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5/5/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Survey: Supply chains lack efficiency, synchronization, U.S. business execs say



A majority of U.S. business executives believe their supply chains aren't working efficiently and can be better synchronized between vendors, customers and suppliers, according to a recent survey conducted by research and consulting firm WirthlinWorldwide Inc.

Companies cannot improve operations by trying to optimize individual supply-chain pieces, most respondents said.

Last week, WirthlinWorldwide surveyed top executives attending Longitudes 04, a two-day symposium sponsored by United Parcel Service and Harvard Business School Publishing. More than three-quarters of attendees work for companies with annual revenue of $500 million or more and serve as vice presidents or higher-ranking officials.

An effective supply chain enables a company to reduce operating costs, improve customer service and increase sales, a majority of respondents believe. But more than half of the polled execs said their corporate strategy and operating plans aren't well integrated.

Today's biggest supply-chain problems are accurately forecasting demand, blurred lines of responsibility and incomplete inventory information, a majority of execs said. Some root causes of those problems are internal "silos" or lack of communication, outdated technology, and poor collaboration with suppliers and partners.


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