Apple retains 'best supply chain' crown

03 June, 2011

3 June 2011 | Adam Leach

Apple’s supply chain has been rated the best in the world for the fourth consecutive year.

According to the annual supply chain ranking compiled by research company Gartner (following their acquisition of previous ranking publisher AMR Research), the California-based technology firm scored consistently strongly in each category, but particularly highly in the ‘peer opinion’ categorywhich fellow supply chain professionals are asked for their viewsand ‘Gartner opinion’ category – which takes into account the view of Gartner researchers. The rank is based on a range of factors, including financial performance, inventory and revenue growth, in addition to opinions.

The technology sector once again dominated the list. These companies took nine of the top 25 slots this year with Dell in second place and BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) in fourth.

Gartner vice-president of research Debra Hofman suggested that the image of the supply chain as an independent of aspect of a company is disappearing. "What's replacing it is a supply chain organisation, often reporting at the board level, that includes the functions of plan, source, make and deliver.”

“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," she added.

The research also revealed that the leaders set themselves apart from other companies in four key areas. These were “how they deal with volatility”, “their approaches to value chain network integration”, “their focus on sustainable execution” and “their abilities to orchestrate”.

This year’s top 10 was as follows:

1. Apple
Procter & Gamble
Research In Motion
Cisco Systems


☛ A full ranking can be found in the The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2011 report

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