The Profitability of Next-Gen Supply Chains

An image of an Accenture building seen against a blue sky.

Companies with the most mature supply chains are 23% more profitable than their peers, according to new research from Accenture. These leading companies are six times more likely to widely use AI and generative AI across their supply chains, generating additional business value.

Accenture’s report, “Next stop, next-gen”,  analyzed 1,148 companies across 15 countries and 10 industries. It defined supply chain maturity based on the use of generative AI, advanced machine learning, and other evolving technologies for autonomous decision-making, advanced simulations, and continuous improvement.

Leaders in Supply Chain Maturity

The top 10% of companies, referred to as “Leaders,” achieved 23% higher margins than their peers (11.8% vs. 9.6%) between 2019 and 2023. They also delivered 15% better returns to shareholders (8.5% vs. 7.4%).

Leaders are heavily investing in sophisticated technologies, particularly AI and generative AI, to build the next generation of supply chain capabilities. These capabilities are crucial for reinventing supply chains for efficiency, agility, sustainability, and resilience.

The Bigger Picture

Despite the promising figures among leaders, the overall picture is concerning. The average supply chain maturity score has increased by more than 50% between 2019 and 2023, but the average score across all companies remains low, at just 36%.

Companies with supply chain maturity scores of 25% or lower, which is almost one in three companies, must act quickly to catch up. Otherwise, they risk not surviving in today’s new economic and industrial context.

The research underscores the importance of advanced supply chain capabilities in today’s economic context. Companies can no longer rely on old supply chain levers such as global low-cost sourcing and specialized factories in low-cost locations. The next-generation supply chains will autonomously adapt to change and be sustainable by design.