Top Five Supply Chain Management Topics CIO's Should Focus On In 2018

By CIOReview | Monday, January 29, 2018

Austin, Texas (USA): Data and analytics have always been an essential foundation for supply chain management (SCM) professionals, but the process of how data is generated, aggregated and analyzed is very different today than it was even a few years ago. Thanks to IoT, devices are connected and cloud-enabled allowing for automated data entry and analytics. Actionable insights are now readily available enabling SCM professionals to make better decisions at a faster pace. But now that this technology is accessible, where should the C-level invest? What critical areas of focus do they see the most opportunity?

The annual SAP-Centric Supply Chain research project took the conference team across North America in a series of focus groups. After meeting with a diverse group of SCM professionals who operate in procurement, inventory, materials and logistics, the following top five themes emerged as the most impactful in 2018. Each topic has two common themes: data and technology.

Inventory Optimization & Inventory Management

Forecasting and predictive analytics are top of mind as SCM professionals constantly look to free up capital while maintaining optimal inventory levels. Inventory managers must find the perfect balance to prevent stock-outs, improve demand response time and asset utilization, reduce inventory and enable faster order cycle times. Without an optimized inventory methodology and solution in place, organizations are at risk of overpaying and underperforming.

MRO & Spare Parts

Asset-intensive industries have always struggled to maintain optimum levels of spare parts in inventory for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). Preventive and routine maintenance rely on the proper management of spare parts to complete their work. MRO & Spare Parts management teams must keep inventory carrying costs low while having enough parts on hand for maintenance to get the job done. This challenge is at the forefront for supply chain professionals because of the increase in innovative traceability technologies coupled with the challenge of managing the overflow of data generated.


We are operating in a mobile-based society with unlimited capabilities at our fingertips and supply chain is no different. Now more than ever, supply chain departments are equipped and inundated with a plethora of mobility tools and solutions. As a result, things like inventory management have been radically transformed from barcoding to RFIDs. To succeed in 2018, CIO’s are seeking best practices to effectively and efficiently utilize mobility.

Sourcing & Procurement

Sourcing and procurement departments strive to streamline processes across the organization to create better business controls while eliminating redundant data entry efforts. With the disruption of new technologies like Ariba, many CIO’s are struggling to understand which technologies are the best fit for their unique business needs. In 2018, organizations are seeking clarity in this area and are focusing on researching, analyzing and implementing tools to streamline procurement.

Warehouse Management

Underperformance in warehouse management can negatively impact the entire supply chain. To minimize this impact, asset intensive organizations are interested in learning how solutions like SAP’s Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) can help improve operations. From better visibility and management of inventory to workflows and space utilization, a successful warehouse operation is key to an organization’s supply chain success in 2018.

Visit to download the complete research report providing a comprehensive look at the supply chain trends and topics that emerged. These topics will be the framework for the content presented at the 2018 SAP-Centric Supply Chain conference.

Produced by Eventful Conferences in collaboration with ASUG (Americas’ SAP User Group) and SAP, SAP-Centric Supply Chain will take place March 26-28, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas. Register for SAP-Centric Supply Chain with promo code CIOReview18 to save up to $600. Visit for more information.

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