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Cybersecurity and Technologies in SCM

Study shows: These are the challenges and trends in SCM 2024

by Editorial Office

New legal regulations, geopolitical tensions, digitalization – companies with global supply chains are exposed to multifactorial events. In order to avoid disruptions or failures along the supply chain, they are well advised to proactively develop strategies that enable them to adapt quickly to changing conditions. The study “Supply Chain Plans 2024“* conducted by Software Advice explores how specific approaches to strengthening resilience could work. We have summarized the most important results for you.

The demands on global supply chains are increasing: Companies are under increasing pressure to adapt and optimize processes, operate ecologically yet efficiently and at the same time strengthen the resilience of their supply chain. But what are the key tasks which supply chain managers are facing in 2024? And how do they want to meet the associated challenges? The consulting firm Software Advice explores these questions in its study “Supply Chain Plans 2024”, for which 1,100 logistics and supply chain experts from SMEs were surveyed online in February 2024, 200 of them based in Germany. 

Cybersecurity and AI: Technologies are gaining in importance

The results show that the study participants consider the use of technologies in the supply chain and the consideration of sustainability criteria to be particularly challenging – in addition to the shortage of skilled workers. The ongoing digitalization of logistics means that companies can no longer avoid implementing smart tools if they want to remain competitive and keep pace with current developments on the market. However, the more digital the supply chain, the higher the risk of interfaces or inadequate security measures acting as a gateway for virtual attacks on the supply network: 43% of respondents have experienced business interruptions as a result of a cyberattack in the past twelve months. 64% of respondents are also concerned that a cyber threat involving malware or data theft could affect their supply chain in the future. As a countermeasure, strengthening IT security is therefore at the top of the 2024 investment agenda for almost one in two logistics managers (48%).

Alongside cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence is the second technology to receive increased investment. According to the study, 43% of logistics and supply chain managers have recognized the potential of AI to enable significant process optimizations and increase forecasting accuracy. The results of the survey therefore once again underline the growing importance of technologies for increasing efficiency and the strategic realignment of companies in the logistics sector.

Survey shows: Companies want to invest in sustainability measures

The topic of sustainability is also a particular concern for many of the logistics experts surveyed and presents them with challenges. In order to comply with the legal requirements of the Supply Chain Act or the CSRD, to reduce their own ecological footprint and to reduce CO2 emissions along the supply chain, companies must rethink established processes such as procurement, inventory management, warehousing, transportation, distribution or risk management and, if necessary, adapt them to new regulations. This transformation requires resources: According to the survey, the topic is therefore perceived by participants as one of the biggest challenges for SCM in 2024.

Nevertheless, there is a clear trend towards sustainability in economic activity: Consumer awareness has changed, with the result that numerous stakeholders and customers are placing increasing value on cooperating with companies that assume not only economic, but also ecological and social responsibility. At 67%, around two thirds of respondents plan to continue or start investing in sustainability measures in 2024. Many want to rely on local suppliers that are located close to their own site: Every other study participant (50 percent) sees this as a suitable measure for greater sustainability. Around one in five (19%) state that this is already the case with all their current suppliers.

Conclusion: Technologies and sustainability as central pillars of the supply chain

The “Supply Chain Plans 2024” study shows that the primary challenges in SCM are currently located in the areas of technology and sustainability. The results reflect how profound the changes in these sectors are and underline the urgency of investing in modern technologies such as cybersecurity solutions, Artificial Intelligence and effective sustainability measures. This strategic focus appears to be essential in order to both strengthen their own supply chain resilience in dealing with future disruptions and to take environmental responsibility into account. The respondents confirm the need for a technology-supported and sustainability-oriented restructuring of the supply chain in order to remain competitive in the long term and to be able to successfully meet current and future market conditions.

The complete study with all results in detail can be found here.

*In the course of the study, 1.100 logistics experts were surveyed on the challenges and trends in SCM

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