Wednesday 29th Mar 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

How Unilever overtook Amazon in supply chain rankings

Unilever has unseated Amazon to top Gartner’s annual Supply Chain Top 25. While McDonald’s maintained second place in the rankings, Amazon slipped to third.

Gartner’s scoring system relies heavily on opinions – 25 per cent of the total score is down to peer opinion, while another 25 per cent is Gartner opinion.

And the results show significant differences of opinion – as well as differences between the perceptions of those polled and the metrics available.

For the peer group, Amazon is easily the winner with a score almost double its nearest rival – Unilever. But Gartner opinion puts Unilever top with Amazon second. Cisco systems comes third for Gartner, but Peer Opinion puts it down in 10th place.

The rest of the scores come from four generally available metrics: return on assets, inventory turns, revenue growth and CSR. The most significant of these is the Three Year Weighted Return on Assets, accounting for 20 per cent of the total score.

H&M tops the ranking on this basis – well ahead of its nearest rivals which are Starbucks and Inditex. Amazon is at the bottom of the list (25th) on this basis, while Unilever manages only mid-table obscurity.

Look at Inventory Turns, which account for ten per cent of the total score, and McDonald’s is way ahead of everyone else. It’s also worth noting that the next four are all electronics groups: Samsung, Lenovo, HP and Cisco.

Where Amazon does score highly is Three Year Weighted Revenue Growth, again ten per cent of the total score. Amazon tops this ranking followed by Lenovo and H&M.

Almost half the companies in the list have negative figures for this – worst performer HP is -5.2 per cent for revenue growth.

But Amazon comes bottom of the ranking for CSR with a score of zero compared to 10 for Unilever.

Apple and P&G are no longer included in the Top 25 ranking – they have been booted upstairs into the Master’s category. Gartner says this recognises sustained supply chain leadership over the past ten years.

Add all these results together and it is clear that while Amazon had outstanding scores in some categories, its low scores in others pushed it down the rankings. And it was Unilever’s more consistently high scores that took it to number on.

It is also worth remembering that this analysis only covers companies with annual revenue of £12 billion or more, so there is a real possibility that some outstanding supply chain performers are simply not being considered.

Gartner Supply Chain Top 25:

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Source: Gartner (click here for more information)

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