supply chain complexity.
Körber’s Supply Chain Benchmarking 2022 report reveals the global perspectives on supply chain complexity and performance. More than 200 organisations and 500 employees from throughout the world responded to the survey and revealed that while awareness of the external factors driving supply chain complexity was high, there is room for improvement in implementing measures to increase customers satisfaction, labour efficiency and process automation.
The report revealed that the majority of businesses are struggling with the rapid expansion of e-commerce and the increasing interconnectivity of the global economy.
E-commerce has become one of the fastest growing industries in the Asia Pacific region and shows no signs of slowing down. According to global market research company Euromonitor International, Asia Pacific’s e-commerce sales are expected to nearly double by 2025 – reaching USD 2 trillion.
While the rest of the world looks to Asia Pacific’s e-commerce market as a window into the future, the sector is fast-evolving and under significant digital transformation. As a result, respondents surveyed were united in their view that digitisation is a strategic priority this year, with digitisation and process automation the highest priority for 84 per cent of all businesses.
While an overwhelming majority cited digitisation as the top priority, only a minority of businesses use automated, paperless end-to-end processes throughout their supply chain – highlighting the opportunities for major process improvements utilising state-of-the-art technology.
“It is clear that organisations are aware that digitisation and process automation will be key to success over the coming months, and we’re working with a number of household names across the APAC region to transform their operation with Körber’s portfolio of software and automation solutions,” Anthony Beavis, Managing Director ANZ at Körber Supply Chain said during a recent interview.
Körber Supply Chain APAC’s client portfolio includes Catch Group, Kmart, Myer, Super Retail Group, Officeworks and Chemist Warehouse.
“Many of Asia Pacific’s largest retailer providers recognise that they need to act now, and have embarked on their digitisation journey with us,” Anthony said.
From agile warehouse automation, to WMS implementations, to micro-fulfilment capabilities – Körber has been helping to transform the supply chain and retail landscape in Asia Pacific with the latest technology and operational improvements.
In early 2022, after a three-year tender process, Super Retail Group, one of Australia’s largest retailers, selected Korber Supply Chain’s K. Motion Warehouse Advantage Warehouse Management System as the future foundation of its omni-channel operations.
One of the key differentiators for Super Retail Group was the opportunity to explore not only Körber’s WMS capabilities, but Körber’s larger portfolio of services and improvements as the leading retailer continues to grow at record pace.
“We’re really excited to explore our partnership further with Körber, particularly with some of the automation tech in their portfolio. We have a lot of areas in the business where automation could be a good fit and this first step with the new WMS will put us in a great position to strengthen our partnership further across different products and workstreams,” Patrick Fountain, General Manager Supply Chain Strategy at Super Retail Group said.
Navigating a fast-changing labour market
Hiring and retention are key issues in warehouse operations. It is a job seeker’s market, as businesses desperately attempt to fill vacancies to keep their supply chains running smoothly.
Between a tight labour market and high turnover, only 37 per cent of supply chain professionals said they have an adequate number of employees. Leaders are in good shape however – 89 per cent have enough staff – but confidence falls off quickly, with only 27 per cent of advanced supply chains reporting the same.
With the current tight labour market, employee engagement is key to attracting and retaining employees. Another differentiator is employee health and comfort, which is critical to reducing high turnover.
“Customers demand a level of service and employees require safe and healthy working environments, and while these are the realities that we live in, there’s a lot of tension between those two statements,” according to John Santagate, VP – Robotics, Körber Supply Chain.
Moving forward, businesses need to rethink how they engage long-term employees to build a more welcoming workplace and reduce turnover, how they train temporary employees for success during peak seasons, and how they comply with continually changing health and safety guidelines – all while improving productivity. It’s a daunting task, but supply chain software and technologies that can help businesses create a more engaging and safer employee experience.
Sustainability is a key priority
Körber’s Supply Chain Benchmarking Report 2022 was divided into six operational areas: Labour engagement, efficiency and safety, end customer experience, sustainability, agility and resilience, digitisation and process automation and facility optimisation. Based on this, participating companies were grouped into the following maturity levels: leader, advanced, developing and initiating. Of this, 35 per cent were identified as “leaders” (top performers), differentiated with future-proof processes.
Sustainability was also a key theme of the report, with 89 per cent of businesses citing it as a top priority and leading companies revealing they are three times more likely to shift to more sustainable packaging materials and four times more likely than advanced companies to implement circular economy projects.
A key priority for a number of APAC companies this year, Körber has been working with Australian retail giant Officeworks to improve its carbon footprint while also transforming its fulfilment capabilities with automation, voice, WMS and AMR technology.
Officeworks is committed to reducing its operational impact on the environment and has a net zero ambition, including using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. As part of the leading retailer’s roadmap for net-zero emissions, Körber and Officeworks worked together to create a solution that is as sustainable as possible, by installing LED lighting, a building energy management and a solar photovoltaics system which will power the AMR solution.
This project was the first-ever solar-powered AMR project in Australia and by installing solar panels the Voice, WMS, and AMR deployments all benefit from reduced emissions.
Gaining a competitive advantage
Körber’s Supply Chain Benchmarking 2022 report demonstrates that companies recognise increasing supply chain complexities and are starting to act to leverage the potential of the new digital era.
“The global research demonstrates that companies recognise increasing supply chain complexities and are acting to leverage the potential of the digital era. There is a growing awareness that many challenges can be overcome, and competitive advantage gained, with supply chain technology. We look forward to working with Australia’s largest retailers and logistics providers to help them gain a competitive advantage with the latest technology and software,” Anthony Beavis, Managing Director ANZ at Körber Supply Chain said.