UK lags in supply chain IT integration

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Almost 60 per cent of UK IT managers admit that they lack a consolidated view of data across their supply chains – much higher than in France or Germany, according to research conducted for Sterling Commerce by Vanson Bourne.

Vanson Bourne questioned more than 300 IT managers in the UK, France and Germany and found that UK businesses have the lowest levels of application integration across Europe, with 20 per cent not integrated at all. As many as one in five UK respondents admitted to gaining no competitive advantage at all from their IT systems.

Despite operating fewer supply chain management applications than their European counterparts, 57 per cent of UK IT managers admitted that they lacked a consolidated view of data across their supply chains, compared with 14 per cent in France and 33 per cent in Germany.

In turn, 50 per cent of UK IT Managers said they felt confident they could track orders in real-time, a key requirement of efficient order-to-fulfilment, compared to 64 per cent of French and 63 per cent of German respondents.

The survey also found that nine out of 10 European retail and manufacturing businesses are struggling to automate the order-to-fulfilment cycle, as a result of major application integration challenges. As a consequence, process gaps are preventing 72 per cent of companies from adding new sales channels to target growth market opportunities.

David Hogg of Sterling Commerce said: “These results strongly suggest that UK businesses are facing a dual challenge; not only is poor integration having an impact on internal efficiency but it is actually adversely impacting their ability to respond quickly to changing market demands, such as profitably launching a new sales channel or on-boarding new trading partners.”

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