Apple retains lead in Gartner’s “top 25” supply chain survey

Gartner, Inc. released the findings from its eighth annual Supply Chain Top 25 with Apple securely nestled in its position at the top again

By ·

Given that “innovation” was the overriding theme of Gartner
Supply Chain Executive Conference held earlier this week in Palm Desert, California, it came as scant surprise that Apple was lauded for its remarkable achievements this year.

Gartner, Inc. released the findings from its eighth annual Supply Chain Top 25 with Apple securely nestled in its position at the top again. (See last year’s list.)

Dell and P&G were among five leading companies along with new contenders, Amazon and McDonald’s.

Prior to the awards ceremony, Debra Hofman, managing vice president at Gartner, said companies should seek and reward supply chain leaders who “innovate.”

“Up until recently, this was not a particular skill that was recognized or rewarded,” she said. “Fortunately, we see that changing now.”

The goal of the Supply Chain Top 25 research initiative is to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline and how it impacts the business.

“Last year, we noted that companies were starting to invest in resources and assets again, reflecting a newly recovering economy,” said Hofman, “This year, that trend continues even more strongly, with many companies investing for growth. The global economic recovery has been uneven and halting in some cases, but, on balance, the result has been expansionary for companies’ bottom lines and outlooks.”

Average annual revenue growth of the companies in the study increased 29 percent over the previous year. The average return on assets (ROA) and net profits improved by more than 50 percent in 2010, and then stabilized this year, signaling profitable growth.

Maintaining its record in the No. 1 slot was Apple, delivering total solutions to its customers through tightly integrated design of hardware components, firmware, a proprietary operating system and an ecosystem of applications that run on top of that platform. Stellar financials, which further improved this year, supported by the highest voting scores point to its combination of operational and innovation excellence, a zealous focus on starting with the consumer experience and working back through the design of its supply network, and mastery in orchestrating its end-to-end value network.

Gartner analysts said Amazon is a great example of an “orchestrator” that goes beyond simply borrowing and adapting others’ best practices and consistently defies conventional wisdom.

McDonald’s moved up five spots to No. 3 this year on strong financials and peer opinion votes. The ubiquitous restaurant chain has managed the balance between new product growth, and the resulting complexity in supply chain planning and execution.

Gartner Supply Chain Top 25:
1 Apple
2 Amazon
3 McDonald’s
4 Dell
5 P&G
6 The Coca-Cola Company
7   Intel
8   Cisco Systems
9 Wal-Mart Stores
10 Unilever
11 Colgate-Palmolive
12   PepsiCo
13 Samsung
14 Nike
15 Inditex
16 Starbucks
17 H&M
18 Nestle
19 Research In Motion (RIM)
20 Caterpillar
21 3M
22 Johnson & Johnson
23 Cummins
24 HP
25 Kimberly-Clark

Supply chain: Gartner announces rankings of 2011 Supply Chain Top 25
The goal of the Supply Chain Top 25 research initiative is to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline and how it impacts the business.??


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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