20 & 21: Countdown of the Top 25 Supply Chain Performers

21 & 20: Countdown of the Top 25 Supply Chain Performers

We’re currently counting down the top supply chain performers to offer a look into how some of the world’s best supplier management is succeeding. We’ve already reviewed the outstanding success in the supply chain of 3M, Bristol Myers Squibb, General Mills, and Starbucks. In this article, we’re continuing our countdown of the top 25 supply chain performers, according to Gartner analysts. Coming in at number 21 is Pfizer, who became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic, and BMW, at number 20, who’s been a household name for decades. Without further ado, let’s dive into the supply chain success of each of these businesses.

21. Pfizer

Pfizer became known worldwide over the past year due to the successful creation and roll-out of their COVID-19 vaccination. The Pfizer supply chain was a priority before the pandemic, which means they were in an excellent position to take on a challenge like this.

Technology Systems

Pfizer’s goal is to support public health by allowing patients to receive access to medications and vaccines. They use operational and supply chain data gathered through their enterprise systems to identify more efficient processes to meet this objective better. In 2017, this data helped Pfizer address injectable medication shortages in hospital and clinical settings, identifying a gap where companies couldn’t meet public health needs.

Focusing on supply recovery to overcome the issue, their manufacturing team worked with health institutes to create solutions that accelerated the supply for these medicines. They tweaked the systems that reported on the demand and supply to cultivate a process with closer communication and, therefore, faster supply recovery. Additionally, they tackled supply shortages by investing in advanced technology and capabilities that could enhance the manufacturing of the supply.

The Ultimate Supply Chain Challenge

Manufacturing a vaccine made up of a delicate combination of chemicals in various quantities that had to be kept at specific conditions – and then effectively distributing it across the world takes outstanding supply chain management – to say the least.

The vaccine has strict cold chain requirements, which meant that distribution required unique methods to maintain the conditions the vaccine needs. Pfizer’s vaccine falls into the temperature range that requires dry ice, and there were fears that its distribution would be limited because of this. Pfizer took supply chain solutions into new realms by creating a distribution box to manage these extreme temperature conditions.

Pairing with strategic transportation partners to ship by air to major cities and regions and their box that allowed the vaccine to be stored for up to 10 days allowed Pfizer to distribute their vaccines successfully. Vaccine boxes can then be refitted with dry ice when they arrive at dosing locations to keep the vaccine at the correct temperature for further storage. These boxes also incorporated supply chain technology and were fitted with GPS tracking to facilitate visibility of shipments – this meant Pfizer could monitor if shipments are exposed to temperature deviations that will impact the validity of the vaccines.

This was just the distribution side of Pfizer’s incredible vaccine supply chain coordination; they also had to focus on the supply of their raw materials. They needed enough space to manufacture the enormous production rates and a steady supply to allow for the production. Due to their prior emphasis on efficient supply chain relationships, they were able to effectively ramp up vaccine production due to the support from their suppliers.


20. BMW

The German giants, BMW, are a global brand that now works with over 12,000 supplies worldwide. Value creation, quality, and innovation are necessary features to manage a vast supplier network as extensive as theirs. BMW is a business that knows the value in a healthy supply chain, and they credit their cherished suppliers to part of their success. The firm operates and manages their supply chain as an extension of themselves and dives into deep analysis of each to thoroughly understand who they are working with and help their partners improve.

Reading the Trends

BMW aims to be ahead of world and market trends and foresee vulnerabilities that may crop up to disappoint them later. Their holistic approach to sustainability throughout their entire supplier network is a prime example of this. Forecasting sustainability regulations that they expect to come into play, they have asked their suppliers to assess their sustainability management since 2009. BMW’s aim here was to manage sustainability early to ensure that their production facilities mitigated the risk of breaching requirements and regulations.

By taking advantage of opportunities, BMW seeks to leverage their supplier’s potential in resource efficiency, employee training, and development and maintain active involvement in their suppliers’ operations. They have a hands-on approach to the BMW supply chain management, and their global significance is quite telling of the success of that management.

In-Depth Assessments

BMW’s vice president has publicly stated that they owe their success to their suppliers and that they’re the heart of the business. They’re a business that knows they need a steady flow of quality inputs to do what they do so well. As a business with this stance, they are highly proactive with their supply chain involvement.

BMW conducts in-depth assessments of their suppliers to safeguard their supply centralized around product supply. The firm places high value on the quality of their supply businesses, and less weight on the products themselves, evident in the fact they prioritize their supply by the level of associated risk.


Thought Leadership & Strategy

Supply Chain Risks & Resilience
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Sustainability and Circular Supply Chains
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