Unilever, Inditex, H&M Best in Class in Supply Chain Management

Unilever, Inditex, H&M and Nestlé are top performers in European Supply Chain Management according to the annual ranking of the top 15 supply chain organizations by Gartner. The goal of Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 15 in Europe research initiative is to raise awareness of the supply chain discipline and how it impacts businesses.

Gartner identified the top 15 performers headquartered in Europe, based on a combination of financial metrics (revenue growth, return on assets (ROA) and inventory) and opinion (Gartner supply chain analyst and peer opinion). The top-four companies are also listed in the global Gartner Supply Chain Top 25. Six new companies entered the European top 15 ranking this year: H&M, AstraZeneca, Reckitt Benckiser, Syngenta, Roche and Volkswagen (see Table 1).

Christian Titze, research director at Gartner, said:

Top European supply chains span the automotive, chemical, consumer goods, life sciences and retail industries. Leading companies have the right combination of organizational structure and governance to balance global reach with the ability to take local characteristics into account.

Table 1. Gartner Supply Chain Top 15 — Europe, 2012

 2012 EMEA Rank

2012 Overall Rank

Company

Return on Assets (1)

Inventory Turns (2)

Revenue Growth (3)

Composite Score (4)

1

10

Unilever

10.2%

6.0

5.5%

4.21

2

15

Inditex

17.3%

4.0

10.3%

3.37

3

17

H & M Hennes & Mauritz

28.6%

3.6

5.7%

3.09

4

18

Nestlé

15.9%

4.9

-9.5%

3.06

5

28

AstraZeneca

16.5%

3.1

1.7%

2.01

6

29

Tesco

5.5%

16.4

6.4%

2.01

7

30

BASF

7.9%

5.6

11.6%

1.98

8

33

Reckitt Benckiser

13.0%

5.1

12.4%

1.93

9

35

BMW

2.9%

5.7

11.8%

1.92

10

41

Novartis

8.1%

2.9

13.1%

1.77

11

47

Anheuser-Busch InBev

6.1%

6.4

14.7%

1.72

12

51

Syngenta

8.8%

1.7

7.7%

1.67

13

53

Roche

14.4%

2.5

-4.9%

1.64

14

58

British American Tobacco

11.8%

0.9

6.6%

1.54

15

59

Volkswagen

4.2%

5.6

17.5%

1.54

Source: Gartner (September 2012)

From the jury report:

The number one, Unilever, has a global virtual manufacturing network that can quickly cater to fluctuations in local demand. Unilever also has the ability to design its products proactively for profitability. At second place, Inditex is the highest-ranked retailer. This company keeps in tune with its customers in order to sense and shape ideas, trends and tastes around the world. To this end, Inditex has made conscious trade-offs between higher production costs and speed-to-market, with manufacturing capabilities in Spain for some products, says Gartner.

H&M, the No. 3, is the world’s second-largest clothing retailer. As a fast-moving retailer, it takes an innovative approach to designer events, one that pools consumer interest. It has also started experimenting with augmented-reality technology, which links the growth of social media and sales to determine how consumers will use virtual technologies in the future.

Food giant Nestlé is No. 4. Nestlé complements its successful Nespresso model with plans to manage its different types of coffee with segmentation strategies and different routes to market.

VladimirKrasojevic, research director at Gartner, commented:

Supply chain leaders in Europe are focusing on cost reductions, supply chain innovation and the increasing business importance of sustainability, and the need to balance global reach with local needs.

Additional information is available in the report “2012 Gartner Supply Chain Top 25: Europe“.
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