Schneider Electric announces that Gartner has rated the company #10 in its 2015 Gartner Supply Chain Top 25: Europe Top 15. Schneider Electric joins the top 15 for the first time this year, jumping 12 spots from its 2014 ranking.

Gartner identified the top 15 performers in the report based on a combination of financial metrics (revenue growth, return on assets [ROA] and inventory), and a composite score that consists of the opinion of peers, Gartner supply chain analysts.

“When assessing the supply chain rankings for 2015, we identified some common practices and challenges experienced by leading supply chain organisations in Europe,” said Stan Aronow, research vice president at Gartner. A willingness to invest in and experiment with technology and digital business models has given the top companies an edge in terms of collaboration, enhanced segmentation and local responsiveness.”

“Our goal is to ensure that our large base of global customers experience the benefits of our tailored supply chain approach,” said Annette Clayton, executive vice president, global supply chain, Schneider Electric. “We believe Gartner’s European Supply Chain rating confirms our position in the market and our commitment to providing customers with a best-in-class supply chain that meets their unique challenges.”

In the report, Gartner outlined the key common themes of the top European supply chain organisations:

  • Global scale, local responsiveness

Regardless of industry, these companies all have hundreds of sites, thousands of suppliers, thousands of SKUs, and operate in dozens of countries. They are working to set aggressive global targets, but allow flexibility in how they are achieved in local markets.

  • Multiple models through segmentation

Whether to address new product categories, emerging markets, the shift to multichannel, or enhanced customer service, leaders apply segmentation to create a portfolio of standard models to meet different end-user needs.

  • Collaboration

Based on visibility enabled by technology, these companies work collaboratively across whatever network is required to achieve the goal. Internally, that translates to a focus on making sales and operations planning, a true decision-making forum across functions within the supply chain, with internal business partners, suppliers and customers.

  • Digital experimenters

Aware of the potential, these companies experiment with new products, packaging and operational approaches enabled by new digital technologies. By 2020, over 86% of companies expect to be a digital business — blurring the lines between the physical and the digital. Leading supply chains are investigating how they can digitalise their supply chain through Industry 4.0 standards and the application of sensor technology and 3D printing, and focusing their strategy and process development to support shifting business models created by digital businesses.

  • Culture of excellence and masters of change 

For these companies, transformation is not a one-time project, it is a way of life. In addition to strong Lean Six Sigma continuous improvement, quality, and standardisation initiatives keeping a focus on operational excellence, they have dedicated resources to dream up, pilot and drive disruptive change across the organisation.

  • Investors in talent and technology

It is recognised and widely accepted by high-performing supply chain functions that technology facilitates execution. What these companies also recognise is that talented individuals create, drive and develop world-class supply chains.

  • Sustainability

Leading European companies are moving beyond token environmental targets to operational changes, because sustainability is highlighted in many corporate 2020 strategies. In 2014, the European Parliament passed a law requiring large publicly traded companies to provide annual reports on “policies, risk, and results” in relation to “social, environmental and human rights impacts, diversity and anti-corruption policies.”  While this reporting is now mandatory, these leading companies target improvements beyond the high bar set by European regulators, with significant sustainability targets and projects affecting sourcing materials, supplier management, energy use, water use, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, product design and packaging design.

“Our supply chain teams throughout the world are driven every day to provide the best service possible for our customers and stakeholders,” concluded Annette Clayton. “The teams are very excited to receive this external recognition. It motivates us and helps us recruit critical talent to deliver even better capabilities to our customers.”