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The Supply Chain Benchmarking Journey

by Mark Atwood  |  March 18, 2015  |  Submit a Comment

There are certain topics we cover here in Gartner Supply Chain that are truly “evergreen.” That is, we have been covering some areas for a quite a long time, going well back into our “heritage” AMR Research days – and yet every year clients tell us how important these subject areas are and how much they value our insights. There is no better example of this than the area of Supply Chain Performance Management, and a go-to approach to assist that management: Supply Chain Benchmarking.

Our initial research on Benchmarking was published back in the early 2000’s. And yet, one of our most recent 2014 surveys of Supply Chain executives tells us that “SC Performance Measurement and Analytics” was ranked as the number-one most important initiative in terms of “interest” or “extreme interest”. This was a tie with “SC Strategy and Transformation” in terms of top initiatives. We focused on Transformation in last month’s Newsletter, and will continue to address Analytics in the future. This Newsletter is all about Benchmarking.

One reason for this perennial focus is the fact that Supply Chain Benchmarking is hard. It involves breaking down functions, identifying key performance indicators, getting the people and processes and systems in place to measure those indicators, setting initial targets, executing, tracking progress over time, and making adjustments where necessary. It then also entails taking all those measures and trying to put them together for an end-to-end, holistic view that gives leaders a view of the overall health of their Supply Chain.

So for many companies, benchmarking their Supply Chain is a journey. And for us as researchers, it has been a journey as well. The fun part will always be taking our continually evolving insights and ideas, and helping clients every day with their own performance management initiatives. This week’s edition of our Supply Chain Newsletter (available to Gartner Clients only) was focused on Supply Chain Performance Management and Benchmarking. It took the reader through some of the “tent pole” pieces we have published over the years. It also showcased some recent research that has already been informed by our new benchmarking efforts. The titles of these reports are listed below.

– The Hierarchy of Supply Chain Metrics: Diagnosing Your Supply Chain Health
– Five Steps to Best Practices in Supply Chain Benchmarking: From Numbers to Action
– Supply Chain Guide to Metrics Hierarchies for Manufacturers and Distributors
– Improve Supply Chain Inventory Performance With Inventory Quality Ratio
– Best Practices in Supply Chain Measurement: Pfizer Rises to the Challenge
– 2014 Supply Chain Benchmarking: Consumer Products

We also used the Newsletter to point to a new research database of 17 key metrics that we have developed in-house, as we look to help Supply Chain professionals benchmark their own Supply Chains and then compare themselves to industry peers. Important to note: this database and the ensuing complimentary report are available to clients and non-clients alike.

The Gartner Supply Chain Benchmarking study aims to build a comprehensive database that will help organizations benchmark key supply chain strategic and operational metrics of their company, subsidiaries or business units, against their peers. We are inviting supply chain and business leaders from various manufacturing industries to participate in this study.
All participant companies will receive a complimentary benchmarking report, measured against peers in your similar industry. If you are interested in participating in the supply chain benchmarking study, please contact our Supply Chain Research Director Debashis Tarafdar, at debashis.tarafdar@gartner.com. Debashis will then forward the benchmarking questionnaire to you along with next steps on how to receive the results.

And in a similar vein, we are presenting a webinar on March 19 to give more color and flavor to these new benchmarking efforts:

Assess End-to-End Supply Chain Trade-Offs Through Benchmarking

We hope you can join us as you undertake you own Supply Chain Benchmarking journeys!

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Mark Atwood
Managing VP
11 years at Gartner
24 years IT Industry

Mark Atwood's experience includes more than 23 years of work that spans research, consulting, strategy and operations, and marketing. He also brings an IT end user's perspective to his role. Mr. Atwood is a Managing Vice President within Gartner's Supply Chain Research organization. He is the Team Manager for the Industries Value Chain team, which covers healthcare/life sciences, consumer packaged goods, retail, high tech, industrial, and process chemical from the supply chain perspective. Read Full Bio




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