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Amid severe and ongoing disruption, organizations capable of juggling conflicting priorities to operate agile, robust, transparent, and ethical supply chains are impressive, to say the least.
Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 for 2021 celebrates companies whose supply chain strategies have shown them to be purpose-driven, disruptive, and early adopters of innovative technologies.
To recognize the most sustained examples of supply chain excellence, Gartner lists Apple, Amazon, McDonald’s, P&G, and Unilever as Supply Chain Masters — an accolade earned as a result of having attained top-five composite scores in the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for at least seven out of the past 10 years.
These five aside, here are the top 10 supply chain companies of 2021.
1. Cisco Systems
For the second year running, telecommunications technology conglomerate Cisco Systems tops Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25.
Thanks to its commitment to creating a dynamic, distributed supply chain, focussing on dual sourcing to build resiliency, and fostering meaningful relationships with its suppliers, Cisco has continued to thrive despite the disruptions of the past 18 months.
The company has also made a concerted effort to integrate sustainability initiatives with its supply chain business. Cisco has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30%, while 80% of its component, manufacturing, and logistics suppliers will have a GHG emissions reduction target.
Colgate-Palmolive, which provides household and consumer products to millions of households around the world, has demonstrated agility, resilience, and commitment to supply chain sustainability.
Earlier this year, Colgate-Palmolive featured on Fast Company’s 2021 list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. This was thanks to its development of a first-of-its-kind recyclable plastic tube, a technology it has also shared with third parties.
Colgate-Palmolive has consistently invested in new digital capabilities, including factory automation and advanced network modeling. For example, in a bid to connect manufacturing operations to its supply chain and boost supply chain reliability, the company is moving toward a predictive maintenance model. Wireless sensors and AI-powered data analytics will enable Colgate-Palmolive to monitor equipment health 24/7 and optimize its performance.
3. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has proven itself to be an MVP since the outbreak of COVID-19. In March 2020, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation pledged $50 million to support frontline health workers with meals, personal protective equipment, training, and mental health support.
A partnership with not-for-profit company Prisma Health saw Johnson & Johnson won Gartner’s Power of the Profession Award for Customer or Patient Innovation of the Year. The pair developed a 3D-printable device, which allowed for a single ventilator to be fitted for use by two patients.
Part of the company’s Healthy Lives Mission includes a commitment to using 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable plastic, recycled paper, and pulp-based packaging by 2025.
4. Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, operates a diverse supply chain in more than 100 countries.
Driving sustainability throughout the supply chain is a top priority for Schneider Electric, which includes embracing an approach known as “embedded sustainability,” to ensure that integrating environmental, health, and social value with core business activities does not impact price or quality.
At present, more than 73% of the company’s investments are being directed toward developing new and even more sustainable solutions.
In addition, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure platform is helping the company build a coalition of partners committed to driving innovation in the energy management industry.
For the second year running, Nestlé scored a perfect ESG score in the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25.
Its efforts include the development of simplified packaging and biodegradable and compostable materials and upping its use of recycled content. In addition, Nestlé launched an interactive video platform Beneath the Surface last month, which aims to raise awareness among consumers about the complex sustainability issues associated with the palm oil supply chain.
The company is also expanding its e-commerce business and developing new direct-to-consumer (DTC) capabilities across its entire supply chain, such as customized products and packaging, and fulfillment services.
Amid a worldwide chip shortage, Intel announced in March 2012 that it would be spending $20 billion to build two new chip plants in Arizona. This signaled the company’s continued focus on manufacturing and demonstrated its ability to deliver innovative supply chain solutions under difficult circumstances.
Intel’s RISE (responsible, inclusive, sustainable, enabling) strategy includes the goal of developing “the most sustainable and energy-efficient PC in the world, eliminating carbon, water and waste in its design and use.”
In its 2020-21 Corporate Responsibility Report, Intel reports is has increased its use of renewable energy from 71% to 81%, conserving 7.1 billion gallons of water in the process.
To drive sustainability throughout its supply chain, Intel requires its 9000+ tier 1 suppliers, to comply with the Intel Code of Conduct, the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) Code of Conduct, and develop their own corporate responsibility strategies, policies and processes.
One of PepsiCo’s top priorities is investing in digital toolsand advanced technologies to create a more efficient, streamlined supply chain. Focuses include data integration to help the company better meet consumer demands and sophisticated data analytics to drive a more streamlined and cost-efficient chain.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, PepsiCo showcased its agile supply chain by quickly launching two direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings. Pantryshop.com and Snacks.com enable customers to customize a range of its products.
The company is also committed to driving sustainability through its supply chain. Last month, for example, PepsiCo revealed its plans to become net water positive, or replenish more water than it uses, by 2030. If successful, the company will be among the most water-efficient food or beverage manufacturers operating in high-risk watersheds.
Walmart’s supply chain is often touted as one of the most effective in the world. In the past two years alone, Walmart has invested $11 billion in e-commerce, supply chain, and technology.
The company launched Walmart+, which rivals Amazon Prime, implemented a range of new fufilment options — such as curbside pickups — and is upgrading its warehouse management system (WMS) to drive efficiency through its supply chain.
The company has also committed to achieving zero emissions by 2040.
L'Oréal has made it into the top 10 of the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for the first time thanks to its agile, customer-centric, and ethical supply chain practices.
“Digital Beauty” is a key focus of the company’s supply chain strategy. This includes a shift towards technology-augmented logistics and increased use of data to accommodate the rise of e-commerce.
L'Oréal also has a fantastic track record for CSR. Not only is it the only company to rate Triple-A in the client data protection (CDP) ratings for four years in a row, but it was also featured in Ethisphere Institute’s 2021 list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. In addition, the L’Oréal for the Future programincludes the goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions linked to the transport of its products by 50% between 2016 and 2030.
Alibaba features in the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 top 10 for the second year running having significantly expanded its supply chain offerings to deliver manufacturing efficiencies.
For example, the company launched Alibaba.com Freight in 2020. This is a supply chain-as-a-service initiative allowing SMEs to compare, book, manage, and track bulk ocean and air freight in real-time.
The Chinese retailer has also collaborated with Unilever on The Waste Free World Initiative to accelerates the process of returning high-grade plastic back into a closed-loop recycling system within China.
Image Credit: monticello / Shutterstock.com
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