On June 25th, I attended the 2015 Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 webinar. Each year Gartner surveys the business landscape and identifies companies that standout in supply chain management, evaluating with a continuously evolving methodology based on financial and opinion data. These companies are placed on a pedestal to help evaluate and extract trends and best practices in the discipline. Traits that endure the test of time and separate the good from the best in supply chain management include an outside-in focus, embedded innovation, extended supply chains, an addiction to excellence, and vision coupled with phenomenal execution. Gartner recognized three predominant supply chain trends that recurred among the top 25 over the past year:

  • Bi-modal Strategies – finding ways to drive down costs while simultaneously promoting the company’s top line
  • Customer Intimacy – utilizing the supply chain to improve customer experience and making it a supply chain priority
  • Digital Business – digitally synchronizing factories with upstream suppliers and incorporating predictive analytics

Many on the list are exactly who you would expect, with Amazon taking the number one spot and Home Depot tying the list off at number 25. The list comprises a wide range of industries, from Retail to Food and Beverage to Automotive to Technology. Two companies, Apple and Procter and Gamble, have been left off of the list and placed in a category of their own, as they are recognized as Masters in the field of supply chain management. We will see in the coming years who else will achieve such success. Some additional highlights that I found to be particularly interesting include:

  • Amazon – Amazon is distinguished as number one (despite a return on assets of zero), not only for its excellent logistics but particularly for its adamant commitment to innovation (e.g., same-day deliveries in 50 metro areas, Amazon Dash, etc.)
  • Coke and Pepsico – 11 and 15 (respectively), these companies are recognized for their direct-delivery models, as well as their impressive demand management
  • Seagate – at 16, Seagate is acknowledged for its customer value centers; more impressively, Seagate provides access to in-house “tiger teams” (small teams of highly skilled individuals in various disciplines) to suppliers in order to generate improvements in their respective companies (which tends to be far more valuable than simple monetary aid), which translates into money saved on both sides
  • Home Depot – sliding in at 25, Home Depot is recognized for its direct fulfillment centers, as well as its click and collect capabilities (i.e., buy online and pick up in store)

The three main recommendations Gartner makes in light of its findings are as follows:

  • Tailor your supply chain capabilities and align them to support both growth and cost efficiency where they are needed most by the business.
  • Make customer experience a first-tier metric in your supply chain organization.
  • Explore and adopt digital business capabilities in the areas best suited to your industry, business model and supply chain maturity level.

The respective report goes into much more detail regarding methodology, key takeaways, and company analysis. If you would like to view the entirety of the report yourself, you may do so by following this URL (if you have not set up a free account with Gartner, you will be required to do so):


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Ben Petock

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