For the fourth year in a row, Apple has finished at the top of Gartner, Inc.'s Supply Chain Top 25.
The Supply Chain Top 25, a list Gartner compiles to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline and how it impacts the business, ranks companies based on two main components: financial and opinion.
Public financial data gives a view into how companies have performed in the past, while the opinion component provides an eye to future potential and reflects future expected leadership. These two components are combined into a total composite score.
This year's top ten finishers (and their scores) are:
Research in Motion (RIM) (5.1)
Cisco Systems (4.82)
See the complete list here.
While Apple maintained its position at the top of the list, other companies showed significant movement upward in the rankings. For instance, Research In Motion, which was new to the list last year, rose to the fourth position this year with enviable financials and solid votes. Amazon, another newcomer last year, rose five spots to take the number five slot in the 2011 ranking. Colgate-Palmolive, rising steadily since 2009, is now at number 13.
Gartner says four key themes emerged among this year's leaders:
dealing with volatility
value chain integration
abilities to orchestrate
In addition, this year's analysis underscored a trend that's been percolating over the past several years, namely the move from the notion of "supply chain" to "value chain" and a concomitant increase in the span of control of the supply chain organization.
"The old image of a supply chain organization limited to either inbound materials management or logistics, with procurement, planning, manufacturing, and customer service as totally separate functions, is fading," Debra Hofman, research vice president at Gartner, said. "What's replacing it is a supply chain organization, often reporting at the board level, that includes the functions of plan, source, make and deliver. It also increasingly includes functions such as customer service and new product launch, and links them through the cross-functional processes and roles that are so critical to being demand-driven. The consumer-oriented companies, with their need to renew product lines constantly and their appetite for downstream data, have led the way in this change, which may at least partially explain the steady drift away from industrial companies making the list."