New survey reveals the challenges and barriers hindering supply chain business growth


Businesses in the supply chain and logistics sectors are being held back by a series of operational and technical challenges, according to a new survey looking into the state of the real-time visibility market from Sixfold by Transporeon. More than half (57.3%) of logistics professionals say poor visibility into operations was the biggest challenge they faced in 2020, followed by a lack of actionable data/intelligence (46.6%) and complex or inefficient processes (41.7%).

It’s therefore no surprise that optimising warehouse operations/streamlining processes is their biggest priority for 2021, along with improving the customer experience. These factors have taken on a newfound importance over the last 12 months, with both COVID-19 and Brexit wreaking havoc on supply chain and logistics operations across Europe.

Furthermore, although these logistics professionals recognise the key role of technology in improving supply chain management, many businesses are still facing a technology gap. While 86.3% believe AI and machine learning tools are important to their future, digital innovation/adoption is still being hindered by factors such as a lack of proof of ROI, financial restraints and resistance to change.

“Supply chain operations were put to the test like never before in 2020. Those companies that transformed their operations were the ones that successfully managed the disruption and uncertainty,” said Jesper Bennike, Executive Director of Sixfold. “Now, as we move through 2021, logistics businesses must be prepared to take things a step further. While the current focus is on tactical elements such as accurate ETAs and quick carrier onboarding, the future will be shaped by fully unified execution and visibility capabilities that allow real-time insights to be integrated as part of end-to-end transportation management.”

About the survey

Sixfold by Transporeon questioned more than 100 logistics professionals from the world’s biggest companies within multiple industries – including industrial chemicals, building materials and paper and printing – about the current state and future direction of the real-time visibility market. Respondents were primarily based across Europe, as well as covering the USA, Mexico and the Russian Federation.

The main goal of RTV solutions is to provide predictive estimated times of arrival for truck, ocean, air and rail transports, providing a real time view of any delays or disruptions. When combined with transport management solutions, RTV drives operational efficiency, improves communication, and supports sustainability. These benefits can be felt across the entire supply chain – empowering business to automate processes and make smarter, data-driven decisions across the full end-to-end process.

According to the survey, the industry’s momentum is going to grow as more businesses recognise the impact real-time visibility can have. More than a quarter (28.8%) of respondents are already implementing RTV, with a further 31.7% planning to do so in the next 6-12 months.