Top 10: Biggest Supply Chains

Supply Chain Digital has taken a look at the top 10 biggest supply chains
Supply Chain Digital takes a look at the organisations at the heart of the top 10 biggest supply chains in the world

The world’s biggest companies are often at the summit of vast and seemingly never-ending supply chains. 

Of course, their size amplifies the need for first-class supply chain management. Fortunately, these leading organisations are able to call upon accomplished executives who are experts in navigating disruption. 

Here, Supply Chain Digital takes a look at the firms at the heart of the top 10 biggest supply chains.

Samsung's HQ in San Jose, California. Picture: Samsung

10. Samsung

Revenue: US$194bn
Employees: 270,000
CEO: Kye-Hyun Kyung/Jong Hee Han
Founded: 1938

Electronics giant Samsung has a set of strict guidelines in relation to its supply chain.

For starters, suppliers must prove their employees are safe, from providing fire prevention equipment to dealing with sewage effectively. 

Child labour and ‘inhumane treatment’ are excluded from the Samsung supply chain in the strongest possible terms, while suppliers must comply with working hours and minimum wage rules. 

Finally, the company will only conduct business with suppliers who are ‘eco-certified’.

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9. Johnson & Johnson

Revenue: US$85.2bn
Employees: 132,000
CEO: Joaquin Duato
Founded: 1886

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been manufacturing in the medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries for well over a century. 

Despite the huge scale of its supply chain, J&J is constantly innovating when it comes to manufacturing and production by investing in people and technology to meet the evolving needs of patients, consumers and customers. 

Quality and safety form the foundations of the organisation’s reputation, with each supply chain associate taking on this responsibility, too. 

Toyota

8. Toyota

Revenue: US$307.5bn
Employees: 375,000
CEO: Kōji Satō
Founded: 1937

Effective supply chain management is at the very core of Toyota’s operations strategy. 

Its ‘supplier partnership philosophy’ lists the following as being essential to its business relationships: 

  • Mutual understanding and trust
  • Interlocking structures
  • Control systems
  • Compatible capabilities
  • Information sharing
  • Joint improvement activities

Toyota endeavours to work as closely as possible with suppliers during the manufacturing process. Before conducting business transactions, it presents contracts that clearly spell out legal compliance, respect for human rights and environmental considerations.

P&G's global headquarters. Picture: P&G

7. Procter & Gamble 

Revenue: US$83.9bn
Employees: 107,000
CEO: Jon R. Moeller
Founded: 1837

Approaching the tender age of 200, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is among the oldest companies to feature in our top 10. 

Within its supply chain and logistics division, P&G is continually innovating when it comes to best practices and technology.

Everyday tasks for team members include planning the demand and supply for different markets, working with big data, designing innovative algorithms and creating the physical design of supply networks across the world.

Apple CEO Tim Cook with customers at an Apple Store in New York City. Picture: Apple

6. Apple

Revenue: US$383bn
Employees: 161,000
CEO: Tim Cook
Founded: 1976

Consumer tech giant Apple is one of the world's most valuable companies and, in 2021, became the first publicly-traded US company to reach a market capitalisation of US$2tn.

While its supply chain remains vast, one of Tim Cook’s first deeds as CEO back in 2011 was to scale back the company’s supply chain vendors from more than 100 to less than 25. 

He also cut the number of warehouses by half and established relationships with contract manufacturers.

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5. The Coca-Cola Company

Revenue: US$45.8bn 
Employees: 79,000
CEO: James Quincey
Founded: 1886

The Coca-Cola Company has been manufacturing soft drink beverages for almost 140 years. 

Despite being a multinational corporation, Coca-Cola retains close bonds with the communities it does business with.

This is made possible by the strength of its supply chain, which includes wider bottling partners responsible for manufacturing, packaging, merchandising and distributing final branded beverages to customers and vending partners. 

Collectively, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners are known as the ‘Coca-Cola system’.

Unilever's global headquarters in London. Picture: Unilever

4. Unilever 

Revenue: US$59.6bn
Employees: 128,000
CEO: Hein Schumacher
Founded: 1929

With a global presence in 190 countries, Unilever strives to be a “responsible and trusted company that contributes to a more sustainable and equitable world”. 

The multinational consumer goods operation works closely with a vast network of suppliers to responsibly source raw materials, packaging and other components for its products.

In delivering products to retailers, wholesalers and other customers, Unilever uses a combination of its own distribution networks and third-party logistics providers, utilising various transportation modes.

Nestlé has one of the world's biggest supply chains. Picture: Nestlé

3. Nestlé 

Revenue: US$105bn
Employees: 270,000
CEO: Ulf Mark Schneider
Founded: 1866

Nestlé is the world's largest food and beverage company and, as such, has a vast supply chain. 

In recent years the organisation has invested heavily in this space, with key areas of focus including ESG leadership, reducing packaging waste and new business models to improve the end-to-end supply chain. 

Nestlé says its supply chain professionals “play a critical role in ensuring quality and sustainable products reach our customers and consumers”.

The company remains determined to cut carbon emissions and reach net zero by 2050.

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2. Walmart

Revenue: US$611bn
Employees: 2,100,000
CEO: Doug McMillon
Founded: 1962

Walmart continues to focus on infrastructure and e-commerce investments as it responds to the strong likelihood that an increasing number of its shoppers will migrate online.

To this end, in 2022 the retail behemoth invested several billions of dollars in supply chain, omnichannel and technology.

It’s a hugely ambitious strategy, with Walmart freely admitting that the vast majority of its overall profits are still down to in-store bricks-and-mortar trade.

However, being ahead of the curve is what helps such large corporations eclipse the competition. Walmart predicts that, in five years’ time, its income stream will be much less dependent on physical locations, with revenue growing from e-commerce, including marketplaces that offer third-party merchandise.

Amazon delivers parcels around the world. Picture: Amazon

1. Amazon

Revenue: US$575bn
Employees: 1,540,000
CEO: Andy Jassy
Founded: 1994

Founded back in 1994, Amazon started out as an online marketplace for books, but has since become a global leader in e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and AI. 

Over the years, the organisation has created a vast logistics infrastructure to support its marketplaces, ensuring fast and efficient product delivery from an array of fulfilment centres across the globe. 

The Amazon Logistics business is built around last-mile delivery manned by a network of delivery drivers, including Amazon Flex drivers and independent contractors. 

It uses advanced tracking systems to provide real-time package tracking and delivery updates to customers, and has introduced innovative delivery methods such as Amazon Prime Air, an unmanned drone delivery system. 

Beyond retail, Amazon has diversified into B2B services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is its cloud computing platform, offering computing capacity, storage, database management and AI.

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