At the Supply Chain Digital Show on LinkedIn on November 10, appeared Michael Ciatto, CEO of Supply Chain Service Line at Genpact, the global professional services company that helps transform customer businesses. The following is an edited version of that interview. The show is now available for viewing on demand.

Introduce yourself and your role in Genpact

They are the leader of Genpact’s line of supply chain services, which helps companies define their supply chain strategy. We lead customer transformation efforts and also operate supply chains on behalf of some of the largest companies in the world, in multiple languages ​​and industries. We were originally a digital transformation consulting boutique acquired by Genpact

How can supply chains offer a competitive advantage?

Massive disruptions, volatility, and geopolitical concerns all create a window of opportunity, in which companies can establish themselves in a differentiated space than their competitors, both from a service perspective and from a margin perspective. There are four ways we are helping customers with this.

One is in the redesign of the supply chain strategy. COVID has created many more types of direct-to-consumer businesses, but historically supply chains have been driven solely from a procurement standpoint. Companies have now identified that this is a major weakness and that it can create disruptions that are difficult to recover from.

The second way we can help is to help clients invest in technology to capture data, so they can get insights, whether through analytics or digital workflows. It is an area in which it has been underinvested. Only one in five companies has spent money on a supply chain planning application or API solution.

How can companies leverage supply chain data?

It is about creating an opportunity for executives to look at their organization holistically.

Organizationally, companies need to be agile, and this often requires a shift in decision-making power, as well as a change in organizational design, so that people can act quickly. This could be done by enabling concepts such as concurrent planning or concepts such as supply network design.

Do CEOs need to be involved in supply chain discussions?

Absolutely. Today’s major business problems are all fundamentally related to the supply chain, particularly in the areas of demand and ESG factors. Today’s customers vote with their portfolios, and Scope 3 issuance action, for example, requires top-down action.

Get Unilever, which is at the forefront of this. Their sustainability efforts are a CFO initiative. It defines how the company builds partnerships, how it builds supply chain networks, how it manages its product portfolios and how it determines which regions they are in. It is not something that can come from the director level of the supply chain.

CEOs also need to be involved in demand management. Inflationary pressures, price elasticity, demand shaping – all of these feed vital questions like “Can I design a product to reduce costs?”

Then, due to geopolitical concerns, there are supply chain redundancy issues, not to mention other issues like the Grand Resignations.

Outside of work, people can manage their lives from a six-inch phone and yet in their work they work on Excel spreadsheets. The younger generation want something that gives them purpose, and COVID has opened up many business opportunities that are making people less dependent on the traditional nine to five workweeks. This is another mission-critical issue that should be discussed by CEOs and their boards of directors.

What does the future hold for supply chains?

There will be greater regionalization and nationalization of the nodes of the supply networks. I also think there will be a significant investment in the data, out of necessity, due to labor shortages, margin pressures and inflationary concerns.

And I see there is greater adoption of automation, whether it comes from advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, or investment in technology.

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