DUBAI, UAE: Distributors and supply chain organizations in the Middle East and Africa are taking a digital approach to tap into the immense growth opportunities in the region, but many are facing significant challenges, including a lack of visibility across the entire supply chain, a lack of skills and a reliance on legacy systems, according to an IDC Technology Spotlight commissioned by Infor, the industry’s cloud computing company.
The opportunity in the distribution sector is particularly pronounced in the GCC and Egypt, where national visions to support economic growth and diversification, and rapidly growing young populations, are driving demand for logistics services and Supply Chain. For example, Saudi Arabia’s national industrial development and logistics program plans to add $320 billion to the country’s gross domestic product by 2030, while the United Arab Emirates aims to triple the contribution. economic growth in the industrial sector over the next 10 years thanks to its “Operation 300 billion” strategy.
The most significant challenges faced by distribution and supply chain players in the MEA region relate to outdated data, skills and systems, according to IDC’s 2022 MEA Supply Chain Survey. Indeed, 49% of respondents said data and analytics capabilities are too slow. and not in real time; 43% cited a lack of digital skills; 36% a lack of quality data or large unstructured data sets; and 34% cited outdated IT systems.
Legacy systems are a particularly common problem. IDC’s survey found that most organizations in MEA still rely on spreadsheets and standalone applications to run the supply chain function. These systems lack the integration capabilities that allow organizations to work effectively across industry ecosystems and hinder the effective use of business intelligence.
These challenges have a significant impact on the ability of distributors to respond effectively to growing demand. For example, 56% of survey respondents said they faced a lack of supply chain visibility and flexibility to see market changes in real time, which hindered their ability to respond to market threats and opportunities. Meanwhile, 45% said they face a lack of digital skills, limiting their ability to transition the supply chain to new business models.
“Retailers in the MEA region have the potential to achieve significant growth in the coming years as regional economies grow and diversify. But to get there, they’ll need to overcome key barriers to true digital transformation,” said Jebin George, IDC’s Senior Program Manager for Customer Insights and Analytics.
The most effective way for businesses to transform is to adopt a cloud-based, digital-first approach and invest in the best digital solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, supply chain management systems (SCM), warehouse management. (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS), noted IDC in its briefing note.
Kerry Koutsikos, Infor’s General Manager and Vice President, Middle East and Africa, said, “With our industry-specific cloud-based solutions, Infor is uniquely positioned to help logistics companies and Middle Eastern retailers achieve their transformation goals, including improving visibility across the supply chain and increasing their agility to respond quickly to market changes. We look forward to continuing to help organizations transform their operations and build their capacity to serve the dynamic economies and national visions of the region.
Infor is already supporting the transformation efforts of organizations involved in retail in the region. For example, Zahid Tractor, a supplier of construction machinery and utility vehicles, has transformed the way it interfaces with OEM partners, increasing supply chain visibility and improving service levels for its customers, after deploying Infor M3 for Equipment (a suite of manufacturing, distribution, equipment dealership, rental ERP solutions). The solution was implemented as a hybrid model, with workloads hosted on-premises and in the public cloud. Infor M3 met all the requirements of Zahid Tractor’s interface-focused initiatives with its OEM partners.
Infor M3 transforms key areas of Zahid Tractor’s operations, from equipment lifecycle, employee productivity and rental service to maintenance, field service, refurbishment and manufacturing . This end-to-end solution provides administrators, management and front-line teams with valuable data that facilitates planning, daily operations, control and decision-making.
Infor is a global leader in industry-specific enterprise cloud software. We develop complete solutions for our target industries, including industrial manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, food and beverage, automotive, aerospace and defense and high technology. Infor’s business-critical applications and services are designed to deliver lasting business benefits with security and faster return on investment. We are obsessed with delivering successful business results for clients. More than 60,000 organizations in more than 175 countries rely on Infor’s 17,000 employees to help them achieve their business goals. As a Koch company, our financial strength, ownership structure and long-term vision enable us to foster long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with our customers.
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