Gartner, Inc. has released its 12th annual Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking, which recognizes companies across the healthcare value chain that advance healthcare by improving patient outcomes and controlling costs.
"2020 has proved to be a challenging year for healthcare and life sciences supply chains with the COVID-19 pandemic stressing many networks to their breaking point," said Stephen Meyer, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice. “All supply chains had to make significant changes to the way they worked, both tactically and strategically.”
For the second year in a row, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) takes the top spot, scoring the highest overall peer and Gartner opinion. CVS Health, Cleveland, McKesson and Banner Health complete the Top 5 (see Table 1). Four new organizations joined the ranking: Baylor Scott & White Health, Johns Hopkins Health System, Indiana University and Biogen.
“J&J set itself apart in its approach to supply chain innovation,” Mr. Meyer said. “While other supply chains made notable strides in individual projects and initiatives, J&J stood out in its commitment to finding novel supply chain solutions to the challenges of modern healthcare.”
In its third year, the Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 Masters recognized sustained supply chain leadership in healthcare. The criteria were the same as in Gartner’s Global Supply Chain Top 25 – a top 5 composite score in any seven of the last 10 years. The Masters category is not a permanent appointment. Companies must requalify every year and continue to innovate.
“As with last year, Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Health Care and Cardinal Health defended their standing as Masters – a remarkable achievement for each of them. Even in this challenging year, they continued to demonstrate supply chain excellence, agility and innovation,” Mr. Meyer said.
COVID-19 as a Catalyst to Supply Chain Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic is a fundamental challenge to supply and demand on a massive scale. Extreme demand swings stressed, and in some cases broke, supply chains — bringing into sharp focus what worked and what didn’t.
Leading supply chains leaders embraced the disruption as an opportunity to drive their supply chains further. They are adding new capabilities that will benefit not only their response to the pandemic, but also make their supply chains better once the world transitions to a new normal.
“Successful supply chains don’t focus on just one strategy, but a portfolio of elements and solutions to protect their supply chains, including classic risk management, demand and supply visibility and agility,” Mr. Meyer said.
In many countries, there was a fast pivot to telemedicine and home healthcare. Virtual care requires a unique response to address new demand patterns and leverage different fulfillment networks. For pharmaceutical companies this means potentially forgoing the classic wholesale relationship and building direct-to-patient capabilities and logistics networks. Several leading supply chains managed to quickly align their networks to the new realities and get patients the care they needed.
Another leadership trait that made supply chain leaders stand out in 2020 is the alignment of the supply chain function to the overall organization’s strategy. Especially in the early days of the pandemic, ensuring that demand was fulfilled, and supply continued, took the full attention of the organization.
“Leading supply chains ensure strategy development is directly linked to their company’s process. They align the supply chain strategy to the existing corporate goals, but also ensure company leadership understands how the supply chain can innovate to deliver additional company or customer value. Additionally, they seek external guidance from their customers and peers to include their perspective,” Mr. Meyer concluded.
More detailed analysis is available in the report "The 2020 Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25” Additional analysis on the Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 is also available in the complimentary Gartner webinar.