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Digital transformation will take patience

23 May 2024

The rhetoric is outpacing reality on value chain transformation, with only 1 in 100 manufacturers able to fully automate processes and just 14% redesigning to reduce scope 3 emissions, according to management consultancy Kearney.

THE WORLD Economic Forum, in collaboration with global consultancy Kearney, has released a White Paper exploring the actions manufacturing leaders are taking to redesign their global value chains along key trends that are reshaping those and transforming manufacturing systems. From Disruption to Opportunity: Strategies for Rewiring Global Value Chains is based on a survey of 300 global operations executives as well as 30 consultations, revealing a playbook of proven strategies enacted by leading manufacturers to redesign and future-proof their value chains in response to global challenges. However, the results also indicate a significant gap between strategic intent and operational delivery.

Mapped against the five key trends that are shaping the rewiring of global value chains, a gap exists between strategic intent and operational delivery.


92% of organisations are regionalising their manufacturing footprint, but only 28% aim to have nearly all-in-region-for-region operations by 2030.


64% or executives perceive AI solutions as the key to driving supply chain improvements, but only 1 in 100 have been able to eliminate manual Excel-like spreadsheets.


60% of the workforce needs training to bridge today’s skills gaps, but 23% of operations executives estimate the majority of their workforce is equipped with supply chain and operations skills they need by 2030.


45% of respondents highlighted sustainability as one of the two most important drivers for supply chain reconfiguration, but only 14% are redesigning their manufacturing network to reduce scope 3 emissions.


60% of those surveyed rated customer value as one of the priorities in driving supply chain reconfiguration, but 15% cited tangible actions taken to simultaneously strengthen performance, resilience and sustainability.

Kearney senior partner Per Hong, says: “It is evident industry leaders recognise the need for a wholesale rewiring of value chains in response to societal, environmental, and geopolitical upheavals. However, there is still work to do when it comes to operational delivery, largely due to the scale and complexity of the necessary changes, along with the opportunity costs. Closing this gap will require resources, patience, flexibility and agility, but must be a focus to overcome future value chain disruption.”

Read the full report here