Industry analyst firm Gartner has been conducting is annual SCM Executive Conference this week. Besides educating its clients on supply chain business and technology topics, this conference serves as the platform for announcing Gartner’s annual Top 25 Supply Chain rankings. This Supply Chain Matters commentary provides our initial impressions of this year’s rankings based on our attendance at tonight’s awards dinner.

First, to reiterate our previous declarations, this commentary should not be construed in the context of positioning our own or any other analyst firm rankings, but as a voice of being an observation post of global supply chains for nearly 10 years. It is a means for social-media based interaction regarding what it takes to be recognized as a top-performing supply chain given today’s industry challenges, complexities and increased clock-speed of business.

Supply Chain Matters again extends our congratulations to each cited supply chain organization for achieving such recognition. There is obviously a ton of team focused work and commitment that goes into achieving such recognition.

Our stated impression of the 2014 Top 25 ranking was that with the exception of two new entrants, the Top 25 was essentially the same. We were not alone in that impression. Gartner obviously worked on that feedback and produced some significant surprises in this year’s rankings. The primary 2015 headlines are twofold: has now assumed the number one ranking despite some acknowledged marginal return on assets performance. After seven consecutive years of being ranked as primo, Apple’s supply chain enters a newly designated category of Supply Chain Elites, along with supply chain icon Procter and Gamble. Both of these supply chains now enter this separate archival category. As noted in a Twitter posting, Top 25 has become Top 27. Perhaps maybe Top 25 Plus.

We extend praise for Gartner in being creative.

As a reference for our readers, below is the announced 2015 Gartner ranking, in the context of rankings since 2010. We believe that providing this broader context is more pertinent for contrasting either the usual players vs. those supply chains on a transformative journey.

Gartner Top 25 Supply Chain History



Other headlines for 2015 were fashion apparel producer Inditex jumping five spots to number five this year primarily based on peer ratings. Fashion retailer H&M jumped seven spots to the number seven rank. Gartner attributed this jump to strong peer ratings and a track record of recognized ethical supply chain practices. Specialty coffee retailer Starbucks jumped five spots to the number twelve ranking based on strong financial metrics and positive efforts in supply chain talent management.

New entrants this year included Loreal (#22) , Toyota (#24) and Home Depot (#25). Honorable mentions, or runners-up, mentioned by Gartner included BASF, Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Schneider Electric and Woolworths of Australia.

Obviously, there will lots of additional commentary forthcoming related to this year’s Gartner Top 25 rankings. Some teams will be pleased and others rather disappointed after lots of hard work. Industry peers may also be surprised. There is no pleasing all in any form of ranking and consistency of measures and process are essential.

Since we are penning our commentary very late into the evening, we’ll reserve further commentary into the weeks to come.

Bob Ferrari