The study, conducted by enterprise business solutions provider HSO, also revealed that 85% of manufacturers regard supply chain management as an urgent priority in their business with over three-quarters of respondents (83%) citing end-to-end supply chain visibility as important.

Mark Breeden, senior account manager at HSO commented: “The supply chain is a fundamental part of a manufacturer’s business and it is vital to have the correct processes in place to ensure proper management and complete end-to-end visibility. Without these, manufacturers are leaving themselves at risk of failing to have the correct supplies to meet demand.”

Looking ahead to which technologies will have the greatest impact on transforming the supply chain of the future, electric and autonomous vehicles were revealed to be top of the list, at 18%. This was followed by machine learning (16%), while artificial intelligence was only cited by 6%.

The study also found that managing the increasing cost of raw materials was viewed as the most important market challenge facing manufacturing organisations today, according to nearly two thirds (61%) of manufacturers. This was followed by ‘growing customer demands around quality’ (47%) and ‘customers expecting ever faster delivery times’ (43%).

“When supply chains expand, they become more complex and without the latest technology in place they will become unsustainable. There is likely to be a period of flux in the cost of raw materials over the next year or more with a turbulent economic climate predicted, so manufacturers must think about future-proofing operations” added Breeden.