ASCI state of supply chain management survey

Flavio Macau, Associate Dean | School of Business and Law | Edith Cowan University, and ASCI WA Chapter President.

Associate Professor Flavio Macau, of Edith Cowan University – and ASCI’s WA Chapter President – talks with MHD about the ASCI State of Supply Chain Management Survey.

Associate Professor Macau, could you briefly describe your career and experience to date – either as a practitioner in supply chain, academic researcher, or both? 

I started working at Mercedes-Benz in the mid 1990s, moving parts from Brazil to South Africa and China. In the 2000s I shifted to the resources industry and started my journey as an academic. My unique domain of expertise is global logistics, a topic in high demand due to COVID-19. In the past months I have talked about supply chain disruptions, parcel delivery challenges, and panic buying to ABC News, BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and other media services.

When, how, and why did you join ASCI and what is your current role within the organisation? 

I joined ASCI in 2019 to develop my network in Australia and New Zealand, and also benefit from the continued professional development opportunities. This year I obtained my registration as an Operations Management professional and became president of the WA Chapter. My duties involve hosting and organising webinars, site visits, and networking events, contributing to the discussion of the future of SCM. 

What is the ASCI State of Supply Chain Management Survey and how is it conducted?

The survey assesses the state of supply chains in Australia and New Zealand and offers a comprehensive picture of how businesses are navigating the COVID-19 storm. It provides benchmark across eight categories: Collaboration, Technology & Automation, Integration, Compliance & Regulation, Logistics & Distribution, Risk Management, Sustainability, and Procurement. We found that most organisations collaborate with third parties, but rarely engage in joint new technology development. They recognise the emergence of automation, but few have a digitisation strategy. And while internal compliance and regulation are adequate, they rarely are extended to other tiers of the supply chain.

What were some of the most interesting insights you took away from these researches and the final report?

Collaboration is paramount. It has brought down the boundaries of mistrust and conflicting objectives, with 40 per cent of respondents sharing expertise with others. On supply chain integration challenges, geographical dispersion ranked last (7 per cent), evidencing that distance plays a minor role nowadays. Good service provision and guaranteed delivery date and time are the main criteria for selecting 3PL/4PL. Cost is important but not the top priority, especially given the many disruptions supply chains are facing. About 70 per cent of respondents report longer lead times and 60 per cent mention reduced container availability. Automation is key to face these challenges, with cloud-based applications at the top of the technology list. While several organisations are working to manage their environmental impact, few collect data from suppliers on emissions (14 per cent). And geopolitical tensions are evident in that most opportunities in the next 12 months shifted from China to other countries.

What are the implications of these insights for supply chain professionals? 

Organisations were faced with extraordinary disruptions this year: lockdowns, bottlenecks, supply scarcity, lower service levels, increased costs. The key to success is firmly based on more integration and collaboration through automation, effective risk management, and the revitalisation of the procurement function around sustainability. To achieve that, organisations must gather a pool of talented supply chain professionals like never before, able to cope with the unknowns, ready to up the game, and find opportunity in a  difficulty market.

For more information on ASCI, click here. 

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