Apple tops supply chain list for third year

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Apple has topped the AMR Reseach Top 25 Supply Chains for the third year in a row, followed by Proctor & Gamble and Cisco Systems.

AMR said Apple had broken new ground in the area of transforming its supply chain into a value chain, starting with the consumer experience and designing its network to serve that master first and foremost.

“This means demonstrating some of the behaviours we look for in Top 25 companies, including embedded innovation, networked supply and demand shaping.

“It’s also instructive that Apple, which most observers think of primarily as a design and software company, in reality has a vertically integrated value chain that reaches from logo-bearing, pure-play retail all the way back to super-fast chipmaker Intrinsity, which was recently acquired by Apple to “steal a march” on competitors looking to enhance the performance of mobile devices.”


   1. Apple
   2. Procter & Gamble
   3. Cisco Systems
   4. Wal-Mart Stores
   5. Dell
   6. PepsiCo
   7. Samsung Electronics
   8. IBM
   9. Research In Motion
  11. McDonald’s
  12. Microsoft
  13. The Coca-Cola Company
  14. Johnson & Johnson
  15. Hewlett-Packard
  16. Nike
  17. Colgate-Palmolive
  18. Intel
  19. Nokia
  20. Tesco
  21. Unilever
  22. Lockheed Martin
  23. Inditex
  24. Best Buy
  25. Schlumberger

Source: AMR Research

For 2010 AMR has changed the balance of factors that go to make up the composite score. Inventory turns now accounts for 15 per cent of the score – down from 25 per cent last year. 

The weighted calculation of return on assets over a three year period still accounts for 25 per cent of the score while ten per cent is still provided by a weighted calculation of revenue growth over a three year period.

The remainder of the score is made up of Peer and AMR opinion components (25 per cent each – up from 20 per cent last year).

Companies must receive votes from both panels to be included in the ranking. Therefore, a company that had a composite score fall within the Top 25 solely based on the financial metrics would not be included in the ranking.

Second placed Procter & Gamble has occupied a top-five spot for six consecutive years and, said AMR, “still commands tremendous respect among its peers and our research team. As one of the pioneers of demand-driven principles in supply chain, the company remains at the forefront of areas like specialised production operations in emerging markets and commodity hedging upstream for key inputs.

Cisco Systems has been climbing the rankings for five years to take third spot. “Many areas of supply chain innovation have borne Cisco’s mark, including supply chain risk management, multilevel demand-planning excellence and regionalized supply network architecture, said AMR.

Wal-Mart was the leading retailer coming in at fourth overall. AMR said: “Building on a tradition of cost-focused supply chain innovation, the company’s reputation among supply chain peers remains stellar, with only one organization (Apple) securing a higher peer-vote total in our analysis.”

Top UK company was Tesco which came in at number 20 in the list. AMR said: “The global recession appears to have been good for Tesco, which was able to use its scale and skill in supply chain management to deeply cut costs and gain market share during the downturn. It was also one of the few grocers able to expand successfully internationally, with substantial success in Asia, and into non-food retail, which provides a growth advantage over grocery.”

Anglo-Dutch group Unilever got back into the list at number 21. “By adjusting cost models and distribution strategies, Unilever has been able to successfully access fast-growing, emerging markets such as India and Africa. For CP companies challenged by flattening consumer spending in traditional markets like the United States and Europe, innovative approaches, including specialized packaging, simplified formulations and local sourcing, offer a promise of new growth.

Surprisingly, Zara parent Inditex, which has been striking fear into the hearts of its competitors for several years, was only ranked 23rd.

AMR said: “The Spanish company is legendary among supply chain professionals for its integrated apparel manufacturer and retailer Zara, whose pioneering approach to product innovation is the prototype for rethinking an entire value chain to achieve breakthrough results.”


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