Supply Chains Are a Top Driver of Client Demand for Professional Services in 2021, but Some Clients Still Struggle to Realize the Full Value

ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research finds that while professional services providers typically approach supply chain challenges with advanced technology-based solutions, Market Leaders and Pacesetters realize success in part is due to a focus on proper alignment between technology, operations, employees, and network partner relationships

New analysis from ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research shows that problems accumulated over the years with supply chain management and organization suddenly reached critical mass due to COVID-19, making supply chains an emergency priority for clients. This emergency prioritization means that along with M&A and restructuring, supply chains are a top driver of client demand in 2021. However, many providers and clients have been distracted by advanced new technologies in their search for remedies.

“Aside from the unexpected, abrupt disruptions caused by COVID-19, most of the problems supply chains face have been around for a long time,” pointed out ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research Analyst Lead Tomek Jankowski. “Advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, data visualization, automation (RPA), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are playing a key role in helping clients achieve agile, flexible, transparent, and ultimately resilient supply chains. However, Market Leaders and Pacesetters have come to realize that without proper internal alignment of these technology capabilities across operations, people and strategy, as well as external partners, SCM strategies will sputter and fail.”

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Market Leaders and Pacesetters have come to realize that without proper internal alignment of technology capabilities across operations, people, and strategy, as well as external partners, SCM strategies will sputter and fail. Said Tomek Jankowski, Lead Analyst, ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research

Market Leaders and Pacesetters differentiate themselves by positioning some element of change management as the spear point in their offering, ensuring the collaborative inter-connectivity of human, machine, and process in supply chains. This collaborative inter-connectivity has translated into heightened attention in some providers’ offerings to designing optimized human-vs-digital labor models, including a strong emphasis on training and upskilling.

In ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research: Supply Chains 2021-2022, the Pacesetter Advisory Council assesses nineteen providers’ strategies and service offerings identified as Market Leaders for their ability to deliver client impact in today’s ever-shifting supply chain environment. Additionally, the research and analysis provide insights into the competitive dynamics and service delivery trends, driving convergence across legal, management consulting, multiservice and technology providers.

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Research Highlights:

  • Supply chains have been steadily absorbing professional services providers’ time, and efforts since the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake in Japan briefly snarled global supply chains, with more recent events – Brexit, US-China trade tensions, COVID-19, the Evergreen blocking of the Suez Canal, etc. – steadily compounding the urgency
  • With continued global political and economic volatility, the emphasis on supply chain projects has shifted from horizon scanning to developing flexible, agile, regionalized networks able to respond to sudden supply shifts quickly
  • Like M&A and restructuring, supply chains have been elevated in client organization importance to the board level, which translates into very different types of engagement for providers
  • An important recent development has been that COVID-19, in particular, has hastened the adoption of demand-driven supply chain frameworks, which seek to design inter-connected supply chains which are better able to react to shifting market demand more nimbly

ALM Intelligence evaluated the supply chain capabilities of the following providers: Accenture, Argon & Co., Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, CAMELOT Management Consultants, Deloitte, Efficio, EY, GEP, Hogan Lovells, Kearney, KPMG, Mayer Brown, McKinsey & Company, North Highland, Porsche Consulting, PwC, Thompson Hine, and Trianz.