MHI Solutions

Human Resources

Ready to Transform Your Business? Add Supply Chain to the C-Suite

The emergence of the chief supply chain officer reflects the importance of the supply chain to all aspects of a business.

By Sheryl S. Jackson

The complexity of business—as retailers and manufacturers in all industries compete in an e-commerce, global world—has led to the emergence of new member of the C-suite: the chief supply chain officer, or CSCO.

This move is more than re-titling and rewarding a valuable employee—it is a reflection of the importance of the supply chain to all aspects of a business.

“In the past, supply chain usually meant procurement but today it means much more,” explains Ronald Hammond, chief supply chain officer at GOJO Industries, a global producer and marketer of skin health and hygiene solutions. “At GOJO, every process from the manufacturing to distribution and interaction with customers as we install dispensers is a supply chain responsibility.”

Hammond has seen recognition of the supply chain’s impact on business grow since he began his career in the 70s. “The most significant change that has increased supply chain’s visibility is access to data,” says Hammond. “When I began my career, information was siloed in each business division.” Not only was data kept separate, but employees in different departments did not share information or collaborate to analyze data from a holistic perspective.

“Now the velocity and veracity of the supply chain is tied to the velocity and veracity of data—how much do you know and how accurate is it?” points out Hammond. As data grows in volume and access to it requires an understanding of all parts of the supply chain and how each segment affects the other, the role is valued more as a strategic asset, he adds.

“When I began my career at PepsiCo, the direct store delivery distribution business model was seen as a competitive advantage, but only distribution was viewed as an advantage, not the entire supply chain,” says Hammond. “Today, access to data enables us to see how each segment of the supply chain affects the other—which means distribution alone won’t give you an advantage, but a strong supply chain will.”

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.

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