Gartner's release of its 14th annual Supply Chain Top 25 provides an inside view of the elite corporations and their advanced practices that make them the best in the world.
In the Supply Chain Top 25 ranking, Unilever retains its number one spot with a composite score based on six categories, like Gartner and peer opinions, inventory turns, revenue growth, and more.
Popular trends include:
- Focusing on the total customer experience
- Scaling the digital supply chain capabilities
- Moving to circular supply chain designs
Gartner also identifies strategies of the top 25 — almost a third are named for their investment in analytics technology with AI and machine learning. Some of the use cases include optimizing manufacturing, gaining logistics visibility, improving production throughput and quality, and promoting integrated business planning.
Several companies cite the use of predictive analytics to determine ‘What will happen’ and prescriptive analytics, known for its ‘How can we make it happen’ in the Gartner Analytic Value Escalator.
- Recommended Strategies based on the Top 25
The Top 25 leaders from this report are applauded for delivering the total package in customer experience (CX), which Gartner defines as the customer's perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier's employees, channels, systems, and products.
Although CX may seem premature as an emphasis for the supply chain organization, it is a higher form of customer service levels — proactive, not reactive — an area where prescriptive analytics excels. Throughput and product mix are byproducts of capacity planning and inventory, which optimized manufacturing can produce to meet and exceed delivery expectations. In turn, this part of the supply chain process has a significant impact on the CX with faster turnarounds and quality products.
Apply Circular Economy Principles
The Top 25 Supply Chain group thinks about the business as a whole. According to Gartner, these companies put into practice what’s known as "circular economy" strategies, combining altruism for the environment and society with the commercial desire to differentiate themselves in competitive markets.
Prescriptive analytics is the one technology platform that can power the supply chain process, changing it from linear to circular with capabilities like:
- Improved sourcing by identifying the best place to manufacture and when
- Reduced waste by optimizing throughput
- Designed processes to close the loop, from cradle to cradle
Only advanced analytics can display ‘what-if’ scenarios to launch innovative strategies and build an accurate picture of a circular economy.
Align the Supply Chain Roadmap to a Broader Business Transformation
A few of the Top 25 are at the forefront of taking all things digitized like robotics, IoT, and extended automation with the goal to roadmap end-to-end visibility and real-time management for the business.
Companies like PepsiCo are working toward an end-to-end synchronization from point-of-demand back upstream through manufacturing and supply.
Former Frito-Lay (PepsiCo division) SVP Leslie Keating has said, “Driving visibility and end-to-end optimization in the supply chain is the single biggest opportunity for transformation within a business or enterprise.”
The expansion of smart technology creates infinitely more data points, which require a platform that consumes and optimizes the best ‘what-if’ scenarios. Prescriptive analytics is primed to take a single function, provide insights into these outcomes, and do just that — extend across the business, holistically.
Overall, Gartner notes that the Top 25 are those companies that have successfully shifted from the traditional disconnected approach. Instead they have moved to managing supply, demand, and product to an integrated approach, to coordinating plan, source, make, and deliver functions across the end-to-end supply.
Congratulations to the Top 25 in order of ranking: Unilever, Inditex, Cisco Systems, Colgate-Palmolive, Intel, Nike, Nestlé, Pepsico, H&M, Starbucks, 3M, Schneider Electric, Novo Nordisk, HP Inc., L’Oréal, Diageo, Samsung Electronics, Johnson & Johnson, BASF, Walmart, Kimberly-Clark, The Coca Cola Co., Home Depot, Adidas, and BMW.
Gartner clients can read more in "The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2018".