28 May 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Apple retained its top spot in the AMR Research annual ranking of the world's top 25 supply chains.
The list - released today - identified Fortune Global 500 companies that best demonstrated the principle of being "demand driven".
The report singled out Apple's acting chief executive Tim Cook, a former buyer (Blog, 25 February 2009), for "maintaining not only smooth operational performance, but a continued flow of innovation".
"Much discussion in 2008 surrounded Apple founder Steve Jobs' illness and the question of how well the company would fare in his absence. Halfway through 2009, this worry seems largely for naught as supply chain veteran Tim Cook (pictured) took the lead," it said.
The top five was rounded out, in order, by Dell, Procter & Gamble, IBM and Cisco Systems.
Nokia, which was second last year and top in 2007, slipped to sixth.
Intel (25) returned to the list this year, while Colgate Palmolive (20) and Unilever (22) were included for the first time.
AMR Research chief strategy officer Kevin O'Marah said agile supply chains were important in the recession.
"While economic uncertainty slowed demand, companies on this year's list used demand driven principles to detect a troubled economy early and secure their cash positions well enough to maintain momentum on vital initiatives," he said in a statement.