It’s that time of year again, when we weigh in on the results of analyst group Gartner’s annual ranking of the Top 25 Supply Chains. Before we do that, though, a few scene-setting remarks:
- The ranking is basically a beauty contest, with Gartner’s own analysts having the most input into which companies are chosen. The rankings are based on a composite score based on the opinions of Gartner’s analysts; a group of peer voters (mostly supply chain practitioners, professionals and experts; in the interests of full disclosure, I myself am part of the peer panel); some metrics, including return on assets, inventory growth and revenue growth; and a corporate social responsibility (CSR) component score, which is somewhat convoluted in that it’s skewed heavily toward companies that talk a good sustainability game, but doesn’t appear to take into account negative reports from the field.
- Only publicly-traded companies are under consideration for inclusion in the list. And not only must they be public, they must be big—they need to have sales of $12 billion or more. So they’re all multinational giants in their respective verticals.
- All the supply chains represented are in the manufacturing, retail or distribution sectors. What this means is that companies that are actually the best in several key supply chain areas are excluded from contention. So that means no airlines, railroads, trucking companies, package delivery companies, shipping companies, construction firms, metals producers, energy companies, banks, oil & gas, pipelines, and on and on. So it’s a very thinly sliced segment of the overall economy that’s represented in the list.
All that being said, what makes the Top 25 so compelling, year after year, is the focus on the specific supply chain proficiencies of nearly 30 well-known brands (as in years past, Gartner has promoted a few of the very best supply chains off the Top 25 list, presumably to make it possible to include a few new names in the rankings from year to year. So in 2017, Amazon joins Apple and Procter & Gamble on a separate “Masters” list, for the best-of-the-best.)
What follows, then, is our coverage of Gartner’s rankings, which includes both comments from Gartner’s analysts as well as our own analysis, particularly in the realm of CSR, an area where the rankings still seem to be at odds with what’s really going on (or not going on) in the extended supply chains of some companies. At the end of the slideshow, you’ll also find links to our analyses of previous years’ rankings.