How Big Companies Change Their Supply Chains For Customers

Gartner does research every year to find the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 organizations around the world. In 2021, several organizations’ supply chains were put to the test in ways that had never been done before. Gartner says that the organizations had to be very agile and flexible in order to deal with the challenges of the pandemic.

How Big Companies Change Their Supply Chains For Customers

In 2021, which was a tough year, a company could not succeed just by having good logistics. The investment in technology that led to resilience, agility, and innovation is a big part of what makes a company’s current supply chain system different from what it was in the past. So, what did the top companies on the Gartner list do to adapt their supply chains to the changing demand in 2021?

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How did the best people do?

All of the companies at the top of the Gartner list focused on customer-driven supply chain transformation, digitizing the supply chain, and putting in place “green” and “people-oriented” strategies.

1. Cisco

Cisco comes in first place for the second time in a row for the supply chains quality. This shows how well their supply chain worked during the global pandemic. In 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, Cisco realized that their supply chain wasn’t good enough to handle such big disasters. They weren’t able to get a full picture of how much money the disasters cost. Cisco then set up a team to manage risks in the supply chain. This team focused on resilience, quality, security, sustainability, and compliance to evaluate and reduce risks in the supply chain and build the company’s ability to deal with situations that had never happened before.

Cisco uses creativity and leadership to find new ways for materials, parts, and products to be found, moved, and put together around the world. So where does Cisco’s ability to lead come in? The company’s leaders are working to improve tracking, communication, networking, and the use of security technologies at every stage of their supply chain, including with their suppliers (component, manufacturing, and logistics). So, even though they hire other companies to do all of their manufacturing, they still make sure the quality of their products.

Cisco uses resources that come from renewable sources and encourages their suppliers to do the same. Cisco has goals for its suppliers. By FY 2025, 70% of suppliers by spend will have zero waste diversion at one or more sites, and 80% of suppliers by spend will have a public, absolute GHG emissions reduction.

2. Colgate-Palmolive

In the current pandemic situation, the reliability of the supply chains is one of the main things that companies worry about. Colgate-Palmolive has been improving the reliability of its supply chain by switching to predictive maintenance of its equipment. Using Predictive Maintenance, the company has built in a system that checks the health of the machine around the clock. This is better than doing maintenance before it breaks. This digitally-enabled system takes care of diagnosing machine problems ahead of time, which helps fix them quickly and keeps the supply chain from stopping for long periods of time.

Colgate works with Augury to improve its business’s use of technology. First, Colgate gives Augury the information it needs. Then, wireless sensors are used to automate the whole process of collecting and analyzing data. Lastly, Augury compares this data to data from more than 80,000 machines around the world. Again, this huge amount of information helps Colgate-Palmolive make faster, better, and cheaper decisions.

3. Johnson and Johnson

During the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson’s supply chains team did everything it could to make sure that customers could get the products they needed. They made choices like making fewer complicated products and using the resources saved to make more of the ones that people wanted. They also used data science and complicated algorithms to keep track of typical order patterns and mark down big changes.

Johnson & Johnson uses technology to keep an eye on the thousands of orders its customers place. This way, any unusual changes in demand are caught early and sent to supply chain experts so they can figure out what’s going on. Johnson & Johnson is one of the biggest companies in the world that makes drugs, medical equipment, and other health care products. In order for its products to get to different parts of the country and the world, they have to travel thousands of kilometers. So, there are track-and-trace sensors that go with the shipment and keep an eye on every step of the shipping process from the source to the final destination. Because of this, it is easy to know where a product is at any time along the supply chain. Temperature is also measured, so that any change the product goes through that could hurt its quality can be easily found.

4. Schneider Electric

Four years ago, Schneider Electric started to improve its supply chains, especially in the areas of digitization, sustainability, and customization. The goal was for the supply chain to meet the needs of all of Schneider Electric’s different customer groups. So, customization was the best way to go. Five different supply chain models were made to meet the needs of a wide range of customers. Digitizing the end-to-end processes makes it possible to track, control, and improve them at every step. This creates an end-to-end view that can be watched from control towers all along the global supply chain. This makes it possible to get on-site, real-time knowledge based on data analytics. This analysis can help companies make better decisions, predict what customers will want, improve performance, find problems, and make diagnoses even before outages happen.

5. Nestle

Nestle has always put a lot of money into improving its supply chains, which has made it stronger. Nestle is an important part of the global supply chain because it is the world’s largest food company and has a presence in more than 186 countries. So, it has done a lot to make sure that its supply chain is flexible, resilient, and able to last.

Nestle has built a blockchain into its supply chain system so that it can track all of its products from the factory to the store shelf. Nestle has worked with OpenSC, a blockchain platform, and is the first major food and beverage company to use open blockchain technology in its supply chain. Due to its open blockchain technology, all of Nestle’s partners could safely share data across its huge network, making its supply chain more transparent.

Nestle has promised to do responsible sourcing with an eye toward a sustainable and ethical future. This is another area where the supply chain made possible by blockchain technology can help. For example, if a consumer wants to know where his food comes from, blockchain technology can help track the supply chain.


By 2023, about half of the companies that make products will have invested in platforms that track shipments in real time. AI and advanced analytics are very important, especially for supply chain organizations, and by 2024, about half of supply chain organizations will have invested in them. Companies will take the same steps as the global leaders in the supply chain industry to solve problems with data quality, different silos, shipment visibility, and on-time delivery.

Massive disruptions to the supply chain predicted by experts

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