2020 is the year that lit resilience and agility on fire in supply chain, and for good reason. Supply chain leaders everywhere found themselves asking the same question: what does it take to bounce back from this? As many started digging into their ecosystem and how decisions are made, they are finding alarming gaps in business processes and decision making. In a recent ABBYY survey, 60% of senior decision-makers said there are exceptions and deviations to complete processes, meaning employees must find workarounds to ensure successful outcomes.1

As inputs into process and decision making open the eyes of the C-suite, other often over-looked topics are being unearthed and spurring new conversations in the boardroom. 

Making the “right” business decisions 

For businesses to remain competitive, and for the supply chain industry to continue serving as the vital cornerstone for businesses’ success, major progress inequality, equity, and ethics relating to people, processes and technology is going to be more than essential, it will be fundamental to future growth. With recent social movements and the world’s nations committed to promoting quality life for all through the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, being transparent about making ethical, social and environmentally responsible business decisions is critical to trust.  

But what if doing what’s “right” and doing what’s profitable aren’t mutually exclusive decisions?  

Making profitable business decisions 

A global study by McKinsey found that organizations with more gender-diverse leadership teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to outperform on value creation. It also showed that organizations with more ethnic and cultural diversity were more likely to achieve higher profitability; companies with more diverse executive teams performing 33% above-average and those with more diverse boards performing 43% above-average.2

As social and environmental movements continue to spread across the globe, consumers are taking notice and are making purchasing decisions accordingly. Support of black and minority-owned companies is increasing at a rapid rate and the more environmentally conscious generations are gaining purchasing power. A recent consumer survey found that fewer people (44%) consider price as the most important attribute of a company compared to environmentally friendly business practices (71%), social responsibility (68%), and giving back to the local community (68%).3

Even with a sound business case for increased focus on diversity, inclusion, ethics, and social responsibility, there is still a sizable opportunity for growth in each of these areas in the supply chain industry.4 For supply chain leaders interested in seizing competitive advantage, new guidelines, strategy, and responsible decision-making frameworks need to be developed. 

A purpose-driven series 

In our upcoming series, we will take nuanced looks into the people, processes and technology essential to creating an ideal environment for supply chain leaders to thrive. We will uncover the barriers that have led to massive gaps in gender equality and diversity in supply chain, set the groundwork required for moving towards a more inclusive and equitable future, and provide roadmaps for making more socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible business decisions.  

We hope that by highlighting these issues, we can advance the understanding that’s needed to work toward solutions to encourage change within the industry. We want to help blur the line between doing what’s “right” and doing what’s profitable. After all, we may find that they are one and the same.  

To learn more about D&I at Blue Yonder, visit our new DIVE IN series. Join us next week as we dive into our first topic, women in supply chain.  

[1] “State of Process Mining and Robotic Process Automation 2020 global report”, ABBYY.com, May 2020.

[2] Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Lareina Yee, “Delivering Through Diversity”, McKinsey & Company, January 2018.

[3] Toby A. Cox, “How Corporate Social Responsibility Influences Buying Decisions”, Clutch.co, January 2019.

[4] Mona A. Maurelli, Adam Mussomelli, “Inclusion as the competitive advantage”, Deloitte.com, 17 April 2020