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Nine retailers make Gartner top global supply chain list

Gartner is recognizing a number of supply chain leaders from the retail and DTC verticals.

A well-known company with a strong direct-to-consumer presence is the highest-ranked retailer on the Gartner Global Supply Chain Top 25.

The new 2022 edition of the annual listing of global companies Gartner identifies as having leading supply chains includes nine retailers. Microsoft debuted on the list at #10 (the highest-ranking retailer of nine companies with significant direct-to-consumer retail operations on the list). The other eight retailers included are L’Oreal (#11), The Coca-Cola Company (#12), Nike (#13), Walmart (#14), HP Inc. (#15), Dell Technologies (#17), BMW (#19), and Alibaba (#25).

Cisco Systems scored the overall top spot in the ranking for the third consecutive year, followed by Schneider Electric, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo.

"Nineteen companies achieved the highest possible environmental, social and governance (ESG) score this year, reflecting the growing importance supply chain leaders assign to these initiatives," said Mike Griswold, VP team manager with the Gartner supply chain practice.

For 2022, Gartner said the top 25 global supply chain companies generally embraced four macro trends:

The chief supply chain officer (CSCO) as ‘chief ecosystems officer’
In recent years, Gartner says CSCOs have become drivers of new business models, sustainability efforts and commercial innovation. To fulfill their new responsibilities, supply chain leaders are attempting to create “coopetition” (competitive competition)-based ecosystems that are equipped to address larger-scale challenges.

“For example, many consumer goods companies in the ranking are joining forces through the Consumer Goods Forum to set the agenda for the development of new plastic recycling technologies. This form of cooperation is an effective way to address the environmental crisis,” said Griswold.

Self-stabilizing supply chains
According to Gartner, to become more agile in the face of ongoing disruption, companies with leading supply chains have transformed their decision-making processes and funding. Some have deployed temporary transformation teams to address near-term challenges in the business, planning to return to their day-to-day work once the environment has stabilized.

Gartner says this ability to react quickly is driven by adaptive funding techniques based on venture capital models. Those models allow for transformation budgets to flex up based on successful pilots justifying greater scale, or flex down in cases where experiments don’t pan out or resources are more needed elsewhere.

Progress on broader sustainability agenda
Gartner advises that companies such as Walmart, Microsoft, and Unilever have formal programs in place to track the status of supplier Scope 3 emissions reduction projects and quantify the resulting reductions over time. In the high-tech industry, companies such as Cisco, Lenovo and HP Inc. are redesigning their broader business models away from the periodic sale of discrete pieces of equipment to service-based models that include the responsible collection, recycling and disposal of end-of-life products.

[Read more: Walmart marks milestone in carbon reduction effort]

Human-centric digital automation
According to Gartner, supply chain executives are balancing long-term investments in automation with immediate investments in technologies that reduce employee cognitive load and prioritize time and attention to areas where people perform better than machines, such as relationship building and responding to new operating conditions. There are also cases where people perform better with machines. For example, warehouse or factory workers can increase their productivity by working with robots.

“To prepare their employees for the future, leaders are prioritizing programs that train digital literacy and dexterity. These educational and applied learning programs enable employees to use data-driven analytics for more informed decision making in their roles,” Griswold concluded.   

See the full list here.

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