Technology providers were hailed for driving the most change in the supply chain sector at the last week’s SCALA Annual Supply Chain Debate.
The debate, which discussed who is driving developments in supply chain and customer service – retailers, brand owners, logistics companies or technology providers – found that technology companies were the main enablers of change, through innovations such as automation and robotics – with 56% of delegates agreeing. This was followed by retailers 25% and brand owners 14%.
In contrast, 49% of attendees argued that logistics companies need to do more to drive positive changes in the sector.
Over 150 senior industry professionals gathered at the Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire to hear speakers including Clare Bottle of Coca-Cola European Partners, Darren Jones of Sainsbury’s, Paul Durkin of Wincanton, Stephen Watson of Microlise and Leo Shen of SCALA China, discuss key themes affecting the industry.
A greater need for collaboration remained a key motif throughout the speeches, with industry leaders calling for more communication between retailers, logistic companies and technology providers to guarantee more targeted innovation to complement the customer proposition. The belief was this should not only come from start-ups, but also from major traditional brands, who should be leading the way.
Attracting new talent to the sector through the likes of apprenticeship schemes was also discussed as a key way for companies to encourage fresh ideas and innovation. And the implementation of a clear strategic approach to industry shifts was argued as the best way for companies to approach development.
John Perry, managing director of SCALA, said: “While it’s clear from the debate that technology companies are seen to be doing the most to drive sector innovation, the key takeaway from the speakers was a greater need for collaboration.
“Companies need to work together in order to best encourage beneficial change, with clear strategy implementation rather than knee-jerk reactions to emerging trends. Failing to do this could result in a waste of resource, while lacking the drive required for making developments and enhancements to the customer offering.”