Top 25 Supply Chains of 2017

June 19, 2017
IW's annual look at the Top 25 (plus 3) Supply Chains reveals what the best manufacturers and retailers are achieving as they manage their global operations.

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.

And you can check out the rankings from previous years here:

Top 25 Supply Chains of 2016

Top 25 Supply Chains of 2015

Top 25 Supply Chains of 2014

Top 25 Supply Chains of 2013

The Top 25 Supply Chains of 2012

The Top Supply Chains of 2011

The Top 25 Supply Chains of 2010

About the Author

Dave Blanchard | Senior Director of Content

Focus: Supply Chain

Call: (941) 208-4370

Follow on Twitter @SupplyChainDave

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. He also serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2010), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its second edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

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