After exploring the incredible supply chains or some of the most successful businesses worldwide, we’ve hit the top five supply chain performers. Gartner’s list of the top 25 performers in supply chain management aims to inspire and educate our community on best practices and innovative solutions made in the business world.

Last time, we discovered how PepsiCo and Intel supported their growth through supply chain excellence and were ranked seventh and sixth on our list. In this article, we’ll explore how the dedication of Nestlé and the customizable digitization focus of Schneider Electric earned them the fifth and fourth rankings, respectively.

5. Nestlé

Nestlé dominates the food and beverage market since transforming their business from an infant cereal manufacturer to the world’s biggest company in the industry. Growing fast and absorbing other companies in its transformation enabled Nestlé to operate in 70 different countries currently. Nestlé provides many teachable lessons through their consistent awareness of new technologies and needs to tweak their processes to support their growth.

Customer Profiling

Nestlé pushed past simple market research early on and studied their demographic – and their desires, preferences, and behavior. The company understood that to create products that appeal to their consumer group, they first need to understand who they are and what they want. Nestlé is a company that doesn’t tick boxes to gain data, they wholeheartedly invest in interacting with customers, and their social media engagement is a prime example of their excellence at this.

Nestlé has developed over 800 Facebook pages for their various products, and through effective communication and targeted messages, they’ve grown 250 million fans over the platform. The investment in this outreach means that they can now quickly gather customer responses – to understand which products customers are interested in with a simple social media post provides high-level supply chain efficiency.

Zero-Waste Operations

Nestlé experienced the business damage that poor environmental practices can have when they received backlash against their operations. However, there’s a lot to say about their quick response to changing their policies and redeeming their business step by step.

They initiated policies to eliminate deforestation and are now prioritizing a zero-waste upstream supply chain, which has completely transformed the Nestlé supply chain into a sustainable process that can live long into the future.

Embracing Blockchain

The product journey is an important one for food retailers, and Nestlé is rightfully investing in innovations to make tracking the journey as visible and efficient as possible. As the first organization in the food industry to do so, they turned to blockchain to fulfill this goal, and they’ve made substantial achievements in developing its potential.

Partnering with a SaaS company, they’ve gained instant access to food supply chain data through blockchain capabilities, including the history, current location, certificates, and test and temperature data. It’s a relatively new development for Nestlé, and while this digital transformation has already streamlined their supply and delivery, they aim to enhance customer trust through communication and visibility of order deliveries.

Nestlé’s active pursuit of modernizing and advancing their processes as new technology becomes available speaks of a company that’s inherently passionate about improving and growing.

4. Schneider Electric

Powered by sustainable operations and digitization, the Schneider Electric supply chain has improved their product quality while reducing costs and energy consumption, making it a powerhouse of effective supply chain management.

Digitization

In the search for delivering what their customers want, efficiency, productivity, and quality, Schneider Electric hone into digitization to build a customer-centric supply chain. The company’s decisive leadership understood that their system couldn’t support customers’ needs until operating processes were synchronized and connected, providing the real version of the truth.

Many of us have learned the power of accurate data in its ability to allow better decisions, predict customer demand and trigger an automated reaction to support demand. Schneider Electric has enabled their suppliers to integrate into the digitization, enhance the accuracy in their supply, and cultivate more agile, efficient, and circular operations. They can control, monitor, and optimize the entire supply chain process using artificial intelligence and connectivity – they’ve developed end-to-end visibility for real-time data-driven analytics.

Schneider Electric has implemented their own SMART technology into distribution centers, consisting of motor control manufacturing plant features and augmented platforms. Inside their factories, mini data centers monitor machinery to predict maintenance needs – they can stay ahead of inactive operations and prevent them before they happen and stop their production. Implementing this technology has resulted in a seven percent increase in productivity in their factories, as well as up to 30% in energy savings.

Customization

The Schneider Electric supply chain strategy envelopes the expectations of different customers within various segments. They developed a customization approach to tailor their customer requests and optimize the speed and engagement for customer segments – compared to a one-size process that inhibits efficiency and growth and leads to customer dissatisfaction.

Their customization exists as five separate supply chain models, each with their own priorities and processes yet similar digitization and visibility control. As you may expect, this investment requires extra management, which they’ll happily commit to if it delivers customer satisfaction at the forefront of their models. Schneider Electric has proven their supply chain management excellence for many years and continues to teach the community valuable lessons.