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  • Publicado : 7 de junio de 2011
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1.1 Inside the Numbers
It's a first — the Supply Chain Top 25 has a three-time No. 1 company: Apple. The digital-economy icon held the top spot again in 2010 after having been ranked No. 1 for the first time in 2008. Apple dominates because it consistently brings both operational and innovation excellence to bear in some of the most competitive markets in the world. Consider first therevolutionary success of the iPhone. Although still a relatively small share of the overall mobile devices market, it has transformed the industry. From a supply chain perspective, the company's ability to ramp volumes both in hardware and software while redefining what a mobile telephone is supposed to be has been impressive. Unwilling to rest, Apple has continued to push innovation with its launch of theiPad, which is another new platform product for digital content and a further extension of the brand. Apple has 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 behaviors we look for in Top 25 companies, includingembedded 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 superfast chipmaker Intrinsity, which was recently acquired by Apple to "steal a march" on competitors looking to enhancethe performance of mobile devices. Not shying away from any operational challenge, Apple's value chain controls its most strategic nodes all the way from silicon to synapse.

At No. 2, we have one of the most respected supply chain leaders in the world, Procter & Gamble. P&G has occupied a top-five spot for six consecutive years and still commands tremendous respect among its peers and ourresearch team. As one of the pioneers of demand-driven principles in supply chain, the company remains at the forefront of areas like specialized production operations in emerging markets and commodity hedging upstream for key inputs. P&G has established new leadership footholds in other areas, too, including its use of innovation networks to tap external expertise for at least 50% of its new productideas. Perhaps most impressive is its relatively quiet but nonetheless thoughtful leadership in social and environmental responsibility. The company's recently released supplier sustainability scorecard is a model of practical but still ambitious target setting for a supply base that impacts many key environmental resources, including water, energy, emissions and waste.

Cisco Systems hasclimbed steadily in our rankings for five straight years, moving up two slots to No. 3 this year. 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. The most prominent feature of Cisco's leadership, though, is probably its explicit championing of the term "valuechain" as an organizational construct. By bringing together not only sourcing, production and logistics but also customer service, quality and new product launch as hard-line reporting functions, Cisco's Customer Value Chain Management organization may be a model for supply chain organizations of the future.

Bad economic times mean opportunity for discount retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, which rosethree spots to No. 4. 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. More impressive, perhaps, is the leadership Wal-Mart Stores is bringing to its supplier development efforts in emerging markets. Work in India to improve the...
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