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The past 16 months will be remembered as the time supply chains raised their levels of performance to deal with the global pandemic. Supply chains were asked to adapt to changing demand and supply signals as well as to evolve their operating models. Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 for 2021 highlights leading companies and their ability to embrace agility and resiliency across their organization.
Agility and resilience are essential traits of supply chain leaders, especially during times of disruption. Companies reflected in the Supply Chain Top 25 use customer insights to evolve business models and embrace digital transformation initiatives.
These leading companies have embraced three key principles:
Integrated, Purpose-Driven Organizations — If ever there was a time that supply chain has operated at the intersection of people, planet and purpose, it is now. Supply chain is also having its star turn in the executive suite. One leader recently commented that he and his team feel like they are truly playing offense for the business. Many of the supply chains in Gartner’s Top 25 study were quite literally helping save the world and keeping society running during the darkest days of the pandemic. Now there is an opportunity to solve some of the world’s longer-term social and environmental challenges.
Customer-Driven Business Transformation — Prior to the COVID pandemic, corporate supply chains faced a dynamic competitive landscape driven by escalating customer requirements and competition from both existing players and new market entrants. Along with intermittent supply disruptions and larger-than-normal demand swings, the pandemic has driven an accelerated level of business model transformation across industries, requiring supply chains to be highly adaptive. Many changes were driven by an outsized uptick in products and services delivered direct to customers and patients, instead of through more traditional, centralized locations such as physical stores and medical facilities. At the same time, in B2B, “as-a-service” models and customer-composable solutions rose in prominence in industries such as high tech and industrial.
Digital First Supply Chain — A survey of boards of directors, taken late in 2020, showed that nearly 70% of companies accelerated their digital roadmaps compared to the beginning of the year. Some leading supply chains have reached a point in their transformation journeys where they consider themselves “digital first” in using technology to enable more seamless customer experiences, and more automated and insightful decisions in supply and product management, at scale.
Gartner analysts are often asked, “What does a good supply chain look like?” or “Who are supply chain leaders?” The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 is a good place to start. Two key aspects of the Supply Chain Top 25 ranking are the demonstration of end-to-end supply chain maturity and environmental, social and governance (ESG). We’ve been researching and writing about demand-driven practices since 2003, highlighting the journey companies are taking — from inward-focused supply management functions to supply chains that orchestrate a profitable response to demand. Beyond profit, these companies focus on people and protecting the planet. We reflect this aspect of leadership through a quantitative ESG measure (15% of the scoring), first added to our methodology in 2016.
We continue to invest in this supply chain leadership research to foster the enablement and sharing of best practices as a way to raise the bar of performance for everyone in supply chain management. Another objective of the Supply Chain Top 25 is to highlight and elevate the importance of the supply chain function and profession across our community, within corporate boardrooms and for the investment community at large.
Congratulations to the Gartner 2021 Supply Chain Top 25 and Masters!
All of the companies making this year’s Supply Chain Top 25 and our five longtime leaders (AKA “Masters”) have worked hard to incorporate these strategic shifts. More information on the Top 25 can be found on Gartner’s public website.
Gartner Supply Chain