January 7, 2022

Highlights from this report are available below. The full version of the report is available to all members of the Zero100 Community through their sign-in credential.



Supply chain’s credibility is under scrutiny. Expectations are exploding for what we owe our customers, partners, investors, and society. Suddenly, “faster, better, cheaper” is thinking small.

As a profession, we are at a turning point anchored by three mega trends: COVID, ESG, and Digital. The impact of these megatrends on supply chain—and more critically, the impact of supply chain on these megatrends—will accelerate us on a course to reinvent the production, distribution, and consumption of physical goods worldwide.  

As leaders, it’s on us to learn how to harness the transformative power of digital technology, while applying the principles of circularity in our operations, to build global supply chains that are Zero Percent Carbon and 100% Digital.

The Game Board

At this turning point, supply chain credibility is under scrutiny. People everywhere want supply chain leaders to figure out how to chart a path through the challenges ahead. This path requires future-facing, aspirational capabilities that use digital to thrive through today’s turning point and lead on ESG outcomes. 

The credibility in how we source, make, and deliver everything people use and want is the subject of investigative reporting, social media rants, and the occasional meme. Low credibility weakens us and hurts team morale. High credibility means we can attract the best talent, build trust with business partners, work better with governments, and most important of all, engage customers as collaborators as we make the next move in the turning points that face us. Unfortunately, the process of evaluating our credibility hot spots and cold spots, and of benchmarking capability leaders, has been clumsy at best. 

By pooling hundreds of ideas from supply chain leaders, tech innovators, young entrepreneurs, and consumer activists, Zero100 has curated a focused and growing list of digital initiatives that comprise a framework for accelerating supply chain moves toward Zero Percent Carbon, 100% Digital. Some initiatives are more audacious than others, and all reflect where and how the Zero100 community is combining digital technologies to profitably give customers what they want, while engaging them in our collective duty to save the world. 

These initiatives are organized in The Game Board, a “you are here” map that explores the intersections of supply chain functions (Plan, Source, Make, Move, Sell, Use, Regenerate) and top-level performance indicators (Speed, Cost, Accountability). Each intersection contains a growing inventory of Aspirational Capabilities that outline future-facing moves to become a Zero100 supply chain.

Pick a Space…

Autonomous Future

Definition: Lay the foundation for a fully autonomous logistics network with the technology strides in self-driving vehicles, decentralized workforces, and autonomous co-working co-bots.

Intersection: Cost x Move

Sample of Aspirational Capabilities: Self-Driving Fleet

Watch This Space: The global market for autonomous vehicles is expected to grow over 10x by 2030, with over half (55%) of small businesses predicting their fleets will be fully autonomous within the next 20 years.As machine vision improves early empirical data on incidents per mile driven in tandem with fleet scale, consumer sentiment toward drones and self-driving vehicles has also shown rapid improvement over the course of the pandemic.

Aspirational Capabilities for Supply Chain: In an ongoing effort to deliver customer purchases quickly and efficiently, Walmart has partnered with numerous organizations to test the scalability of next-gen logistics systems. In June 2021, they partnered with DroneUp, a global drone services provider. In September 2021, they announced a partnership with Ford Motor Company and Argo AI to launch a self-driving vehicle delivery service in three major metropolitan markets. And most recently, in November 2021, they partnered with Gatik to pilot autonomous trucking between a Walmart dark store and a Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Agile Sourcing

Definition: New strategies are needed to respond to decreasing availability of materials and parts, accelerating innovation cycles, and dynamic supply chain networks.

Intersection: Speed x Source

Sample of Aspirational Capabilities: Attribute-Based Material Sourcing

Watch This Space: Disruptions across supply chains are evident as inventory levels plunged -25% in 2021, with the majority of manufacturers experiencing fallout from the extended port crisis. Meanwhile, rising costs are being passed directly onto the consumer, due in part to rapid depletion of critical materials in the coming decades (see below). In addition to responding to disruptions, rising costs, and depleting materials, sourcing and procurement is also on point to address ESG concerns with suppliers, influencing global ESG investments of $50 trillion by 2025.

Aspirational Capabilities for Supply Chain: CPG companies are leveraging multiple data inputs—including supply plans accounting for available resources vs. inventories of equivalent raw materials—to create more accurate and efficient forecasts.In direct disclosures, Unilever outlined how they are moving Regenerative Agriculture Principles upstream to suppliers of major inputs (e.g. palm oil, paper, soy). Ongoing “lighthouse” projects describe the goal of assigning these common inputs compliance qualities to better inform sourcing initiatives.

Carbon Negative

Definition: The planet is warming, carbon levels are at a record high, and supply chains contribute over 90% of an organization’s carbon – the path forward is applying technology innovations to create carbon negative solutions and supply chains.

Intersection: Accountability x Regenerate

Sample of Aspirational Capabilities: Carbon++ Accounting

Watch This Space: The next decade will prove crucial for stalled progress on carbon emissions, called a “code red for humanity” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At a time when budget leaders such as the United States are called on to invest heavily in infrastructure, the global carbon budget is still tracking towards depletion by 2030., Markets may help it along, but only if supply chains invest in the technology to capture carbon as a viable input material, allowing carbon capture markets to improve their odds of breaking even within 10 years.

Aspirational Capabilities for Supply Chain: Caterpillar has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. To help reach their 2030 sustainability goals, they acquired CarbonPoint Solutions in September 2021. CarbonPoint’s patented technology (Semi-Closed Cycle Systems) enables Caterpillar to capture CO2 from equipment engines and turbines at oil and gas sites. This technology allows Caterpillar (and its customers) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in tandem.

Your Move

Zero100 is a community and business intelligence platform created to help close the gap between our aspirations for digitally transformed, ESG-accountable supply chains and the practical benchmarking, business-case building, and talent development resources available to help us get there.

The Zero100 Index is a new way to identify diverse and often less obvious leadership benchmarks that offer lessons on how supply chain initiatives are being rolled out in practice. It is created in conjunction with the wider Zero100 community, as well as other thought leaders, and it is intended to change and evolve on a regular cadence—in order to anticipate and keep pace with ever-faster supply chain innovation cycles.

The Zero100 Gambit is about taking the next steps together, to accelerate progress across the community.

Create New Goal Posts by seeing the Index results for your supply chain, exploring your Hot Spots and Cold Spots, and identifying potential areas to dive deeper into.

Widen Your Perspectives by exploring the Game Board to identify outlier leaders showing how aspirational capabilities can work in the areas of interest to you.

Brainstorm with Others by using your Index results, case studies and aspirational capability interests to be paired with others whose Hot Spot profiles fit with areas you want to grow in your own supply chain.

We are at a turning point anchored in COVID, ESG, and Digital. Supply chain’s influential role in the path forward is higher than ever. Accept the Zero100 Gambit and explore the Credibility, Game Board, and Community Moves outlined here to accelerate the push towards a supply chain that is Zero Percent Carbon, 100% Digital.

About Our Research

We research the intersection of megatrends transforming supply chain management now—the digitization of operations versus rising customer expectations of accountability for environmental and social impact. These megatrends are driving operations leaders to make unprecedented strategic bets on DIGITAL capabilities, ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) commitments and reporting,
and PEOPLE organization and development.

Our research is designed to treat your time as a precious commodity, to provoke your thinking and to be easily leveraged with your team. It is built on a content architecture that ties every research asset back to how we deliver on the Zero100 mission and assumes that the community is smarter than any single voice or subject matter expert.

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