Nine years ago, AMR Research began compiling an annual list of what it considers the top supply chains in the world, and that study continues to this day, even though AMR was acquired a couple years ago by analyst firm Gartner. Companies are ranked based on five criteria: Gartner analysts opinion, peer opinion, three-year weighted return on assets, inventory turns, and three-year weighted revenue growth. Since the Gartner and peer opinions add up to 50% of the total score, the list is basically a popularity contest, but taking that into consideration, it’s still a meaningful look at what makes a supply chain leader. (In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I am one of the peer opinion voters.)
As in years past, the list has a number of quirks to it. For instance, only public companies are eligible for the list, and generally speaking, only the biggest names are up for consideration (companies with at least $10 billion in sales). Even quirkier, Gartner dismisses outright any company in a couple dozen industries, some for no apparent logical reason, such as energy, mining, shipbuilding, steel and telecommunications.
The most bizarre omissions, though, are all companies involved in logistics or transportation, such as airlines, package and freight delivery, pipelines, railroads and shipping companies. In other words, the companies who are the acknowledged best in the world at logistics management are categorically eliminated from contention.
Even so, the most important aspect of the Gartner Top 25 list is the deep dive analysis it offers into the supply chain management best practices in place at major companies. The conclusion is unmistakeable: The best companies in the world have the best supply chains in the world. And that message never gets old.
Following in reverse order, in the time-honored tradition of Casey Kasem’s Top 40, are the Top 25 Supply Chains for 2013, based on analysis and research compiled by Gartner analysts Debra Hofman, Stan Aronow and Kimberly Nilles. You can check out the rankings from other years here: