- Unilever has retained top ranking in Gartner's annual Top 25 Supply Chain company rankings, the research and advisory firm reported in a company press release. Unilever was followed by McDonald's and Inditex.
- Amazon was elevated to "Master" class — where Apple and Procter & Gamble perpetually reside — thanks to their decade's worth of excellence. Another notable change is Samsung's fall to 25th this year from a ranking of eight a year ago.
- Nokia resurfaced as number 15 (formerly held by PepsiCo, which rose to number 11), while UK beverage company Diageo made its debut at 23. Previously that spot had been held by GlaxoSmithKline, now absent from the rankings.
Annual company rankings are fascinating, not only for where the contenders fall on the list, but because of the underlying criteria as well. Gartner applies a mixture of measures including peer opinion, a weighted three-year return on assets (ROA), inventory turns and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Component Scores, providing a balance of elements that matter most to supply chain managers.
This year's rankings and focus underscore how current events can vastly impact a company's approach to its supply chain. Protectionism is now fully in focus as the political and economic climate has shifted, even recently as President Trump has spurred the renegotiation of NAFTA. While companies remain optimistic for such moves to bring rules of trade into the 21st century, they will leave their mark as leaders and survivors by how they adjust their strategies in the midst of uncertainty.
The digitalization of the supply chain — the incorporation of IoT, cloud computing and advanced analytics — are key traits that Gartner endeavors to highlight, as companies' grasp of this technology paves the way for future security and innovation. Apart from this innovation, however, businesses must not forgo focus developing and fostering healthy ecosystems, which involves the creation of positive relationships with suppliers, partners, customers and staff. Efforts toward maintaining environmental sustainability in the realm of emissions, water and other natural resources matter too.