The Supply Chain Top 25: Raising the bar


September 01, 2012 - LM Editorial

Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25, published since 2004, is an annual ranking of leaders in the global supply chain. At its core, the Supply Chain Top 25 is about demand-driven leadership. Every year, we identify the companies that push the envelope of supply chain innovation. Our goal is to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline, as well as how it impacts the business, and to catalyze the debate and the cross-fertilization of ideas about what supply chain excellence really means.

What Is the definition of excellence?
Our methodology, detailed below, is based on a composite score for each company that is made up of a set of financials combined with an opinion component, providing a balance between objective and subjective components. In completing their ballots, voters are asked to identify those companies they believe are furthest along the journey toward the demand-driven ideal, as defined in Gartner research and on the voting website.

What does it mean to be demand-driven? Exhibit 1, on page 12 captures the organizational ideal of demand-driven principles as applied to the global supply chain. This model has three overlapping areas of responsibility:

  • Supply management—Planning, sourcing, manufacturing, logistics.

  • Demand management—Marketing, sales, and service.

  • Product management—R&D, engineering, and product development.

Excellence is a matter of visibility, communication, and reliable processes that link all three of these functional areas together. When these processes work together, the business can respond quickly and efficiently to opportunities arising from market or customer demand. Defining characteristics of supply chains built to this design include the ability to manage demand rather than just respond to it, a networked rather than linear approach to global supply, and the ability to embed innovation in operations rather than keep it isolated in the laboratory. The demand-driven model is inherently circular and self-renewing, unlike the push supply chains of our factory-centric industrial past.

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