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Supply Chain and Logistics Services Delivery: Study Reveals Future Trends

KPMG and HfS Research recently released their annual market study on the State of the Outsourcing, Shared Services, and Operations Industry. This study examines topics such as changes to organizational operating and service delivery models and adoption levels, challenges, and opportunities related to process and cognitive automation.

The report also provides some interesting insights into current and future, often-dramatic, changes to supply chain and logistics service delivery models.

Organizations have already begun to transition the delivery of supply chain and logistics services from an internal model to an external one. In the 2013 edition of this market study, only 21 percent of respondent organizations outsourced supply chain and logistics service delivery.

In this year’s study, this number had jumped to 37 percent.

In parallel, the use of a shared services model to deliver supply chain and logistic services remained high at 39 percent but declined slightly over the last four years.

The future of service delivery is not just about outsourcing, but rather the increased use of robotics process automation (RPA). Today, 7 percent of respondent organizations have fully implemented and production-scale RPA efforts in place to support and deliver supply chain and logistic services, and 25 percent are implementing or piloting RPA efforts. These activity levels are among the highest measured across all functional areas.

Obviously, outsourcing and the use of RPA are a key means for organizations to cut costs as well as, ideally, improve process effectiveness. Our advice, however—especially with RPA and, longer-term, the more complex use of cognitive automation—is not to focus solely on cost savings.

Beyond cost savings, there are other potential major benefits process automation can bring, including better insights into the health of suppliers and the supply chain overall, the ability to more proactively identify problems in the supply chain and, ultimately, to create truly “intelligent” supply chains. It is critical organizations not sell themselves short on simply saving money. This will differentiate the leaders from the laggards.