Cost reduction is on the mind and tongue of manufacturers everywhere. According to a recent survey by IDC Manufacturing Insights, eighty percent of respondents said cost reduction of supply chain costs was the number one concern they had. This stems from increased complexity due to customer demand diversification, as well as extending global supply networks. The article from Supply Chain Brain quotes Simon Ellis of IDC explaining just what he saw in the survey results: “According to our findings, the key supply chain challenge facing all manufacturers today is the juxtaposing of complex and extended supply networks with increasingly fast and volatile demand networks – and the increasingly ineffective role for inventory as a way to buffer cadence mismatches,” said Simon Ellis, IDC Manufacturing Insights Practice Director. “While there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that 2012 may indeed represent the most challenging time in the history of the manufacturing supply chain, significant opportunities also abound in terms of the supply chain this year. For example, consumer-facing manufacturers have an opportunity to redefine their core relationship with the consumer through mobile and social media tools; or the ability to apply next-generation analytics to massive new sources of data (both structured and unstructured).” To face the challenges, manufacturers have increased low-cost country sourcing with IT support, IT based solutions to keep stakeholders, manufacturers, and suppliers on the same page, and a staggering increase in mobile and big data security and effectiveness.