Power of the Profession Awards: Innovation at its Best


“Innovation” is a word that can be overused, but it’s still the best word to describe what Gartner’s Power of the Profession Supply Chain Awards are all about.

Innovation requires new ideas. The rewards program is really just a way to capture and showcase the best ideas from the supply chain community – in fact those ideas that, through hands-on application and a lot of hard work, have had a considerable impact.

This is the eighth annual iteration of these awards, but it’s the past two years in particular that have accelerated innovation in a more disrupted world. And, as “supply chain” has become a term heard more often during this time – although the word “challenges” or “constraints” or “problems” might follow – the community has undoubtedly stepped up its efforts in the face of unimaginable challenges. adversity.

It may sound like hyperbole, but supply chain advancements have enabled some of the best things in the company over the past two years, many of which are reflected in this year’s finalists. It is in this spirit that we promote these inspiring efforts to help humanity through life-saving advancements, and with a focus on environmental impacts and efficiency improvements.

Gartner’s ability to highlight these efforts depends on the community’s ability to submit descriptions of its best initiatives. This year there were an impressive 84 submissions from 48 organizations. We thank all companies that took the time to submit an application. Gartner’s supply chain research teams of 14 analysts reviewed all entries and created a shortlist of six semi-finalists for each category. Professionals from the supply chain community then received six votes in the four categories to determine the finalists.

The 12 finalists have already been announced, but we’ll do a quick recap below. Finalists will be individually judged by an expert panel comprised of 57 of the world’s leading C-level supply chain executives and academics. In this final stage, each judge ranks the three finalists in each category based on their achievement against each of the three award criteria: innovation, execution and impact. The winners, one in each of the four categories and one Overall Supply Chain Breakthrough winner, will be announced during a Gartner webinar on Wednesday, March 16 – register now to watch.

These awards showcase initiatives that improve communities and the environment while delivering results that benefit businesses, stakeholders and customers in a variety of areas and during challenging times. Each initiative demonstrates significant investment and commitment to people as critical enablers of supply chain strategy and business performance.

“Develop” and “enhance” are two other words that stand out when it comes to summing up these powerful initiatives. These words appear in descriptions such as developing new tools to improve performance; improve the customer or patient experience; develop new technologies to promote sustainability; and improve reuse and recycling.

Process or technology innovation

Supply chains facing increasing complexity and volatility are under pressure to adapt the way they operate to meet customer needs and drive business results. The three finalists in this category are Firmenich, Johnson & Johnson and Schneider Electric. These companies have achieved outstanding and quantifiable business performance, through breakthrough supply chain innovations in process engineering or technology application. They established major improvements in visibility and agility; established and supported strong relationships with ecosystem partners, IT and internal customers; and challenged existing ways of working and piloted (and scaled) new innovative approaches.

Customer or patient innovation

Supply chains are tasked with meeting the growing demands of customers and patients. The three finalists in this category are Lenovo, Pfizer and Roche. These companies have achieved positive and quantifiable impacts on customers or patients through supply chain innovations. Finalists overcame significant barriers to improve client and patient experience and health outcomes. They took holistic, customer-centric approaches, leveraging analysis of quality customer data, reviewing systems, and working with coalition partners.

breakthrough of people

People make supply chains work. Fostering diversity within the supply chain team, creating value for the business through the supply chain and developing capabilities throughout the value chain are keys to chain success supply. The three finalists in this category are Hershey, Intel and Shell. These companies have taken new approaches to addressing labor shortages, improving company culture, driving behavioral change in the workplace, and improving employee safety. These initiatives make it clear that supply chain leaders differentiate themselves by acting as the architects of successful human interactions, mobilizing people with purpose to drive exponential results, and using technology to drive improvement.

Social impact

Social impact focuses on achieving a positive, quantifiable impact on the community or environment through the supply chain. The three finalists in this category are General Mills, Kaiser Permanente and Microsoft. These companies are making great strides in recyclable packaging, improving health and equity in local communities, and circularity. They also highlight an ongoing transition as supply chain leaders move from ambitious action to genuine realization of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. These initiatives demonstrate that thoughtful investments can maximize business impact, meet stakeholder expectations and create competitive advantage.

Stepping back to think about all of the finalists reveals a few takeaways, which can be described as overcoming obstacles, achieving agility, striving for sustainability, improving customer service, improving health and wellbeing, and addressing the labor equity.

Major supply chains continue to evolve to meet today’s challenges, with some thriving in this new disruptive operating environment. As we look to the future, the supply chains of the future must be resilient, agile, people-centric, sustainable, and able to leverage digital technology to thrive in new operating contexts.

Finding the right words to tell the story behind these initiatives helps bring them to life. Playing a role in showcasing these initiatives, as I have done for the past four years, continues to be a professional highlight.

Casey Logan
Gartner Supply Chain
[email protected]

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