Our supply chain community continues to up the pace of innovation, delivering real results and cementing its place at the heart of manufacturing, distribution and retail businesses today.
Since 2014, Gartner has run the Supply Chainnovator program as a means to celebrate, highlight and recognize these innovative leaders, ensuring light is shed on the fantastic work they do.
The willingness to share across the community is particularly impressive this year with more than 100 overall submissions across six industry categories — Consumer Products, Retail, Industrial, High-Tech, Healthcare Providers and Life Sciences. Submissions were diverse, ranging across a broad spectrum of initiatives including artificial intelligence, talent, infection reduction, on-demand product customization, supplier onboarding and last-mile logistics. However, there could only be one award winner for each industry, with these announced last week at our Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
Consumer Products Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: Anheuser-Busch InBev
Anheuser-Busch InBev won for its unique use of artificial intelligence to better predict when the filter must be replaced during the beer brewing process. This enabled the brewer to produce higher-quality beer in less time, with less waste. The initiative resulted in a 400% improvement in accuracy prediction on filter media changes. From an environmental standpoint, AB InBev is able to produce beer at a far more efficient rate, while reducing wastage on the filter media material. This also means less power use, fewer energy variations from stops and starts, and a higher percentage of beer created per filter run.
Retail Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: JD.com
JD.com won for its innovative approach to collaboration with Walmart China, which combines JD.com’s extensive online logistics capabilities with Walmart China’s physical store network. This approach delivers an increasingly integrated experience for their combined customer base, including joint promotions, shared inventory across their respective store and distribution center networks, and a unified last-mile delivery offering. Consumers are embracing the collaborative offering. The number of orders per day for products incorporated in the program increased 2,900% between 2017 and 2019. It is also driving sales growth during critical peak Chinese sales periods such as the 618 Shopping Festival. This initiative highlights the critical role supply chain can play in developing new service and product offerings to customers and how, through innovative cross-company collaboration, profitable business growth can be achieved.
Industrial Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric won for its digital transformation initiative that developed workforce competencies required for the manufacturing and supply chain jobs of the future. To date, over 50 of Schneider’s manufacturing locations have been converted to smart factories, with plans to convert an additional 100 sites by the end of 2020. In order to prepare the workforce for changes in their jobs, Schneider Electric implemented a strategy that identified competencies increasingly needed for the digital transformation and engages employees with continuous learning to develop the new skills. The aim is to map, anticipate and grow its digital acumen and competencies by assessing its current and future use of technologies. The benefits of the program reflected well for Schneider and its employees. The company reports an increase in employee engagement from 68% to 72% in the smart factories. Employee involvement in the effort helped ease fears about the impact of technology on their jobs and engaged them to participate in the process.
High-Tech Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: Dell
Dell won for its circular economy initiative that includes creating the first global network of commercial-scale, ocean-bound plastics supply chains. Dell’s multi-modal approach to this global waste problem is paving unchartered territory — using a circular approach to design while helping to educate, engage and inspire consumers and other companies to participate. The effort involves working as a founding member in a cross-industry consortium — NextWave — to intercept and reprocess materials collected from beaches, waterways and coastal areas for use in products and packaging. Because of its reputation and leadership in building a legacy of good, a number of companies have joined Dell in its quest. In this past year, Dell’s efforts alone have kept 99% of the waste it generated out of landfills, recycling 1.9 billion pounds of e-waste and reaching 88% of its goal to collect 2 billion pounds by 2020.
Healthcare Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: Geisinger
Geisinger won for its “Fresh Food Farmacy” program to help patients control their diabetes without needing medication. This program provides food-insecure individuals with education, one-on-one support and healthy foods on a weekly basis, primarily via its community partner, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. Within 18 months of the program’s start, patients enrolled in the program saw their HbA1c levels decrease — resulting in a 40% decreased risk of death or serious complications. This initiative delivered dramatic improvements in health and medical costs, and greater patient engagement in their healthcare.
Life Sciences Supply Chainnovator Award Winner: Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific won for its data visibility platform for reconciling performance management across its proliferation of 40-plus enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Thermo Fisher has effectively solved the challenge of running a diverse business on so many ERP systems, without the cost (money, time and people) of migrating to one ERP system. The dashboard allows the business to keep its many ERP systems, yet still be effectively compared and managed.
Thomas O’Connor, Senior Director, Analyst, Gartner Supply Chain