Amazon closes gap on Apple in supply chain ranking

22 May 2012

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22 May 2012 | Adam Leach


Online giant Amazon's supply chain is second only to Apple's, according to Gartner's Supply Chain Top 25 for 2012 announced today.


Apple, which has taken the top ranking for the past five years, was described as having “a zealous focus on starting with the consumer experience and working back through the design of its supply network”. Amazon was praised for adapting quickly to offer new and unproven revenue streams, such as cloud computing. It also received high scores for its success in establishing a physical supply chain to produce its electronic tablet range, the Kindle and Kindle Fire.

The report said: “Amazon is a great example of an “orchestrator” that goes beyond simply borrowing and adapting others’ best practices and consistently defies conventional wisdom.

“Moving into the media tablet business with the Kindle Fire, Amazon has shifted its model so that nine of its top 10 offerings are now digital content, augmenting its vast physical supply chain.”

Fast food chain McDonalds rose five spots in this year’s rankings, garnering praise on its strong financial performance and scoring highly on peer opinion. Gartner said it “has managed the fine balance between new product growth, and the resulting complexity in the supply chain”.

Drawing on the findings of the research, Gartner identified three recommendations. It advised buyers to “build resilience into supply network design, and implement a robust risk management strategy”, “adopt complexity optimisation strategies to eliminate features, services and network capacity that do not add sufficient value to customers”, and to “improve responsiveness to customer requirements”.

The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2012 in full is:

1.      Apple

2.      Amazon

3.      McDonalds

4.      Dell

5.      P&G

6.      The Coca-Cola Company

7.      Intel

8.      Cisco Systems

9.      Wal-Mart Stores

10.    Unilever

11.    Colgate-Palmolive

12.    PepsiCo

13.    Samsung

14.    Nike

15.    Inditex

16.    Starbucks

17.    H&M

18.    Nestle

19.    Research In Motion (RIM)

20.    Caterpillar

21.    3M

22.    Johnson & Johnson

23.    Cummins

24.    HP

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