Gartner Sees Capabilities for CSCOs to Compete with Industry Disruptors
January 25, 2021
Organizations with Customer Focus and Innovation Mindset Can Set Themselves
supply chain officers (CSCOs) can adapt capabilities of nontraditional
competitors to be better equipped to fit the needs of modern customers and
support new business models, according to Gartner, Inc.
“Nontraditional competitors – especially digital giants, such as Amazon and
Alibaba, as well as startups – are reshaping industries through disruptive
innovation, the ability to uncover and address unknown customer needs and very
agile supply chains,” said Pierfranceso Manenti, vice president analyst with the
Gartner Supply Chain Practice. “Most CSCOs from large established organizations
we interviewed believe that nontraditional competitors are better fit to
navigate the disruptions and long-term new realities that the COVID-19 pandemic
To find opportunity in crisis and compete against their industry’s disruptors,
CSCOs must transform their traditional supply chains. Gartner recommends
focusing on four critical capabilities to compete against nontraditional supply
chains (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Four Capabilities to Compete Against Nontraditional Supply Chains
Become Close to Customers
Customer proximity and intimacy – the ability to know which products and
services customers really want – is critical for an organization’s success.
However, this characteristic is one that many established companies risk losing
over time, which opens a window for competitors. As companies are lulled into
complacency by long-established strategies in supply chain, sales, marketing and
product development gaps arise in product and service offerings. To start
getting closer to the customer again, CSCOs must gather voice of the customer (VoC)
data and create customer journey maps to discover critical touchpoints.
Instill an Innovation Mindset
Customers want better, cooler and smarter products, and solutions and services
with extended capabilities. They also want a continuous flow of innovative
products developed and launched without delays.
Survey results show that 44% of respondents are planning to adopt an agile
product development methodology to become faster at launching new products.
“Established organizations are now planning to operate much like a startup-like
when it comes to innovation,” Mr. Manenti added. “To create the necessary
innovation culture, CSCOs need to engage their employees with a strong sense of
purpose and inspire them with shared beliefs to guide decision making.”
Create an Agile Supply Chain
agile supply chain organization makes use of self-forming teams and data-driven
decision-making to become more responsive. By embracing less hierarchical
organizing and leadership models, companies are able to engage more of their
talent to develop new ideas across operations, products and customer service.
Align the Operating Model to New Business Models
An advantage that nontraditional competitors frequently have over established
companies is that they don’t follow the established supply chain conventions.
These new competitors — especially emerging startups — often solely focus on
achieving innovation as their business goal, instead of having to achieving the
performance metrics that management and markets expect from established
“Many supply chain executives operate separate supply chain segments within
their global networks to support emerging new products. Those segments rely on
third-party contract manufacturers and use different distribution channels than
the traditional supply chain. This combination of conventional and innovative
supply chain segments is a recipe for success for traditional organizations,”
Mr. Manenti concluded.