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US consulting firm Gartner presented in May a list of 25 companies that manage the supply chain best. This year’s leader was 5th in the ranking last year. 

This is the 16th edition of the Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. This year, Cisco System took first place. The 2019 top five players remained in the top five also this year, i.e. Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Schneider Electric and Nestlé. Six new companies have joined this year’s list: Lenovo, AbbVie, British American Tobacco, Reckitt Benckiser, Biogen and Kimberly Clark. The following companies fell out of the ranking: German BASF, sports goods manufacturer Adidas, Samsung Electronics, Novo Nordisk, Home Depot and Akzo Nobel.

In our 16th edition of the Supply Chain Top 25 ranking we have an impressive group of leaders with new experiences. (…) With substantial amounts of the economy closed due the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders need an agile strategy that allows the supply chain organization to sense and respond to changes in the business context as they happen. Our ranking highlights companies that possess these strategies,” said Mike Griswold, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice.

Griswold explained that Cisco’s revenue growth, strength in environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) and recognition of leadership in community opinion polls drove the move up from the fifth position in 2019 to the top spot this year. 

Here is the complete Supply Chain Top 25 ranking

  1. Cisco Systems
  2. Colgate-Palmolive
  3. Johnson&Johnson
  4. Schneider Electric
  5. Nestlé
  6. PepsiCo
  7. Alibaba
  8. Intel
  9. Inditex
  10. L’Oréal
  11. Walmart
  12. HP Inc.
  13. Coca Cola Company
  14. Diageo
  15. Lenovo
  16. Nike
  17. AbbVie
  18. BMW
  19. Starbucks
  20. H&M
  21. British American Tobacco
  22. 3M
  23. Reckitt Benckiser
  24. Biogen
  25. Kimberly-Clark

Three key trends

According to Gartner, three key trends are emerging this year. Supply chain teams at leading companies define their work using the language of purpose. 

They have recognized that solving the world’s largest problems only works through partnership with others in the broader community, as well as through their own radical transparency, reads the Gartner report. 

In the time of COVID-19, it has been a marvel to witness the strength and creativity of the supply chain community in keeping our society fed, supplied and healthy,” Griswold said. “For example, we’ve seen apparel companies manufacturing personal protective equipment and airlines converting dormant warehouses into food processing centres. Those shifts would normally have taken months or quarters to plan and execute. However, purpose-driven supply chain talent managed to shorten these timeframes to a couple of weeks,” stressed Griswold.

According to Gartner, one of the largest external forces impacting corporate supply chains is a dynamic competitive landscape driven by a combination of expanded customer expectations and new market entrants. Leading supply chain organizations have learned to thrive in that environment. 

Third, the top companies are also digital orchestrators. Leading companies on the Supply Chain Top 25 are early and frequent adopters of digital technologies.  Investments in digital solutions enable business capabilities and outcomes that allow them to thrive in even the harshest economic conditions.

In the current environment, the natural tendency of many companies is to pull back spending, including money tied to transformational programs. Advanced supply chains are pressing forward, and in some cases, accelerating investments in real-time visibility, planning and agile supply execution capabilities that are well-suited for supporting uncertain demand mixes and volumes,” Griswold concluded.

Photo: TGW

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