The Supply Chain Top 25: Raising the bar

By Sarah · September 1, 2012

Characteristics of Leaders
At Gartner, we’ve been researching and writing about the importance of being demand-driven since 2003. Since that time, we’ve published hundreds of pieces on the transformation to a demand-driven value network. We continue to research these concepts and advise companies as they recognize the value of becoming a demand-driven organization.

While every supply chain organization develops unique strategies and focuses on differentiated initiatives, we’ve found in our research that there are certain key characteristics that define the leaders. We have talked about some of these in past articles, and they remain important foundational elements to being demand-driven. But they are not easy to attain, and what differentiates the leaders in the Top 25 is that they are further along the journey than others. Demand-driven leaders go beyond best practices to build a foundation for growth and continual learning that constitutes an engine for superior competition.

These are among the key characteristics of the leaders we’ve observed:

Outside-in Focus. The concept of developing and maintaining an outside-in focus is almost synonymous with the phrase “demand driven.” The galvanizing principle here is to design the supply chain starting with the customer experience, and work back upstream through the supply chain. While the concept is relatively simple, its implementation is anything but. It requires a fundamental re-orientation not only in mindset, but in the way groups are measured and in the way networks and business processes are designed. An outside-in focus is not synonymous with a customer focus: companies can be—and often are—focused on the customer from the inside-out, as witnessed in service metrics such as on-time shipments or fill rates.

Embedded Innovation in Supply Chain. In our Demand Driven Value Network model, first published in 2004, the inclusion of a “product” circle to accompany supply and demand carried an explicit message about the importance of connecting traditional notions of supply chain with the new product development and launch process. The point is to ensure that new products are brought to market that satisfy the total customer experience profitably and effectively. Leaders understand the balance between operational excellence and innovation excellence (see Exhibit 2). Supply chain considerations must be taken into account early on in the new product development and launch process. And the fact that new products require different supply chain strategies than existing products must be taken into account in the supply chain design process.

Extended Supply Chains as Networks. Leaders take the notion of the organization as value chain one step further, designing and managing their supply chains as the extended networks of trading partners—customers’ customers, suppliers’ suppliers, logistics providers, contract manufacturers, third-party warehouses, etc. —that they really are. What they’re doing is orchestrating a set of activities across the network, aligning goals based on each player’s value proposition that will result in the desired outcome from that network—the profitable delivery of final product to a customer. 

Page 3 of 5 pages « First < 1 2 3 4 5 > Last »


Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Details Key to Cross-border Ease
Ever-changing regulations are making it risky for U.S. companies engaged in cross-border trade...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo