At the same time that the COVID-19 crisis caused severe disruption to supply chains worldwide, it revealed the companies that have built resiliency into their supply chains.
The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2021 identifies, celebrates, and profiles companies that are effectively navigating the post-pandemic landscape through excellence in supply chain management.
Gartner researchers assessed business priorities to compile the final shortlist, noting where leaders have invested their time and effort to successfully accelerate their capabilities. In 2021, three key trends emerged:
The purpose-driven organisation
Supply chain professionals have always been well-positioned to address environmental and social challenges. But, in the past year, many teams have stepped up to lead their organizations and communities through the most challenging periods of the global pandemic.
Gartner notes that the most purpose-driven organizations have integrated green initiatives and people-related programs into their overarching business strategy to drive long-lasting and meaningful change.
Customer-driven business transformation
COVID-19 triggered major supply chain disruptions partly as a result of shifting customer demands and behaviours, as well as rapidly evolving business priorities. To accommodate these changes, supply chain leaders have had to be highly adaptive. Those most adept at embracing business transformation have won in the marketplace.
The digital-first supply chain
Gartner’s report notes that almost 70% of organizations were accelerating their digital roadmaps by the end of 2020.
Supply chain leaders are increasingly leveraging technology such as ERP platforms, AI, machine learning, and big data analytics to provide better customer service, make insightful decisions, monitor shipments, and mitigate supply chain risk.
Teams that have made the most progress on their digital transformation journeys have had time to focus their efforts on strategic, value-adding activities.
The top three supply chains for 2021
1. Cisco Systems
Technology conglomerate Cisco Systems tops Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 list for the second year running as a result of its significant revenue growth and commitment to ESG.
The company set impressive greenhouse gas emissions, including a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain by 30% before 2025.
Cisco Systems also demonstrated resilience and agility in prioritizing critical infrastructure capabilities for hospitals and vaccine research.
Multinational consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive has also retained its position in Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 for the second year running.
Colgate-Palmolive’s commitment to reducing environmental waste is particularly noteworthy. In 2021, the company made it onto Fast Company’s 2021 list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for a first-of-its-kind recyclable plastic tube, a technology that was subsequently shared openly with third parties.
Additionally, in the past four years, 20 of the company’s manufacturing sites have achieved TRUE Zero Waste certification.
3. Johnson & Johnson
Healthcare leader Johnson & Johnson holds on to its number three spot for 2021.
In the past year, the company demonstrated its supply chain resilience and agility by leveraging 3D printing and partnerships to address ventilator shortages.
Johnson & Johnson’s Healthy Lives Mission initiative includes the goal of using 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable plastic, recycled paper, and pulp-based packaging by 2025.
Interested in discovering the complete list? Download the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2021 report in full here.