Amazon's supply chain 'more admired' than Apple rival
A global poll of more than 1,000 supply chain executives has revealed that Amazon’s supply chain is ‘more admired’ than Californian rival Apple on almost all major supply chain attributes.
The research, conducted by SCM World, asked 1,136 executives to rate the two companies on four supply chain attributes; agility, collaboration, execution and innovation. Amazon came out top on three of the four attributes, with Apple leading on innovation alone.
Over half of respondents (58 percent) said they admired Amazon most overall for the way it operates its Supply Chain, compared with 37 percent who picked Apple. Five percent of respondents said neither.
These survey results are a reversal of the findings by Gartner Supply Chain’s Top 25 for 2012, which ranked votes of 173 practitioners and considered companies’ financial performance to place Apple first and Amazon second.
Kevin O'Marah, Head of Faculty at SCM World and co-author of a new report, Apple and Amazon: Lessons for the Rest of Us, said: "The purpose of our research was to establish which of these two leading companies is most admired by the global supply chain community for the way it manages its supply chain, and to understand what lessons they have to teach other companies.
"The results show clearly that the majority of supply chain professionals believe that Amazon - and not Apple - is the master of supply chain excellence," added O'Marah, a former Group Vice President for Supply Chain at Gartner and co-creator, in 2004, of the (then AMR Research) Supply Chain Top 25 annual ranking.
Amazon and Apple are currently locked in a high-profile battle in the fast-growing market for tablet devices and the digital content consumed on them. The companies' rival products, the Kindle Fire and iPad, are expected to be among the hottest purchases this Christmas.
On agility (defined as the ability to quickly and cost-effectively shift amounts and/or types of production and delivery to improve operational performance in volatile conditions), 62% of practitioners in SCM World's poll voted for Amazon, compared with 33%who picked Apple.
On collaboration (the ability to work across organisational boundaries to solve systemic operational problems and create new value for both customers and partners), 59% chose Amazon, versus 31% for Apple.
And on execution (the consistent and reliable delivery against commitments and within budgeted expenses), practitioners backed Amazon by 57% to 38%.
However, Apple won hands down on the fourth key characteristic of supply chain excellence - innovation - taking a massive 78% of the vote, compared with just 19% for Amazon.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.